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Global Information Society Watch 2011Steering committeeAnriette Esterhuysen (APC)Loe Schout (Hivos)Coordinating committeeKaren Banks (APC)Monique Doppert (Hivos)Karen Higgs (APC)Marjan Besuijen (Hivos)Joy Liddicoat (APC)Pablo Accuosto (APC)Valeria Betancourt (APC)Project coordinatorKaren BanksEditorAlan FinlayAssistant editorLori NordstromPublication productionKaren Higgs, Analía Lavin and Flavia FascendiniGraphic designmonocromoinfo@monocromo.com.uyPhone: +598 2 400 1685Cover illustrationMatías BervejilloProofreadingStephanie Biscomb, Valerie Dee and Lori NordstromFinancial partnersHumanist Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries (Hivos)Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)The views expressed in this publication are those of the individualauthors and not necessarily those of APC or HivosPrinted in Goa, Indiaby Dog Ears Books & PrintingGlobal Information Society WatchPublished by APC and HivosSouth Africa2011Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 LicenceSome rights reserved.ISSN: 2225-4625APC-201111-CIPP-R-EN-PDF-0105ISBN: 978-92-95096-14-1APC and Hivos would like to thank the SwedishInternational Cooperation Agency (Sida) for its supportfor Global Information Society Watch 2011.


Côte d’Ivoire .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113nnenna.orgCroatia .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116ZaMirNetEcuador .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119IMAGINAREgypt .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123ArabDevEthiopia .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127Ethiopian Free and Open Source Software Network(EFOSSNET)France .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130VECAMIndia.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134Digital Empowerment FoundationIndonesia.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138EngageMedia Collective Inc.Iran.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142Arseh Sevom SchoolItaly .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146With the support of Centro NexaJamaica .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150Telecommunications Policyand Management Programme,University of the West IndiesJapan .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154Institute for InfoSocionomics and informationSupport pro bono Platform (iSPP)Jordan.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159Alarab AlyawmKazakhstan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163Adil NurmakovKenya .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet)Korea, Republic of .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172Korean Progressive Network JinbonetKyrgyzstan.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176Civil Initiative on Internet Policy (CIIP)Lebanon.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180Mireille RaadMexico .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 184LaNetaMorocco.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188DiploFoundationMozambique .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191Polly GasterNepal .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195Panos South AsiaThe Netherlands .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 198Institute for Information LawNew Zealand .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 202Jordan Carter Ltd. Internet ConsultingNigeria .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 206Fantsuam FoundationOccupied Palestinian Territory .. . . . . . . . . . 209Applied Information Management (AIM)Pakistan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 212Bytes for All PakistanPeru .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215Red Científica Peruana and CONDESANRomania . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 218StrawberryNet FoundationRwanda. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 222Media High CouncilSaudia Arabia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 226Saudi Arabian Strategic InternetConsultancy (SASIc)Spain. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229Pangea and BarcelonaTech (UPC)Sweden .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233Association for Progressive Communications (APC)Switzerland .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 236Comunica-chTanzania . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 240Collaboration on International ICT Policyfor East and Southern Africa (CIPESA)Thailand.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243Thai Netizen NetworkTunisia .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 247Arab World Internet InstituteUnited Kingdom .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 251Open Rights GroupUnited States .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 257Sex Work AwarenessUruguay .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261OBSERVATIC, Universidad de la RepúblicaVenezuela .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264EsLaRedZambia.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 268Ceejay Multimedia Consultancy


PrefaceUnlike any other medium, the internet enablesindividuals to seek, receive and impart informationand ideas of all kinds instantaneously andinexpensively across national borders. Unlikeany other technological development, it hascreated an interactive form of communication,which not only allows you to send informationin one direction, but also to send informationin many directions and receive an immediateresponse. The internet vastly increases thecapacity of individuals to enjoy their right tofreedom of opinion and expression, includingaccess to information, which facilitates the exerciseof other human rights, such as the rightto education and research, the right to freedomof association and assembly, and the right to developmentand to protect the environment. Theinternet boosts economic, social and politicaldevelopment, and contributes to the progressof humankind as a whole; but it is especially aninstrument that strengthens democracy by facilitatingcitizen participation and transparency.The internet is a “plaza pública” – a public placewhere we can all participate.The past year has been a difficult time globally:whether the aftermath of the tsunami in