Censorship Global issues July 2009 News Racism refugee Regions Religion Video


In Gaza journalist had been banned from reporting on the human rights abuse and murders at the hands of indiscriminate Israeli soldiers. In Iran after the election all media was banned from reporting but pictures of Neda death reached the world. The truth about oppressive governments never stays hidden for long. Repressive governments are warned that regardless if you attack a refugee camps in Gaza or abuse prisoners in Iraq, or silence peaceful protest in streets of Tehran the truth will always reveal itself.

Censorship Chaina January 2011


It is well known that online content providers in China have to follow censorship instructions from various government authorities. However, with the rise of private public relation company, there is an increasing censorship pressure from the private sector. Some of them pay the websites to delete content, some retreat to hacking.
On January 26 2011, published an open letter to its users informing them that the website was hacked after they had refused to delete an article. The hacker contacted via QQ chat on 25 of January and demanded the website to delete an open letter posted on August 16 2006 written by two professors from Xiamen University Accounting Department accusing the department head, Chen Hanwen, for academic corruption. Below is a translation of conversation in the QQ chat room:

Judge 12:22:46
So you can’t delete the post for me, right?
Bokee Service 12:23:52
I am sorry, I can’t help you.
Judge 12:24:54
My only choice is to create a shield.
Bokee Service: 12:25:41
Judge: 12:25:36
If your website has function problem, contact me.
Judge: 12:33:44
I have created a shield for data transfer. It will probably affect your website’s function. If you delete the article for me, I will remove the shield.

Judge 13:51:07 Help me to delete this article and everything will be OK.
Judge 13:54:14
I have built the shield around bokee.
Bokee Service 13:54:55
Hi, can you explain why you and your client Mr Chen need to remove this article so urgently?
Judge 13:54:54
Remove it first and we can talk about it.

Judge 17:20:35
Am here
Bokee Service 17:22:31
The attack is still going on?
Bokee Service 17:26:56
Please stop the attack on and Such behavior is illegal. We have recorded your attack. If you don’t stop, we will announce the date and your client and report to the police and government security department.
Judge 17:27:55
You can insist not deleting
Judge 17:28:08
Am busy.
Bokee Service17:32:39
If you don’t stop, we will report on Chen Hanwen and your hacking
Judge 17:33:01
Ha Ha
Judge 17:33:23
I know that you will do this, and fortunately I have prepared for it.
Judge 17:33:38
Announce it as you like
Judge 17:34:38
Busy, Offline

The attack went on from 1pm to 6pm on 25 of January. It is a mixture of DDos and SYN attack with fake IPs. BlogChina has reported the case to local police.

According to Baidu search result, the article has been circulated in many websites, but most of the posts have been deleted. and XYS.orgremain the only two exceptions for keeping the content online.

Africa Censorship Iran January 2011


Internet Security Savvy is Critical as Egyptian Government Blocks Websites, Arrests Activists in Response to Continued Protest. As we’ve seen in Iran and Tunisia, social networking tools have given activists in authoritarian regimes a powerful voice, which can be heard well beyond their own country. But the use of social networking tools has also given their governments ways to identify and retaliate against them. This week we are watching the same dynamic play out in Egypt. This is why it is critical that all activists —in Egypt and elsewhere—take precautions to protect their anonymity and freedom of expression. The protests in Egypt this week also highlight another important point: authoritarian governments can block access to social media websites, but determined, tech-savvy activists are likely to find ways to circumvent censorship to communicate with the rest of the world.

In an attempt to clamp down on Egyptian protesters, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s government is intermittently blocking websites and arrestingbloggers, journalists, and dissidents. Like the Tunisians, Egyptian protesters have made heavy use of social media websites to share information about the protests with the outside world and with each other. In spite of the Egyptian government’s blocking of Twitter, tweets from the Egyptian protests in Suez and Cairo provided up-to-the-minute reports about protest activity, the movements of police, deaths and injuries, links to photos on Twitpic, and videos on YouTube. Cooperation amongst protesting citizens has kept communications resilient so far. When protestors in Cario’s Tahir Square experienced an outage in cell phone data service, nearby residentsreportedly opened their home Wi-Fii networks to allow protesters to get online.

