Saturday, January 07, 2006

It's in China this time

I have posted before a news article about blog censorship in Singapore. The same phenomenon is happening in China. I am sure this one is not alone with an increasing number of Chinese intellectuals raising their voice on various issues against the Chinese government under the so-called "Communist" Party.

Upon searching "singapore blog censored", I stumbled upon this interesting blog called Singabloodypore. Matapang ang lola. Another related site is that of the Committee to Protect Bloggers.

With the increasing number of critical and progressive Filipino bloggers behind a background of intensifying repression in the political scence, maybe it is appropriate to think over putting up a formation to protect such bloggers and other "online columnists" and journalists from a similar fate.

What do you think?

China censors bold blogger
Last Updated Fri, 06 Jan 2006 15:55:46 EST
CBC Arts
Click to source

A Chinese blogger who discussed politically sensitive issues, including a strike related to censorship at a Beijing newspaper, has had his blog shut down by Microsoft.

At the Chinese government's request, Microsoft's China-based blog-hosting service blocked the site operated by Zhao Jing, who uses the name "Anti."

Anti had recently posted news about the strike at the Beijing News, where 100 journalists walked off the job after their editor and two of his deputies were fired.

The paper had been one of the city's most aggressive media outlets, reporting on events such as a recent massacre of protestors by government troops and a series of local petty crimes, a subject not touched on by most Chinese media.

Editor Yang Bin was replaced by an editor from a conservative daily.

Anti's blog had supported journalists who walked off the job in solidarity with Yang. The blog was blocked on Dec. 30 or 31 and its address now yields an error message.

Observers see both the change of guard at the newspaper and the blocking of the blog as an attempt by Communist Party officials to reign in media that have become increasingly bold.

Online bulletin boards and blogs have given millions of Chinese an opportunity to express opinions in a public setting in a system where media are government-controlled.

Beijing has placed filters on the internet that block controversial sites coming from outside the country. It also enforces regulations banning subversive and pornographic content.

But at the same time, Beijing wants to foster technological innovation. It appears to have some difficulty keeping up with burgeoning blogs from within the country.

Zhao works for the Beijing bureau of the New York Times as a research assistant and his Anti blog touched on sensitive topics such as China's relations with Taiwan.

The prevalence of blogging has given Chinese access to news from around their large and disparate country. It also has emboldened newspapers and spurred them to cover topics not considered acceptable by authorities.

Internet service providers such as Microsoft are required to monitor blogs and bulletin boards and erase banned content, including postings that use the words "democracy" and "human rights."

Microsoft has been criticized for complying with these regulations and blocking Anti's blog. Foreign companies are participating in censorship in return for access to China's markets, free speech activists say.

"When we operate in markets around the world, we have to ensure that our service complies with global laws as well as local laws and norms," Microsoft representative Brooke Richardson said.

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