Japan,unsteady global markets, post-election riots inNigeria, civil war in Libya and a military clampdownin Syria. But there have been positive, andequally challenging, developments in countriessuch as Tunisia and Egypt. Throughout the yearpeople around the world have increasingly usedthe internet to build support for human rightsand social movements. This edition of GlobalInformation Society Watch (GISWatch) offerstimely commentary on the future of the internetas an open and shared platform that everyonehas the right to access – to access content andto have access to connectivity and infrastructure.Through the lens of freedom of expression,freedom of association and democracy, thethematic reports included here go to the heartof the debates that will shape the future of theinternet and its impact on human rights. Theyoffer, amongst other things, an analysis of howhuman rights are framed in the context of theinternet, the progressive use of criminal lawto intimidate or censor the use of the internet,the difficult role of intermediaries facingincreasing pressure to control content, andthe importance of the internet to workers inthe support of global rights in the workplace.Some call for a change of perspective, as in thereport on cyber security, where the necessityof civil society developing a security advocacystrategy for the internet is argued. Without it,the levels of systems and controls, whetheremanating from government or military superpowers,threaten to overwhelm what has overthe years become the vanguard of freedom ofexpression and offered new forms of free associationbetween people across the globe.Many of these issues are pulled sharply into focusat the country level in the country reportsthat follow the thematic considerations. Each ofthese country reports takes a particular “story”or event that illustrates the role of the internet insocial rights and civil resistance – whether positiveor negative, or both. Amongst other things,they document torture in Indonesia, candlelightvigils in South Korea, internet activism againstforgetting human rights atrocities in Peru, andthe rights of prisoners accessing the internetin Argentina. While the function and role of theinternet in society remains debated, and necessarilyso, in many contexts these stories showthat to limit it unfairly will have a harmful impacton the rights of people. These stories showthat the internet has become pivotal in actionsaimed at the protection of human rights.GISWatch makes a valuable contribution todialogue on freedom of expression, freedom ofassociation and democratisation and seeks toinspire and support collaborative approaches. nFrank La Rueunited nations special rapporteur on thepromotion and protection of the right tofreedom of opinion and expressionPreface / 9


IntroductionJillian C. YorkElectronic Frontier Foundationeff.orgEarly visionaries imagined the internet as a borderlessworld where the rule of law and the norms ofthe so-called physical world did not apply. Free expressionand free association were envisioned asentitlements, a feature of cyberspace rather thanrights to be asserted.These early conceptions quickly gave way to therealisation that, just as the internet was embracedby people, so would it be controlled: by corporations,by policy makers, by governments, the latterof which began asserting control over the internetearly on, enacting borders to cyberspace and preventingthe free flow of information, not unlike thephysical borders that prevent free movement betweennations.For more than a decade, academics and activistshave dissected and debated the various challengesto a free and open net. But the use of digital toolsin the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa,as well as the subsequent restrictions placedon them by governments, have inspired new publicdiscourse on the subject, bringing to light theimportance of and highlighting new challenges tointernet freedom.In Tunisia and in Egypt, the ability to organiseand share information online proved vital to manyin organising the revolutions that eventually ledto the downfall of both countries’ regimes. There,and in Syria, Viet Nam, Iran, the Occupied PalestinianTerritories, and beyond, the videos andimages disseminated from protests have demonstratedprecisely why online freedom must be apolicy imperative.The Charter of Human Rights and Principlesfor the Internet, 1 developed by the Internet Rightsand Principles Coalition, defines online freedomof expression to include the freedom to protest,freedom from censorship, the right to information,the freedom of the media, and the freedom fromhate speech. Framed by Article 19 of the UniversalDeclaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the Charterrecognises certain legal restrictions placed on such1 internetrightsandprinciples.org/node/367rights (such as the necessity to keep public order).Similarly, the Charter also frames the freedom of assemblyor association online within the space of theUDHR, including in its definition the right to “form,join, meet or visit the website or network of an assembly,group, or association for any reason” andnoting that “access to assemblies and associationsusing ICTs [information and communications technologies]must not be blocked or filtered.” The twoaforementioned definitions comprehensively addressonline rights as defined within the frameworkof the UDHR.But while the freedoms of expression and associationare guaranteed by Articles 19 and 20 of theUDHR, and by the individual constitutions of manyof the world’s nation-states, their application onlinehas proved troublesome for even the most democraticof governments.The internet is unique, both structurally andpractically. A medium unlike any other, it enables individualsto cross borders in an instant, to seek andshare information rapidly and at little cost. But justas it provides a unique means of communication, sotoo does it present unique challenges for regulatorswho, so far, have relied upon outmoded legislationto regulate the digital space.For example, defamation laws in Turkey haveled to an environment where any individual or organisationcan all too easily petition a judge toblock an allegedly defamatory website, thereby silencingwhat may very well be legitimate criticism.Similarly, in Tunisia, not long after the country’sdecade-long censorship of the internet ended, agroup of judges successfully petitioned the court toorder the Tunisian Internet Agency to block accessto a large swath of pornographic websites in the interestof “morality”.The desire to restrict access to “adult content”exemplifies the challenges of enforcing existingage restrictions on online content. Where a magazinecan be restricted for sale to minors or hiddenin opaque packaging, and a television programmeor film can come with age-appropriate warnings,online content is not so easily restricted. Instead,the most oft-used method of restriction, technicalfiltering, cannot differentiate between the adultand child user and therefore blocks access to contentfrom all. In any scenario, filtering tends to beoverbroad and expensive, but is also fallible, and10 / Global Information Society Watch