On the first day of protests, the Egyptian government blocked several websites, including Twitter and Bambuser, a Swedish website which allows users to stream live video from their cell phones. By the second day, the government’s blocking of Twitter was sparse and intermittent, but there were reports of blocking Facebook and YouTube. It is unclear whether or not the Egyptian government will continue to expand its list of blocked sites in the coming days. Even the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was conspicuously silent during the protests leading up to the Tunisian revolution, has called on the Mubarak government to respect freedom of expression and urged them “not to…block communications, including on social media sites.”

The other dangerous aspect of the Mubarak government’s shameful campaign of silence and censorship has been the arrest and detention of bloggers, journalists, and activists. The Committee to Protect Journalists has reported that the Egyptian government has shut down at least two independent news websites: Al-Dustour and El-Badil. Police beat Al-Jazeeracorrespondent Mustafa Kafifi and Guardian reporter Jack Shenker, who posted an audio recording of the incident. Policemen have attacked and arrested cameramen covering the protests and onlookers recording the protests with cell phones.

Egypt is no stranger to the arrest of bloggers. Egyptian blogger Kareem Amerwas sentenced to four years in prison for “disparaging religion” and “defaming the president” in 2007. In 2009, web forum founder Karim Al-Bukheiri was arrested, tortured, and subject to constant government surveillance. Just last year, the Islamic Human Rights Foundation reported that Egyptian Security Forces arrested “at least 29 activists, including bloggers, lawyers, and human rights activists.” The concern here is clear—if the street protests subside, the Mubarak government could initiate a campaign of retaliation and oppression, arresting and harassing the very bloggers and activists who have been chronicling the protests online. Some countries have gone even further. In Iran two opposition activists werehanged this week for taking pictures and video of the Green Revolution protests and posting them online.

Given the potential dangers, it is absolutely critical that Egyptian protesters take precautions when communicating online. To reiterate, social networking tools have given activists a powerful voice, which can be heard well beyond Egypt, but activists should also remember that the Egyptian government could use these same tools to identify and retaliate against them. We recommend that political activists look at our Surveillance Self Defense International report for information on how to use technology defensively to better protect their anonymity and freedom of expression in Egypt and other authoritarian regimes.

Censorship Iran June 2009 News Non-Violence Uncategorized


In the name of God, the kind and the merciful

Indeed god demands you to safe keep what people entrust in you, and to rule them with justice. [this a verse of Koran]

Respectable and intelligent people of Iran,

These nights and days, a pivotal moment in our history is taking place. People ask each other: “what should we do?, which way should we go?”. It is my duty to share with you what I believe, and to learn from you, may we never forget our historical task and not give up on the duty we are given by the destiny of times and generations.

30 years ago, in this country a revolution became victorious in the name of Islam, a revolution for freedom, a revolution for reviving the dignity of men, a revolution for truth and justice. In those times, especially when our enlightened Imam [Khomeini] was alive, large amount of lives and matters were invested to legitimize this foundation and many valuable achievements were attained. An unprecedented enlightenment captured our society, and our people reached a new life where they endured the hardest of hardships with a sweet taste. What this people gained was dignity and freedom and a gift of the life of the pure ones [i.e. 12 Imams of Shiites]. I am certain that those who have seen those days will not be satisfied with anything less.

Had we as a people lost certain talents that we were unable to experience that early spirituality? I had come to say that that was not the case. It is not late yet, we are not far from that enlightened space yet. I had come to show that it was possible to live spiritually while living in a modern world. I had come to repeat Imam’s warnings about fundamentalism. I had come to say that evading the law leads to dictatorship; and to remind that paying attention to people’s dignity does not diminish the foundations of the regime, but strengthens it. I had come to say that people wish honesty and integrity from their servants, and that many of our perils have arisen from lies. I had come to say that poverty and backwardness, corruption and injustice were not our destiny. I had come to re-invite to the Islamic revolution, as it had to be, and Islamic republic as it has to be.

