Political repression of cyber-dissidents

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Political repression of cyber-dissidents is the oppression or persecution of people for expressing their political views on the Internet.

Along with development of the Internet, state authorities in many parts of the world are moving forward to install mass surveillance of the electronic communications, establish Internet censorship to limit the flow of information, and persecute individuals and groups who express "inconvenient" political views in the Internet. Many cyber-dissidents have found themselves persecuted for attempts to bypass state controlled news media. Reporters Without Borders has released a Handbook For Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents and maintains a roster of currently imprisoned cyber-dissidents.

Iran[edit]

Mohamad Reza Nasab Abdolahi was imprisoned for published an open letter to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. His pregnant wife and other bloggers who commented on the arrest were imprisoned too.[1]

Saudi Arabia[edit]

Raif Badawi,[2] Saudi Arabian writer and activist and the creator of the website Free Saudi Liberals, has been convicted of crimes including "setting up a website that undermines general security" and "ridiculing Islamic religious figures." He was sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes in 2013, then resentenced to 1000 lashes and ten years in prison plus a fine of 1 million riyal (equal to about $267,000).[3][4][5] His wife, Ensaf Haidar, asserted that Raif will not be able to survive the flogging.[6]

Egypt[edit]

Several bloggers in Egypt are arrested for allegedly defaming the president Hosni Mubarak or expressing critical views about Islam [7] Blogger Karim Amer has been convicted to four years of prison [8]

China[edit]

Chinese Communist Party leader Hu Jintao ordered to "maintain the initiative in opinion on the Internet and raise the level of guidance online," [9] "An internet police force - reportedly numbering 30,000 - trawls websites and chat rooms, erasing anti-Communist comments and posting pro-government messages." [10] However, the number of Internet police personnel was challenged by Chinese authorities [11] Amnesty International blamed several companies, including Google, Microsoft and Yahoo!, of collusion with the Chinese authorities to restrict access to information over the Internet and identify cyber-dissidents by hiring "big mamas" .[12]

It was reported that departments of provincial and municipal governments in mainland China began creating "teams of internet commentators, whose job is to guide discussion on public bulletin boards away from politically sensitive topics by posting opinions anonymously or under false names" in 2005 [13] Applicants for the job were drawn mostly from the propaganda and police departments. Successful candidates have been offered classes in Marxism, propaganda techniques, and the Internet. "They are actually hiring staff to curse online," said Liu Di, a Chinese student who was arrested for posting her comments in blogs [13]

Russia[edit]

In 2006 journalist Vladimir Rakhmankov published an article on the Internet where he named Vladimir Putin "the nation's phallic symbol". A regional court found Rakhmankov guilty of offending Vladimir Putin and fined him to a sum of 20,000 roubles (~680 USD).[14][15][16][17]

In July 2008 blogger Savva Terentyev was found guilty of inciting hatred against a social group of police officers and convicted to a year of suspended sentence for hate speech, after a comment in the Livejournal in which he made public calls to burn policemen alive in crematoria "like in Auschwitz".[18][19]

Tunisia[edit]

Lawyer and human rights defender Mohammed Abbou was imprisoned for criticizing torture on a web site.[20]

Bangladesh[edit]

Asif Mohiuddin, a winner of The Bobs-Best of Online Activism award,[21] was imprisoned by the Bangladesh government for posting “offensive comments about Islam and Mohammed”[22] Deutsche Welle state "Asif's blog was one of the most read web pages in Bangladesh and is known for its strong criticism of religious fundamentalism and Bangladesh's 'anti-people politics'"

International organisations, including Human Rights Watch,[23] Amnesty International,[24] Reporters without Borders[25] and the Committee to Protect Journalists[26] have condemned the imprisonment of bloggers and the climate of fear for journalists.

The head of Reporters without Borders Asia-Pacific commented on the murder of writer Avijit Roy noting "It is unacceptable for [police] to spend so much time searching news outlets, arresting journalists, censoring news and investigating bloggers, when the many attacks on bloggers are still unpunished."[27]

Vietnam[edit]

Nguyen Vu Binh was imprisoned for writing about violations of human rights, and Truong Quoc Huy was arrested for discussing political reforms in Internet chat room [28] Nguyen Vu Binh was released in June 2007.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Connor, A. (2005), Not just critics, BBC News, 20 June 2005. Retrieved on 29 November 2006.
  2. ^ PEN International/IFEX (11 January 2013). "Prominent Saudi writer’s safety at risk after arrest". The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. Retrieved 20 January 2013. 
  3. ^ Jamjoom, Mohammed (May 7, 2014). "Saudi activist sentenced to 10 years, 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam". CNN International. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  4. ^ "Saudi blogger Raif Badawi spared flogging again this week". 13 February 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2015. 
  5. ^ Wife of flogged Saudi blogger Raif Badawi says his health is worsening
  6. ^ What actually happens when you get flogged
  7. ^ Egypt arrests another blog critic, BBC News, 20 November 2006. Retrieved on 29 November 2006.
  8. ^ "Egypt: makes bloggers new target of the authorities.". Amnesty International. 2007-02-22. Retrieved 2007-05-11. 
  9. ^ China's Hu vows to "purify" Internet, Reuters, 24 Jan 2007
  10. ^ War of the words by Guardian Unlimited, 20 February 2006
  11. ^ Who are China's Top Internet Cops?
  12. ^ Amnesty International joins multi stakeholder initiative on internet and human rights
  13. ^ a b China's secret internet police target critics with web of propaganda, by Jonathan Watts in Beijing, 14 June 2005, Guardian Unlimited
  14. ^ "GLASNOST DEFENSE FOUNDATION'S DIGEST No. 298". 2006-09-26. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-05-11. 
  15. ^ Russia: 'Phallic' Case Threatens Internet Freedom
  16. ^ U.S. Media Watchdog Criticizes Russia
  17. ^ Media freedom watchdog condemns conviction of journalist in Russia
  18. ^ Blogger Terenty
  19. ^ Experts judged Terentyev based on Wikipedia (in Russian)
  20. ^ Two years behind Tunisian bars for speaking out Statement by Amnesty International
  21. ^ "Bangladesh gags award-winning blogger". Deutsche Welle. 25 May 2013. 
  22. ^ "BLOGGER GRANTED BAIL ON HEALTH GROUNDS". Reporters without Borders. 7 Aug 2013. 
  23. ^ "Bangladesh: Crackdown on Bloggers, Editors Escalates". Human Rights Watch. 15 April 2013.  "the government is abandoning any serious claim that it is committed to free speech,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch."
  24. ^ "Bangladesh: Further information: Detained editor alleges torture". Amnesty International. 17 April 2013. Blogger Asif Mohiudeen, arrested on 3 April for allegedly posting blasphemous comments online, remains in detention and at risk of torture 
  25. ^ "Call for detained blogger’s immediate release". Reporters without Borders. 11 April 2013. Reporters Without Borders condemns the baseless judicial proceedings brought against the detained blogger Asif Mohiuddin, who could be tried and convicted on a charge of blasphemy and “hurting religious sentiments” at his next hearing 
  26. ^ "Attacks on the Press - Bangladesh". Committee to Protect Journalists. Feb 2014. 
  27. ^ "Call for effective protection after another blogger hacked to death". Reporters Without Borders. 27 Feb 2015. 
  28. ^ Free Vietnamese Internet dissidents!, Statement by Amnesty International

External links[edit]

See also[edit]