in most cases easily circumvented by commerciallyavailable tools.Blocking websites is not the only means of restrictingaccess: in Iran and in Syria, for example,authorities have slowed bandwidth to a crawl,limiting the ability of users to upload or downloadcontent such as videos or images. Several countries,including South Korea, have attempted tocontrol access to certain content, or to track usersby requiring government identification to usecertain websites or to enter cybercafés. Governmentenabledor sponsored attacks on infrastructure orindividual websites have become increasingly common.And more recently, governments aware of theinternet’s organising potential have taken to implementing“just-in-time” blocking – limiting access tosites during specific periods of election or protest,or worse, arresting bloggers and social media usersor shutting down the internet entirely as has occurredin Egypt, Libya and Syria.These various forms of restriction leverage theability of governments to censor and discredit unwantedspeech, while fears of “cyberwar” make iteasy for governments to justify political repression,blocking access to opposition content or arrestingbloggers under terrorism legislation. A genuineneed for digital security has pushed governments todevelop strategies to identify and track down actualcriminals; these methods are in turn used to crackdown on political dissidents and others. Similarly,efforts to enforce copyright have led to chilling effects,such as in the United States (US) where, inan effort to crack down on copyright infringement,the intellectual property wing of the Immigrationsand Customs Enforcement seized dozens of domainnames under the guise of “consumer protection”.Similarly, proposals such as France’s HADOPI– which would terminate the internet access of subscribersaccused three times of (illegal) file sharing– silence speech while doing little to solve the problemthey are intended to combat.Lawmakers have also found ways to restrict accessto certain content from users outside of theircountries using what is known as geolocationalIP blocking. This tactic has a variety of uses, frommedia content hosts like Netflix and Hulu blockingusers outside of the US in compliance with copyrightschemes, to US companies blocking access tousers in sanctioned countries like Syria and Iran.Free expression online is challenged not only bygovernments, but also by private entities. Thoughcensorship is, by definition, the suppression of publiccommunications, the right to free expression isincreasingly challenged by intermediaries, whetherby their own volition or at the behest of governments.States have on numerous occasions relied uponintermediaries to undertake censorship on their behalf,such as in the case of South Korea, where theKorea Communications Standard Commission – asemi-private initiative – has been developed to regulateonline content, or in the United Kingdom (UK),where the Internet Watch Foundation, an opaquenon-governmental agency, determines a blacklist ofchild sexual abuse websites, which is in turn used byinternet service providers (ISPs) and governmentalregulators (as was the case with Australia’s proposedfiltering scheme). Currently, several Australian ISPshave agreed to voluntarily filter illegal content in lieuof filtering legislation, raising questions about therole of ISPs in moderating content. These issues areat the core of the debate around network neutrality,a policy framework which has yet to be widelyadopted.Companies that operate in foreign countries canimpose or be complicit in limits to free expression.Companies are obliged to abide by the rules of theirhost country, which, in countries where restrictionsto online content are the norm, results in aidingthat country’s censorship. Between 2006 and 2010,Google censored its search results at the behest ofthe Chinese government, while Microsoft continuesto do so. And several companies – includingUS companies Cisco and SmartFilter, and Canadiancompany Netsweeper – allow their filtering softwareto be used by foreign governments.These concerns also extend to platforms thathost user-generated content. Across the Arab worldand beyond, the use of social platforms to organiseand disseminate information has garnered praisefor sites like Facebook and Twitter. But while theseplatforms offer seemingly open spaces for discourse,the policies and practices of these privatelyowned platforms often result in content restrictionsstricter than those applied by government censors,presenting a very real threat to free expression.Take, for example, the case of Wael Ghonim, theEgyptian Google executive who created the “WeAre All Khaled Said” Facebook page, a core site fororganising the protests. Several months prior tothe uprising, the page was taken down, a result ofFacebook policies that require users to utilise a realname on the service, and was only reinstated whenanother, identified, user stepped in to take Ghonim’splace. Similarly, Facebook recently removed apage calling for a third intifada in Palestine, followingpublic objections and numerous user reports.Other platforms have acted similarly, removing contentwhen it violates their proprietary terms of use.While filtering and other means of restrictionaffect the ability to access content, access to theIntroduction / 11