In this invitation, I was not charismatic [articulate], but the core message of revolution was so appealing that it surpassed my articulation and excited the young generation who had not seen those days to recreate scenes which we had not seen since the days of revolution[1979] and the sacred defense. The people’s movement chose green as its symbol. I confess that in this, I followed them. And a generation that was accused of being removed from religion, has now reached “God is Great”, “Victory’s of God and victory’s near”, “Ya hossein” in their chants to prove that when this tree fruits, they all resemble. No one taught hem these slogans, they reached them by the teachings of instinct. How unfair are those whose petty advantages make them call this a “velvet revolution” staged by foreigners! [refering to state TV and Khameneni, perhaps!]

But as you know, all of us were faced with deception and cheatings when we claimed to revitalize our nation and realize dreams that root in the hearts of young and old. And that which we had predicted will stem from evading law [dictatorship], realized soon in the worst manifestation.

The large voter turnout in recent election was the result of hard work to create hope and confidence in people, to create a deserving response to those whose broad dissatisfaction with the existing management crisis could have targeted the foundations of the regime. If this good will and trust of the poeple is not addressed via protecting their votes, or if they cannot react in a civil manner to claim their rights, the responsibility of the dangerous routs ahead will be on the shoulders of those who do not tolerate civil protests.

If the large volume of cheating and vote rigging, which has set fire to the hays of people’s anger, is expressed as the evidence of fairness, the republican nature of the state will be killed and in practice, the ideology that Islam and Republicanism are incompatible will be proven.

This outcome will make two groups happy: One, those who since the beginning of revolution stood against Imam and called the Islamic state a dictatorship of the elite who want to take people to heaven by force; and the other, those who in defending the human rights, consider religion and Islam against republicanism. Imam’s fantastic art was to neutralize these dichotomies. I had come to focus on Imam’s approach to neutralize the burgeoning magic of these. Now, by confirming the results of election, by limiting the extent of investigation in a manner that the outcome will not be changed, even though in more than 170 branches the number of cast votes was more than 100% of eligible voters of the riding, the heads of the state have accepted the responsibility of what has happened during the election.

In these conditions, we are asked to follow our complaints via the Guardian council, while this council has proven its bias, not only before and during, but also after the election. The first principle of judgment is to be impartial.

I, continue to strongly believe that the request for annulling the vote and repeating the election is a definite right that has to be considered by impartial and nationally trusted delegation. Not to dismiss the results of this investigation a priori, or to prevent people from demonstration by threatening them to bloodshed. Nor to unleash the Intelligence ministry’s plain clothes forces on people’s lives to disperse crowds by intimidation and inflammation, instead of responding to people’s legitimate questions, and then blaming the bloodshed on others.

As I am looking at the scene, I see it set for advancing a new political agenda that spreads beyond the objective of installing an unwanted government. As a companion who has seen the beauties of your green wave, I will never allow any one’s life endangered because of my actions. At the same time, I remain undeterred on my demand for annulling the election and demanding people’s rights. Despite my limited abilities, I believe that your motivation and creativity can pursue your legitimate demands in new civil manners. Be sure that I will always stand with you. What this brother of yours recommends, especially to the dear youth, in terms of finding new solutions is to not allow liars and cheater steal your flag of defense of Islamic state, and foreigners rip the treasures of the Islamic republic which are your inheritance of the blood of your decent fathers. By trust in God, and hope for the future, and leaning on the strength of social movements, claim your rights in the frameworks of the existing constitution, based on principle of non-violence.

In this, we are not confronting the Basij. Basiji is our brother. In this we are not confronting the revolutionary guard. The guard is the keeper of our revolution. We are not confronting the army, the army is the keeper of our borders. These organs are the keepers of our independence, freedom and our Islamic republic. We are confronting deception and lies, we want to reform them, a reform by return to the pure principles of revolution.

