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Friday, November 18, 2005

WSIS: Bahrain Being Watched as a Potential Internet Enemy

Fifteen countries have won the infamy as 'Black Holes on the Web', thanks to Reporters Without Borders (RSF) - Bahrain is not one of them ... but we are being closely watched! The RSF attended the alternative summit to WSIS in Tunisia - a symbolic "citizens summit" by a group of some 20 non-governmental organisations at the headquarters of the Tunisian Human Rights League (LTDH) - and unveiled a list of 15 Internet enemies.





The top 5 Internet enemies, noted for their online censorship, are China, Cuba, Iran, Belarus and Tunisia.

"These are the world's most repressive governments as regards the free flow of information online," the RSF said. "Independent websites are censored, while bloggers and cyber-dissidents who criticise the government are harassed and sometimes imprisoned."

"We also point the finger at ten other countries that need to monitored. The situation there requires our attention as there have been worrying measures that affect the Internet," added Reporters Without Borders.

The ten countries are, by alphabetical order, Burma, Libya, The Maldives, Nepal, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. Ten economies are being watched as potential Internet enemies. They include Bahrain, Egypt, the European Union, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the United States and Zimbabwe.

As part of its response to the WSIS currently under way in Tunis, Reporters Without Borders also launched a campaign about Internet "black holes". November 17, the organisation's activists stuck a giant poster representing the "black holes in the web" inside the convention centre hosting the WSIS.

It's a 2x3-metre poster, stuck on the floor of the exhibition pavilion among stands set up by the participating countries, that illustrates the 15 'enemies of the Internet' - the countries that trample on free expression on the Net.

In these "black holes on the web", sites are censored, draconian filtering systems set up and cyberdissidents and Internet-users harassed and imprisoned. Why did the RSF choose to attend the "alternative summit"? The RSF said: "As the authorities prevented as from holding a proper alternative summit, we have no choice but to improvise a meeting at the LTDH's headquarters. Nonetheless, it enabled us to condemn the curbs repeatedly place on free expression in Tunisia and to tackle the issue of online censorship around the world."


Source: Jeffooi @ Screenshots & RSF


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