physical and technical infrastructure required toconnect to the internet can also be used by governmentsas a means of restricting the free flowof information and limiting individuals’ ability toassociate and organise. While in many cases, lowinternet penetration is a sign of economic or infrastructuralchallenges, it can also be an intentionalstrategy by governments attempting to restrict citizensfrom accessing information or developing civilsociety. Though this strategy is best exemplified byCuba and North Korea – where the majority of citizensare barred entirely from accessing the internet– dozens of countries with the capability to do sohave slowed or stifled the infrastructural developmentnecessary to expand access.These various forms of control have led to whatscholars have referred to as the “Balkanisation” ofthe internet, whereby national boundaries are appliedto the internet through these various meansof control. In 2010, the OpenNet Initiative estimatedthat more than half a billion (or about 32%) of theworld’s internet users experience some form of national-levelcontent restriction online. That numberis undoubtedly increasing: in recent months, variousgovernments across the globe have taken newsteps to restrict access to content. Egypt, whichhad blocked websites minimally and only sporadically,took an enormous step backward when it shutdown the internet for a week during the protests.Libya, which prior to 2011 filtered only selectively,has barred access for most of its population sinceFebruary. Iran has recently announced plans towithdraw from the global internet, creating essentiallyan intranet inside the country. And even instates where access remains low – such as in Ethiopia,where internet penetration hovers around 0.5%– governments fearing the democratising power ofthe internet are preemptively putting additional restrictionsin place. As of 2011, more than 45 stateshave placed restrictions on online content.When a country restricts the free flow of informationonline, it impacts not only the citizens ofthat country, but reduces the value of the internetfor all of its users and stakeholders. Just as China’sextensive filtering of online content preventsChinese users from reaching the BBC, the BBC isprevented from doing business in China; and just asChinese users cannot access Facebook, Facebookusers from across the world cannot interact with theChinese populace.The challenges to an open internet are decidedlycomplex. And with the fragmentation of theinternet aided not only by authoritarian regimes,but also democratically elected governments, ISPs,user-generated content platforms, and other corporateentities, the solutions to creating an openinternet are equally, if not more, complex than theproblems.Censorship does not exist in a vacuum; for everystep closer to freedom, there is another step back,as governments learn from one another and implementnew “solutions” for limiting free expression.At the top level lies the simplest yet most difficultsolution: convincing governments of the valueof a free internet. The ideals of an open internet areoften in direct conflict with the interests of policymakers, whether in debating network neutrality inthe US or in the current proposal to erect a Chinastylefirewall in Iran.Solutions to the latter problem abound, butoften act as mere bandages, offering a fallible solutionto a vast and ever-developing problem. TheUS and other governments have poured money intocircumvention technology, which can be effectivein getting around internet censorship, but simplyfurthers the cat-and-mouse game between governmentsand tool developers, the former blocking thelatter as the developers attempt to keep up. Meshnetworking has, of late, also become a strong contenderfor solving the dual problems of censorshipand access, with several nascent projects receivingattention – and funding – from government entities.Trade restrictions have been proposed to curbinternet censorship; notably, in 2010, Google proposedthe idea of stricter trade governance as ameans to prevent or lessen restrictions placed bygovernments on internet access. At the same time,the Global Network Initiative, a multi-stakeholderorganisation comprised of academics, activists,corporations and NGOs, is working with companiesto guide them toward better policies around privacyand free expression online.But while attainment of these ideals may attimes seem nearly impossible, the costs of notfighting for them are too great. It is therefore imperativethat we – the users, the citizens – continue topush for better choices at the hands of governmentsand corporations, and keep fighting for the equallynecessary freedoms of expression and associationin this most unique of spaces. n12 / Global Information Society Watch


Thematic reports


Conceptualising accountability and recourseJoy LiddicoatAssociation for Progressive Communications (APC)www.apc.orgIntroductionThe modern foundations of international humanrights rest on the Universal Declaration of HumanRights (UDHR) and the Charter of the United Nations(UN). 1 The UDHR affirmed human rights areuniversal, inalienable and interconnected. The humanrights framework recognises both the right ofstates to govern and the duty of states to respect,protect and promote human rights. The globaltransformation of human rights from moral or philosophicalimperatives into a framework of rights thatare legally recognised between nations continuedinto the 21st century, but this basic framework hasbeen reaffirmed by UN member states and remainsthe foundation of human rights today. 2 The internethas been used to create new spaces in whichhuman rights can be exercised and new spaces inwhich rights violations can take place. This reportlooks at human rights concepts, the internet andaccountability mechanisms for internet-related humanrights violations. 3The human rights frameworkThe UDHR is not legally binding but has a powerfulmoral force among UN member states. Bindingstandards have been developed, including the InternationalCovenant on Civil and Political Rights(ICCPR) 4 and the International Covenant on Economic,Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). 