Nov 28, 2012

Please spread the info below and create awareness for this new initiative of Reporters without borders. End violence against netizens who risk their lives and safety because of covering stories or footage which main stream media often does not dare to cover.

Below, an excerpt from the new website “We Fight Censorship”:

130 netizens in jail
44 netizens killed

Sheltering news and information (WeFC) is a Reporters Without Borders project that aims to combat censorship and promote the flow of news and information.

Publishing censored and banned content

The WeFC website is used to publish content that has been censored or banned or has led to reprisals against its creator (murder, arrest, harassment, pressure and so on). The site hosts content (articles, photos, videos and sound files) in their original language (including Chinese, Arabic, Russian and Spanish) and in translation (above all in French and English). Reporters Without Borders took the initiative of creating this website because it wants to make censorship obsolete, to show that depriving content creators of their freedom, seizing copies of a newspaper or blocking access to a website containing a video will not prevent the content from being seen throughout the world – quite the contrary. The content posted on this website includes both raw content and content that has been written, edited or processed by journalists. So that its importance can be appreciated, WeFC adds an explanation of the context. Before selected content is posted on the site, the WeFC editorial committee verifies that it meets a series of very precise criteria.

Digital safe

secured “digital safe” can be used to submit content to Reporters Without Borders. The digital safe is designed to help contributors protect their anonymity when transmitting files. We nonetheless also urge them to secure their Internet connection by using a VPN or an anonymization tool such as Tor, I2P or Psiphon. Publication of content is not automatic. It has to be approved by the WeFC editorial committee.

Online “Survival Kit”

The site also offers practical tools, advice and techniques that teach netizens how to circumvent censorship and to secure their communications and data. A “Digital Survival Kit” will gradually be unveiled over the coming months in order to provide everyone with the means to resist censors, governments or interests groups that want to control news and information and gag dissenting voices.

Streisand deterrent effect

We want the website and all of its content, tools and guides to be accessible in the countries where this content is banned. To this end, the site is designed to be easily duplicated in the form of so-called mirror sites all over the world. As a result, every piece of content posted on will be instantly duplicated on all the copies of the website that have been created in other parts of the world. We invite Internet users to participate in this project by hosting mirrors on their servers. We are posting a document detailing the various ways of creating copies of our site, together with scripts for automating these procedures. One of our aims is to exploit the Streisand Effect, under which the greater the efforts to censor a piece of online content, the more the Internet community tends to circulate it. The effect gets its name from US singer Barbra Streisand, who experienced it when she tried to suppress photos of her Californian beach home. Censorship is not inevitable. Join our fight. Help us to shelter content from censorship.

This project would not have seen the light of day without the support of the European Union’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) and the Paris City Hall.

The United Nations Human Rights Council affirmed the right to freedom of expression on the Internet for the first time in a resolution on 5 July 2012, taking the position that “the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online (…) regardless of frontiers and through any media.” The resolution called on all countries “to promote and facilitate access to the Internet and international cooperation aimed at the development of media and information and communications facilities in all countries.”

On paper, this says it all. In practice, it is far from being that simple. The protests in Iran in 2009 and then the Arab springs conclusively established the Internet as a tool for protest, campaigning and circulating information. Although the much-used labels of “Twitter and Facebook revolutions” are simplistic, these popular uprisings would not have had the same impact without the help of social networks and new media. Despite the harshness of the repression, the rebellion in Syria is being documented by ordinary citizens, who act as journalists in order to break through thfBlackout on demande regime’s media blackout and who are imprisoned or killed for their audacity.

Corruption exposés, environmental debates, social protests and humanitarian campaigns are all also to be found on the Internet, now a place where alternative news and information circulates, especially in countries where the media are under the government’s thumb. Nonetheless, the reality behind the scenes of the UN resolution, the reality on the ground, is much more complex. The Internet is often assailed, sometimes devastatingly so, by governments that do not want to lose complete control of news and information. In the Internet era, the traditional methods of censorship have become obsolete but cyber-censorship is not letting up and it knows how to adapt

Read more at We FightCensorShip

…and spread the word!

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