We advise the authorities, to calm down the streets. Based on article 27 of the constitution, not only provide space for peaceful protest, but also encourage such gatherings. The state TV should stop badmouthing and taking sides. Before voices turn into shouting, let them be heard in reasonable debates. Let the press criticize, and write the news as they happen. In one word, create a free space for people to express their agreements and disagreements. Let those who want, say “takbeer” and don’t consider it opposition. It is clear that in this case, there won’t be a need for security forces on the streets, and we won’t have to face pictures and hear news that break the heart of anyone who loves the country and the revolution.

Censorship Israel June 2010 Non-Violence Palestine Video


Mavi Marmara and the attack by IDF on peace activist in open sea. The only full video that escaped the hands of IDF.
On the night of Sunday, May 30, showing a terrifying disregard for human life, Israeli naval forces surrounded and boarded ships sailing to bring humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip. On the largest ship, the Mavi Marmara, Israeli commandos opened fire on civilian passengers, killing at least 9 passengers and wounding dozens more. Others are still missing. The final death toll is yet to be determined. Cultures of Resistance director Iara Lee was aboard the besieged ship and has since returned home safely.

Despite the Israeli government’s thorough efforts to confiscate all footage taken during the attack, Iara Lee was able to retain some of her recordings. Above is raw footage from the moments leading up to and during the Israeli commandos’ assault on the Mavi Marmara.

Censorship July 2010 Non-Violence Video World


AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn to a young journalist who was beaten and arrested. Among the hundreds of people arrested at the G20 protests in Toronto was Jesse Rosenfeld. He is a freelance reporter who was on assignment for The Guardian newspaper of London. He’s also a journalist with the Alternative Media Center. He was arrested and detained by Canadian police on Saturday evening covering a protest in front of the Novotel Hotel. We reached him just before this broadcast this morning. He was over at the CBC. And he described what happened to him.


    • They started sending in snatch squads and declared a mass arrest. At that point, I went up to them, and I was with some other media and said, “What about the media?” Their first reaction was, “Well, media is also under arrest.” And then the officer came up actually [inaudible], said, “If you had an official lanyard from the G8/G20 summit, then you’re actually going to be OK and you can go through.”


Now, it’s interesting, because I filed for my G8/G20 media accreditation on June 11th, back at the deadline, submitted both—you know, all my documentation, including a letter from The Guardian. And then, what happened was, while the summit kept saying, oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m approved, they’re just waiting for the final approval of the RCMP background check before they can send me my lanyard or my official media photo ID, that it basically said it had to declare a background check. And that was basically used to prevent me from getting the media pass. So I only had an Alternative Media Center pass on me, which was the passes that the AMC, the Alternative Media Center, not the government, set up. Alternative Media Center had issued to all the independent journalists that were working with it.

The police told me, “Oh, we don’t recognize these credentials.” I explained to them that I was a journalist also with The Guardian, that I was writing for “Comment Is Free.” I told them about my editors. I told them about my stories. And they said, “Well, we’ll check your credentials, and then, if it’s fine, we’ll let you go.”

At that point, I was sort of taken to the side, after a bunch of media had gotten through the police line, and an officer walked up to me, looked at my ID and said—my Alternative Media Center press pass, that is—and said, “This isn’t legitimate. You’re under arrest,” at which point I was immediately jumped by two police officers. I had my notepads in my hands. Grabbed my arms, they yanked back. My notepad went flying. I was hit in the stomach by one officer as I was held by two others. As I was going over, I was then hit in the back and went down. After I went down and as I went down, I smacked my leg. I had officers jump on top of me. I was being hit in the back. My face was being pushed to the concrete. All the time I’m saying, “I’m not resisting arrest. I’m a journalist. Why are you beating me?” My leg was lifted up, and my ankle was twisted, from while I was on the ground not resisting. And at that point, after I started saying these things, the police then started saying, “Stop resisting arrest,” as if to try and provide cover for themselves.