5Together with the UDHR, these two standards havebecome known as the International Bill of Human1 The United Nations officially came into existence after ratificationof the Charter on 24 October 1945.2 The 1993 Vienna World Conference on Human Rights reaffirmedthat human rights are indivisible and interrelated and that noright is superior to another. UN General Assembly (1993) ViennaDeclaration and Programme of Action, Article 5. www.unhchr.ch/huridocda/huridoca.nsf/(symbol)/a.conf.157.23.en3 “Accountability mechanisms” range from internationalmechanisms, to litigation, to community action and lawful forms ofprotest.4 The ICCPR includes rights related to the right to vote, freedom ofexpression, freedom of association, and the rights to a fair trial anddue process.5 The ICESCR includes rights related to the right to health, the rightto education, the right to an adequate standard of living, and theright to social security.Rights. 6 Other international human rights standardsfollowed, including the Convention against Tortureand Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatmentor Punishment. 7Accountability and remediesWhen the UDHR was being negotiated, litigationwas not seen as the appropriate way to seek remediesor accountability between nations (nor wasthere an international court system). New forumswere established, including the Security Council,the Human Rights Committee and, more recently,the Human Rights Council. Accountability to theseforums was primarily by way of periodic reporting.Once a state had ratified a treaty (such as theICCPR) it agreed to periodically report on implementation,but ratification was also permitted withreservations. Some treaties adopted complaint proceduresfor individual complaints (which are knownas optional protocols), but states are not obliged tosubmit to these. Each treaty has different standardsfor accountability. For example, states are obligedto implement economic, cultural and social rightsas resources allow, through a system known as“progressive realisation”. Civil and political rights,on the other hand, must be implemented immediatelyand some, such as freedom from torture, cannever be suspended or limited, even in emergencysituations.The premise underlying these forms of accountabilityis that states, as equal members ofthe international community of nations, will subjecttheir conduct to the scrutiny of other states.In doing so states also agree to abide by recommendationsor take into account observationsmade about matters within their own borders.States therefore agree to be publicly accountablefor their human rights performance. This was amajor transformation in the international communityof states.6 Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (1996) FactSheet No. 2 (Rev. 1) The International Bill of Human Rights, UnitedNations, Geneva. www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/FactSheet2Rev.1en.pdf7 Others include the International Convention on the Eliminationof All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), the Convention onthe Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women(CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC), andthe Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).Thematic reports / 15


In practice, the effectiveness of these accountabilitymechanisms varies widely. Some treatybody processes 8 are seen as very ineffective: thereporting processes are cumbersome, lengthy andtime consuming for states and civil society groupsalike. Some states simply do not file their periodicreports. For these and other reasons the treaty bodyprocesses are currently being reviewed. 9 Othermechanisms, such as the Universal Periodic Review,are seen as much more effective.This variability has implications for civil societygroups, which must strategise carefully about theuse of different or multiple mechanisms dependingon a number of factors, including the issue, andwhether the context is national or local. Multiplemechanisms might be used at the same time, overtime, or not at all, depending on the particular issuesand context.The human rights framework also has limitations.As a forum of governments the UN is necessarily infusedwith politics. Agreed human rights standards are,generally, the product of the best possible politicalconsensus. The result is often a minimum standard:the lowest common denominator of agreement. Theinternational human rights system is still evolving,with the UN’s mandate under constant scrutiny,and its utility questioned in the face of the modernhorrors of human rights violations. In addition,the framework itself is not static. The UN system isevolving with new processes such as the UniversalPeriodic Review providing new opportunities forscrutiny and leadership. While changes may be positive,these take time to implement, requiring civilsociety organisations (CSOs) to develop or enhancecapacity to engage and use them effectively whilealso trying to advance their issues and concerns.Yet the UN – and the Human Rights Council inparticular – remains the central global human rightsforum. Opportunities for recourse against states,as ways to hold them accountable for human rightsviolations, must be considered taking into accountboth strengths and limitations of the internationalhuman rights framework. And today there are moreprocesses for state accountability for human rightsviolations than have ever existed. These include:• Scrutiny by treaty bodies• Complaints to UN bodies under optional protocols8 Treaty body processes refers to the various mechanisms foroversight of implementation of treaties; for example, theCommittee for the Elimination of All Forms of DiscriminationAgainst Women oversees the CEDAW convention and the HumanRights Committee oversees the ICCPR.9 www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/HRTD/index.htm• Engagement with special procedures of the UN(for example, the Special Rapporteurs on Freedomof Opinion and Expression, Freedom ofAssociation and Human Rights Defenders)• State peer review in the Universal Periodic Reviewprocess• Formal complaints to regional mechanisms, forexample, the European Court of Human Rights,the Inter-American Court of Human Rights or theAfrican Court on Human and People’s Rights• Complaints to or investigations by ombudspersonsor national human rights institutions• Litigation (where national constitutions allowfor this or where international standards havebeen incorporated into domestic law).As human rights violations in relation to the internetincrease, 10 questions arise about accountability andremedies. The implications for internet-related humanrights violations cannot be considered withoutfirst looking at the internet-related forums in the UN.Human rights and the internet at the UNDespite the centrality of human rights to the creationof the UN, the World Summit on the InformationSociety (WSIS), 11 the WSIS Geneva Declaration ofPrinciples 12 and the Internet Governance Forum(IGF), 13 discussions about accountability for humanrights violations remain limited. Tensions haveemerged given the openness of the internet, whichhas been both a factor in its success and a point ofpolitical contention in debates about internet governance.14 Early adopters of the internet and informationand communications technologies (ICTs) reachedfor rights as a way to navigate these tensions byarticulating their freedom to use and create onlinespaces, to assert their rights to communicate andshare information, and to resist state or governmentinterference with rights to privacy. 