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Date: 1998-12-18

Metternich Global: Zensur marschiert

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q/depesche 98.12.18./1

Metternich Global: Zensur marschiert

Weltweit ist die Zensur im Internet auf dem Vormarsch,
heisst es in der NY Times von heute. Die im Artikel
angeführten Personen sind allesamt Mitglieder der Global
Internet Liberty Campaign.
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December 18, 1998 Fifty years after the United Nations
General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, with its guarantee of free expression for all,
the world's newest form of mass communication is under
attack around the globe from laws, policies and police
actions seeking to restrict content.

That's the bad news in a new report called Freedom of
Expression on the Internet, released earlier this month by
Human Rights Watch as part of the organization's annual
chronicle of rights abuses around the world.
"Nineteen ninety-eight can be characterized as (a time of)
increasing censorship regulation -- and going beyond
regulation to prosecution," said Jagdish J. Parikh, online
research associate for Human Rights Watch and author of
the Internet section of the report.
Advocates of free expression on the Internet say they are
concerned about developments in Western countries, too.
And the European Union is examining proposals that would
require Internet service providers to block "harmful speech,"
like sites promoting racism, or hold them accountable by law
when they make such information available, said Barry S.
Steinhardt, one of the founders of the Global Internet Liberty
Campaign, an international organization pressing for free
speech rights in cyberspace.
Advocates of free expression worldwide also worry about how
well software filters, the main method used to block access
to objectionable content, are able to distinguish between
unacceptable and legitimate material.

Yaman Akdeniz, director of the British group Cyber-Rights &
Cyber-Liberties, said he is aware of at least one filtering
system that blocks access to his group's own Web site,
apparently because the words "pornography" and "child
pornography" are often used in discussions of online policy
issues. "Whether this is done deliberately or not, I see this
as censorship of political speech," he said in an e-mail
The service provider "risks search and seizure of his
machines," said Rigo Wenning, a founder of the German
Internet free speech group FITUG.

"That would deliver him directly to bankruptcy. So what he
does is, he removes all content that has the slightest doubt
of being legal. Any critique, thus, would be suppressed
automatically," Wenning said via e-mail.
Parikh fears that this gives countries with less democratic
traditions a handy justification for state Internet censorship.
"If you can use filters at libraries, why not at the national
level?" he asks.

At the same time, Parikh says he is hopeful that attempts to
reign in online speech worldwide will fail, because savvy
users can find technological detours around filters, and the
sheer volume of information on the network could ultimately
inundate the most diligent corps of censors.

In addition, many people are now awakening to the important
information available to them on the Web and will somehow
seek it out, he said. As evidence, Parikh pointed to the
recent huge surge in visitors to the Human Rights Watch
Web site from Malaysians apparently seeking an alternative
source of information about the authoritarian leadership in
their country.
full text registrierungspflichtig

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edited by Harkank
published on: 1998-12-18
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25. Oktober 2019
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