Something interesting about when I was jumped, as well, is, just a minute or so after, two other officers had passed by, and they identified me as someone who is, quote-unquote, “a mouthy kid.” Basically, I had run into them at demonstrations previously in the week and basically been asking tough questions on the front of the riot line as they were either clashing with media, which they did quite violently through the week, or beating protesters. And so, they had identified me as someone who was challenging them publicly and on the record. And it was at that point that I was jumped by the other officers, you know, and beaten and arrested.

We were then hauled off to jail. I spent—I guess I was arrested at around 10:00, 11:30 in the evening, and I didn’t get out of jail ’til 5:00 or 6:00 the next afternoon. And that was basically on—we weren’t charged. We were held on the—we were detained on the grounds of, quote-unquote, “breach of peace,” which is not a criminal offense. And the conditions in jail—I mean, I’ve been working from the Middle East as a journalist for the past three years or so, since 2007, and the jails actually remind me a lot more of the ones I’ve seen that Israelis hold for Palestinians or the Palestinian Authority holds. We were in handcuffs, or at least I was in handcuffs ’til nearly 5:00 in the morning, while being processed in different cells and waiting to be processed and in cells of over—overcrowded cells with over twenty people, with a porta-potty, very limited access to water. Then, after I was processed, I was moved to a five-foot-by-eight-foot cell, where there were five other people with me. And there was benches, no washroom, only a concrete floor. And the room was absolutely freezing, not even enough space for us to lie down and sleep all at the same time. It was incredibly difficult to sleep because it was so cold. A lot of the people I was in jail with had been beaten, and beaten quite badly—black eyes, bloody noses, and been hit all over. And also, a lot of the people from—there were several people from the Alternative Media Center who had been taken in for just doing their job, which was reporting from the front lines.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Jesse Rosenfeld, freelance reporter on assignment with The Guardian newspaper in London. He was also a journalist with the Alternative Media Center, arrested and detained by the Canadian police on Saturday evening.

Censorship Iran January 2011


National Public Radio reports that Iran is planning on dispatching “cyber police” across the country with General Ahmadi Moghaddam stating that “There is no time to wait” in deploying the Islamic Republic’s latest line of defense against its real and perceived enemies. This isn’t the first timeMoghaddam has claimed to be setting up cyber police either. With the Basiji looking to occupy cyberspace as well, Iran’s Internet is starting to look very crowded.

When we hear about cyber police we may imagine “hackers” attacking opposition websites and monitoring Green Movement activists online. Popular discourse on the idea of cyber police inevitably focuses on the “cyber” aspect. What they miss is that these police are human beings and they’re trying to find and arrest other human beings. What starts out as cyber always ends up human.

While Moghaddam’s words may or may not portend the actual creation of an Iranian cyber police, it doesn’t mean they are without weight. The psychology of Internet censorship and Internet surveillance is an area that has received little research and deserves more attention. What the Internet feels like can affect what we think the Internet really is. We may then project that view of the Internet onto the rest of the world, influencing ideas about “Internet Freedom” and guiding foreign policy. Would we even have a concept of “Internet Freedom” if the only Internet we knew was a closed one? For an average user of Iran’s closed Internet, hearing propaganda about beingarrested for using Facebookemail being hackedmillions of blocked websites, Facebook being a nest of spies, and now thousands of cyber police fanning out across the country can make an already scary Internet even more intimidating. Strong encryption and anonymity tools can help a user knowthat they are safer, but how the user may actually feel is entirely different.

Popular discussion has tended to binarize the Iranian Internet user, transforming them from complex human being into:

  • Freedom-lover prepared to take any risk in the name of Western liberal democracy (Internet harms dictatorship), or
  • Oppressed and fearful citizen subject to constant arrest or harassment (Internet aids dictatorship)

with very little attention paid to the reality of the individual and the context under which they access the Internet.  When context is discussed it tends to be either neglected or overstated and each of those positions is further projected onto vast geographic areas, such as cyber police as fanning out all across Iran.  The spatiality of context for an Internet user within a repressive regime has thus received little genuine attention from those who study Internet censorship because it tends to add a significant layer of complexity.  While censorship may be centralized, perceptions and their influence on actual Internet behavior is not.  An Internet user in Tehran may very well be more cautious than one in a remote area where the regime’s power is perceived to be weaker.