15 The simple applicationof existing human rights standards was the10 La Rue, F. (2011) Report of the Special Rapporteur on thepromotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion andexpression, 26 April, A/HRC/17/27, p. 8-15.11 World Summit on the Information Society, United Nationsand International Telecommunication Union (2005) WSISOutcome Documents. www.itu.int/wsis/documents/doc_multi.asp?lang=en&id=2316|012 Article 19 of the UDHR is cited in paragraph 4 of the GenevaDeclaration of Principles (2003).13 www.intgovforum.org14 Cavalli, O. (2010) Openness: Protecting Internet Freedoms, inDrake, W. J. (ed) Internet Governance: Creating Opportunities forAll, United Nations, New York, p. 15.15 One of the more famous examples was John Perry Barlow’sDeclaration of the Independence of Cyberspace (February 1996).projects.eff.org/~barlow/Declaration-Final.html16 / Global Information Society Watch


starting point for civil society groups and, building onthe work of the People’s Communication Charter, theAssociation for Progressive Communications (APC)developed the first Internet Rights Charter in 2001-2002 (subsequently updated in 2006). 16 In 2010, theDynamic Coalition on Internet Rights and Principlesreleased a Charter of Internet Rights and Principlesand, in 2011, a more condensed set of ten principles. 17But further elaboration and clear explanation ofhow existing human rights standards apply seemednecessary. New charters and statements of principleshave emerged in regional bodies (such as theCouncil of Europe) and nationally (for example, inEstonia and Finland). 18 It is not yet clear if a new“Super Charter” will emerge or if a new model nationallaw will be developed.The internet-related aspects of freedom of expressionand freedom of association have receivedsome scrutiny in UN human rights mechanisms.The 2011 annual report of the Special Rapporteuron Freedom of Opinion and Expression 19 was thefirst time the Human Rights Council had considereda report specifically focused on human rights andthe internet. In 2010, the Human Rights Committeebegan a review of General Comment 34 (a key documentwhich the Committee uses to interpret Article19 of the ICCPR) and released its preliminary reportin May 2011. 20 The new general comment includesspecific reference to “electronic and internet-basedmodes of expression”. 21 This will strengthen themechanisms for recourse and reporting internetrelatedviolations of freedom of expression underArticle 19 by requiring states to include these intheir reports. The final revised comment was releasedin June 2011 and should be available for usein periodic reporting and other accountabilitymechanisms by early 2012.These various initiatives are welcome, but morework needs to be done to ensure the internet is across-cutting issue within all treaty bodies and humanrights mechanisms. The topic of human rights,the internet and accountability mechanisms remainscomplex for a variety of reasons, including:16 www.apc.org/en/node/567717 www.internetrightsandprinciples.org18 In relation to Estonia, see Woodard, C. (2003) Estonia, where beingwired is a human right, Christian Science Monitor, 1 July. In relationto Finland, see Ministry of Transport and Communications (2009)732/2009, Decree of the Ministry of Transport and Communicationson the minimum rate of a functional Internet access as a universalservice. www.finlex.fi/en/laki/kaannokset/2009/en2009073219 La Rue (2011) op. cit.20 Human Rights Committee (2011) Draft General Comment No. 34(upon completion of the first reading by the Human Rights Council,3 May, CCPR/C/GC/34/CRP.6.21 Ibid., para 11.• The complexity of the internet ecosystem (forexample, no single point of governance andnetwork operation, diverse standard-settingsystems, the role of internet intermediaries andplatform providers, and so on) and the variousconnection points of that ecosystem with thehuman rights ecosystem (or lack of connectionpoints).• While there may be a single international humanrights standard (for example, on freedomof expression) there is no single way and no singlecorrect way to give effect to that standard.• The diverse ways that human rights issues arise;for example, from privacy and surveillance, tothe ICT production line (conflict minerals, therights of workers), to content filtering, contentblocking and harassment, arrest and detentionof online human rights activists.• Human rights violations may involve multipleand intersecting rights across different treatiesand affect groups differently (such as women,sexual and gender minorities, people with disabilities,or racial and cultural minorities).• The application of human rights standards tothe fast-changing forms of connectivity (mobileis outpacing other forms of connectivity, forinstance). 22• The nebulous legal environments of many countries,including absence of the rule of law (orineffective legal systems), lack of legislationand constitutional protections or, conversely,over-regulation and extensive direct or indirectcensorship. 23• The diverse human rights situations in diversecountries, especially within and between developedand developing countries.• The actual and perceived limitations of humanrights remedies where the state violates humanrights or where non-state actors can act withimpunity.• The frequent need to obtain remedy or recoursequickly and the slow and cumbersome nature ofmost legal processes.22 See, for example, Southwood, R. (2011) Policy and regulatoryissues in the mobile internet, APC. www.apc.org/en/node/12433;Horner, L. (2011) A human rights approach to the mobile internet,APC. www.apc.org/en/node/12431; and Comninos, A. (2011)Twitter revolutions and cyber-crackdowns: User-generated contentand social networking in the Arab Spring and beyond, APC. www.apc.org/en/node/1243223 For example, in relation to Turkey, see Johnson, G. (2011)Censorship Threatens Turkey’s Accession to EU, unpublishedresearch paper.Thematic reports / 17


• The cost of litigation and the lack of access tothis remedy for many individuals and groups.• The geopolitics and how these play out in variousforums.• The multiple and sometimes conflicting mechanismsfor remedy within countries (for example, inrelation to content censorship, the intersectionsof defamation law, constitutional protectionswhere these exist, and criminal or civil legislationfor different types of material).What future for accountability mechanisms?Given these complexities it is perhaps no surprisethat those discussing internet rights charters andprinciples have steered away from creating newaccountability mechanisms – none appear to containnew complaints procedures. The question is,can the existing human rights framework provideadequate accountability mechanisms for internetrelatedhuman rights violations?The answer is unclear. A mixed picture emergesfrom current practice. Some CSOs have been activein the Universal Periodic Review process. 24 Regionalhuman rights mechanisms (such as the EuropeanCourt of Human Rights) are receiving increasingnumbers of complaints 25 together with strategicinterventions in litigation by CSOs. 26 But no complaintshave been received by the African SpecialRapporteur on Freedom of Expression in relationto freedom of expression and the internet. 27 Therehave been few complaints to national human rightsinstitutions, possibly because these have not yetadequately considered how to deal with internetrelatedcomplaints. 28 Civil litigation remains a primaryway to gain recourse in many countries. 29More research is needed to develop a betterglobal picture of the use of these various mechanismsand monitor change. For example, somemechanisms may be best suited to certain types ofcomplaints and offer different remedies. Capacitybuilding also may be needed to support civil societyadvocacy and strengthen the mechanisms to ensure24 Universal Periodic Review (UPR), Thailand: Joint CSO Submissionto the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (March2010), endorsed in whole or in part by 92 Thai organisations.25 For a summary of recent European Court of Human Rights cases inrelation to the internet and human rights see the European Courtof Human Rights “New Technologies Fact Sheet” (May 2011).26 For example, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and PrivacyInternational.27 Advocate Pansy Tsakula, personal communication to APC, 2011.28 See, for example, New Zealand Human Rights Commission (2010)Roundtable on Human Rights and the Internet. www.hrc.co.nz29 Kelly, S. and Cook, S. (eds) (2011) Freedom on the Net 2011: Aglobal assessment of the internet and digital media, FreedomHouse, Washington.judicial and other officers adequately understandinternet-related human rights issues.New avenues for global recourse and accountabilitymechanisms are emerging. The SpecialRapporteur on Freedom of Expression has emphasisedthe need for effective remedies, includingrights of appeal. 30 In addition, he noted that theinternet has created more avenues for use of traditionalremedies including the right of reply,publishing corrections and issuing public apologies.31 In one defamation case, for example, thesettlement agreement included the defendantapologising 100 times, every half hour over threedays, to more than 4,200 followers of his Twitteraccount. 32A rights-based approach to the internetand human rightsThe rights-based approach, or human rights approachas it is also known, was developed as apractical way to implement human rights standards.The rights-based approach was first articulated inthe UN in 2002, when the Office of the UN High Commissionerfor Human Rights convened an ad hocexpert committee on biotechnology. The committeenoted this was a new and emerging area of humanrights, with no specific human rights standards. Toovercome this difficulty the committee decided torely on a “rights-based approach” for its task, indicatingthat such an approach should: 33• Emphasise the participation of individuals indecision making• Introduce accountability for actions and decisions,which can allow individuals to complainabout decisions affecting them adversely• Seek non-discrimination of all individualsthrough the equal application of rights and obligationsto all individuals• Empower individuals by allowing them to userights as a leverage for action and legitimisetheir voice in decision making• Link decision making at every level to the agreedhuman rights norms at the international level asset out in the various human rights covenantsand treaties.30 La Rue (2011) op. cit., para 47.31 Ibid., para 27.32 www.thejournal.ie/malaysian-man-apologises-via-100-tweets-indefamation-settlement-147842-Jun201133 High Commissioner for Human Rights (2002) Report of theHigh Commissioner’s Expert Group on Human Rights andBiotechnology: Conclusions, OHCHR, Geneva, para 21.18 / Global Information Society Watch


The internet freedom debate has also reached theGerman foreign ministry. Despite widespread publicdebates about national internet governance andregulation within Germany, these debates have hada limited impact on German foreign policy outside ofEurope until relatively recently. Following this model,the first statement on internet freedom made by theGerman Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle in May2011 draws significantly more on international discourseson internet freedom than national debatesabout internet governance and regulation. 