The size of Iran makes it unlikely that power is evenly distributed.

While the recent statements by the regime may be actual announcements of upcoming plans, in the immediate sense they are being used to create a climate of fear and doubt surrounding the Internet. The regime may not be able to intimidate die-hard Green Movement activists, but it might influence millions of other Iranians in a variety of ways with those psychological influences also mediated by geography. Ultimately the regime’s rhetoric, combined with effective propaganda, can contribute to self-censorship and self-regulation, like the panopticon. While I applaud the Berkman Center’s recent DDoS report, I wonder what would happen if opposition websites were well protected from DDoS but received little traffic because the dictators gave up and diverted resources into more psychological and physical intimidation. As Ethan Zuckerman has noted, a “denial of service” need not only be technical, it can also be bureaucratic. The regime’s recent comments and actions demonstrate the possibility that a denial of service can be psychological as well.

Censorship January 2011


The Egyptian government cut internet connections across their country to silence protests, leaving nearly all of its citizens without online access. But they weren’t entirely successful. When governments shut down broadband and mobile connections, here’s what to do


If you haven’t been keeping up with the story, here’s the gist. Citizens across Egypt are protesting their government in unprecedented numbers, and its believed that the internet played a major role in the protests. So what did the Egyptian government do? First, they started blocking domain name servers (DNS)—the phone book of the internet—but citizens circumvented this limitation by using proxy servers. In reaction, the government cut broadband connections to the web and forced mobile providers to do the same. For more details, read Gizmodo’s take on how Egypt turned off the internet. The result: a nationwide internet blackout that’s preventing Egyptian citizens from communicating online. To put it bluntly, this sucks. But it’s still not good enough. We’re going to look at how Egyptian citizens can (and are) circumventing the problem.


How to Foil a Nationwide Internet Shutdown

Unless the Egyptian government kills all of the phone lines as well, you might remember one means of getting online that broadband has since relegated to obsolescence: dial-up. While there’s no Egyptian ISP that will allow internet access to Egyptian citizens, other countries will, meaning any Egyptian citizen with long-distance calling capabilities can break out their old school 56k modem and dial-up an ISP in another country. (Sure it’s going to be a slow connection, but you can survive.)

Several ISPs—such as Budget DialUp—offer dial-up numbers all over the globe. Some ISPs in other countries are offering free access to Egyptians specifically in response to the Egyptian government’s actions. According to twitter user @ioerror, French ISP FDN is one of them:

Egypt can use this number for dial up: +33172890150 (login ‘toto’ password ‘toto’) – thanks to a French ISP (FDN)#egypt #jan25

Others report that even DSL is still a possibility:

@SultanAlQassemi DIAL-UP ISP IS WORKING. DSL still working#Egypt,Try their Dial up numbers (0777 7770),(0777 7000) SPREAD THE WORD #jan25

How to Foil a Nationwide Internet ShutdownWhile dial-up isn’t an ideal means of getting online for most of us, it’s still a perfectly effective means of connecting when your government shuts down the internet. And until the Egyptian government shuts down all landline access—another huge step up the censorship ladder—there’s not much they can do to completely shut down the internet.

Do you have resources that can help?

If you know of additional options to help Egyptians stay connected and keep the lines of communication open, please share in the comments or contact us directly. We’ll keep updating the post with new information as we find it.

Censorship January 2011 News USA


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared Sunday night on 60 Minutes sharing his believes and vision behind his work, as well as his thoughts on the possibility of facing criminal charges in the US.  The man behind the whistle-blowing website that released tens of thousands of secret U.S. military reports and diplomatic cables has been in the center of the media hurricane for the past few months causing controversy and criticism as well as being seen as a defender of free speech and freedom by his supporters worldwide.

Steve Kroft spent two days interviewing Assange at his Britain home, where he is in house arrest fighting extradition to Sweden for questioning in two sexual assault cases. In the exclusive 60 minutes interview, Assange discussed his relationship with sources, Wikileaks’ vulnerability to government shut down, as well as rumors about documents embarrassing to Bank of America that are yet to be released.

Before he was placed to house arrest, Assange was constantly on the move, changing his appearances as often as he would change cities and jumped borders in attempt to avoid being killed, arrested, or kidnapped. Even before publishing U.S. secrets, Assange’s work caused threatening statements from powerful people.

Being asked to talk about specific statements that he considered were threatening to him, Assange pointed out “The statements by the Vice President Biden saying, for instance that I was a high-tech terrorist. Sarah Palin calling to our organization to be dealt with like the Taliban, and be hunted down. There’s calls either for my assassination or the assassination of my staff or for us to be kidnapped and renditioned back to the United States to be executed.“

Assange said that the United States does not have the power to put an end on the releases on WikiLeaks website.

“The U.S. does not have the technology to take the site down. Just the way our technology is constructed, the way the Internet is constructed, it’s quite hard to stop things reappearing. We’ve had attacks on particular domain names. Little pieces of infrastructure — knocked out. But we now have some 2,000 fully independent in every way websites, where we’re publishing around the world. …It’s not possible to do.” Assange tells Steve Kroft.

During the interview, Kroft pointed out that Assange’s agenda is viewed by a part of the public as anti-American. Defending the vision behind WikiLeaks, Assange told to the interviewer “Our founding values are those of the U.S. revolution. They are those of people like Jefferson and Madison.“

He also stressed that the website has played within the United States’ rules, saying his organization is comparable to any other publisher and should be protected under the First Amendment.

“We operated just like any U.S. publisher operates … and there has been no precedent that I’m aware of, in the past 50 years, of prosecuting a publisher for espionage,” Assange said. “It is just not done. Those are the rules. You do not do it.“

Africa Censorship January 2011 USA


In a chilling move that could set a dangerous global precedent, Egypt’s government has responded to pro-democracy protests by shutting down access to the Internet. They hope to make it impossible for protesters to coordinate, and to hide the government’s brutal crackdown from the eyes of the world.

Now, as Americans, we have a unique ability to influence Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s decision to shut off the Internet because, since 1948, the United States has donated $68 billion of aid to the Egyptian government.1

So today we’re joining with our close friends at Access—an international organization, created with support from MoveOn, pushing for global Internet freedom—in calling on President Obama to withhold any more aid to Egypt unless their government reopens the channels of communication, including the Internet, and honors the Egyptian people’s demands for true democracy.

Sign the Access petition to President Obama here:

President Obama has more influence over Mubarak than anyone else and this is a chance to honor America’s commitment to freedom and democracy. President Obama has already said the Egyptian government should “reverse the actions that they’ve taken to interfere with access to the Internet, with cellphone service and to social networks that do so much to connect people in the 21st century.” 2

In this era, open access to the Internet and communications technology is increasingly essential for democracy and the protection of human rights. The Internet blackout in Egypt not only poses an immediate threat the safety of the protesters, but also stands in the way of their vision for democratic reform. Real reform in Egypt cannot happen until there is real freedom of speech. And freedom of speech means fully restoring access to mobile phone networks and the Internet.

The White House has said it is reviewing U.S. aid policy, but so far President Obama hasn’t publicly tied continuing aid to fully restoring internet and communications access in Egypt.3

Just after taking office President Obama delivered a historic address in Cairo calling for a new beginning in the relationship between the United States and the Muslim world based on mutual interest and mutual respect. Now is the time to demonstrate that commitment.

Please sign this petition to President Obama urging him to support freedom in Egypt.

Thanks for all you do.

–Justin, Robin, Michael, Laura, and the rest of the team


1. “What the United States has at stake in Egypt,” MSNBC, January 28, 2011

2. “President Obama calls on Egypt to bring back the Internet, social media,” The Los Angeles Times, January 28, 2011

3. “United States to review aid to Egypt in wake of protests,”, January 29, 2011

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