9Consequently, the challenge facing the German,French, Dutch and US foreign ministries is to create acoherent overall frame for internet governance thatconsiders both national and international debates.It is important to note that the US, Dutch, French andGerman foreign ministries have all created internalstructures that are explicitly tasked with pursuing internetfreedom policies which promote freedom ofexpression internationally. This should in the mediumand long term lead to noticeable development ofinternet foreign policy initiatives. However, as was previouslynoted, their ability to effect meaningful changeon government policy depends heavily on dynamicswithin the respective ministries and governments.Equally, there are signs that the internet freedomdebate is maturing, both in regard to the developmentof substantive policy initiatives on internet freedomand a greater coherence between national and internationalpolicy. A recent report by the Washington thinktank Center for New American Security, entitled “InternetFreedom: A Foreign Policy Imperative in the DigitalAge”, 10 proposes eight “principles” which should guideinternet freedom policies in the US, many of whichinvolve substantive policy initiatives for promotingfreedom of expression such as reforming export controls,creating economic incentives for corporations tosupport freedom of expression, and an attempt to createinternational norms.Internet human rights as foreign policyWhile the internet freedom debate continues, anotherstrand of the international debate on freedom of expressionon the internet is noticeably distinct and could betermed the “human rights-based approach”. This strategyhas specifically been pursued by a number of states,particularly Sweden and Brazil, as well as a variety ofinternational organisations and civil society actors. Thisdiscourse seeks to situate the debate on freedom of9 Westerwelle, G. (2011) Gastbeitrag von Guido Westerwelle: Die Freiheitim Netz, Frankfurter Rundschau, 27 May. www.fr-online.de/politik/meinung/die-freiheit-im-netz/-/1472602/8496970/-/index.html10 Fontaine, R. and Rogers, W. (2011) Internet Freedom: A ForeignPolicy Imperative in the Digital Age, Center for a New AmericanSecurity, Washington, D.C.expression on the internet within existing human rightslaw, looking for ways of applying existing norms anddeveloping “new rights” for the internet. 11 This strategyis typically pursued in co-operation with existing internationalinstitutions which promote human rights andfreedom of expression, including the United Nations (UN).A recent report by UN Special Rapporteur Frank LaRue entitled “Report on the promotion and protectionof the right to freedom of opinion and expression” isprimarily devoted to developing “general principles onthe right to freedom of opinion and expression and theinternet” 12 as well as a framework within which internetcontent can reasonably be restricted. This report wasbased on an extensive consultation process with governments,civil society, international corporations andexperts. Consequently, it represents probably the singlemost well-developed framework for applying humanrights norms to freedom of expression on the internet.The Swedish foreign ministry has been particularlyactively following this strategy at various different levels,most notably through consistent support of theSpecial Rapporteur. 13 Its long-standing support of humanrights frameworks on the internet gives the foreignministry a considerable level of international credibilitywhen it comes to free expression on the internet, asdoes its ability to organise statements on freedom ofexpression on the internet representing a broad internationalcoalition at the UN Human Rights Council. 14The pursuit of a human rights-based approachhas also led to the development of a wide varietyof declarations, principles and charters of rights onthe internet. These are typically developed withininternational organisations or multi-stakeholdercoalitions and attempt to develop human rightsframeworks which also apply to freedom of expressionon the internet. 15 The content of these documentsis extremely diverse and ranges from an elaborationof basic principles such as the Brazilian Principlesfor the Governance and Use of the Internet (2009),the Global Network Initiative Principles (2008) or theCouncil of Europe’s Internet Governance Principles(2011), to more extensive documents which seek toelaborate and apply rights such as the Association for11 Benedek, W., Kettemann, M. C. and Senges, M. (2008) TheHumanization of Internet Governance: A roadmap towards acomprehensive global (human) rights architecture for the Internet.www.worldcat.org/title/humanization-of-internet-governancea-roadmap-towards-a-comprehensive-global-human-rightsarchitecture-for-the-internet/oclc/619152167&referer=brief_results12 La Rue, F. (2011) Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotionand protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression,UN Human Rights Council, Geneva, p. 6.13 Bildt, C. (2011) Carl Bildt’s remarks on Digital Authoritarianism.www.sweden.gov.se/sb/d/14194/a/16924614 Knutsson, J. (n.d.) Freedom of Expression on the Internet CrossregionalStatement. www.sweden.gov.se/sb/d/14194/a/17056615 Benedek, Kettemann and Senges (2008) op. cit.Thematic reports / 21


the principles, norms and rules of what used to bejust the “internet”, with implications for freedom ofspeech and access to information. Today, our data isentrusted to vast transnational information empireswho act as gatekeepers and increasingly arbitersof what gets communicated, and what informationis accessible or not. Market considerations caneasily outweigh privacy and other rights concerns,and have already made largely irrelevant so-called“end-to-end” principles that once ensured networkneutrality. Even something as benign as a spam filtergone wild can end up unintentionally disruptingpolitical communications, as our research on Apple’sMobileMe filtering system 2 has shown.More serious, however, are the ways in whichthe private sector is being pressured, compelled,and even incentivised to “police the internet” bygovernments looking to download their growingcyberspace controls. For example, in Canada, theStephen Harper government is introducing an OmnibusCrime Bill 3 through parliament that wouldrequire ISPs and telecommunications companies toretain user data, process the data in ways that makeit amenable to law enforcement and intelligence,and then share that data with law enforcementrepresentatives – all without judicial oversight.Arrangements like these are not uncommon. Privacyresearcher Chris Soghoian has made a careerdocumenting 4 how private sector actors not only facilitateaccess to information for law enforcement,but actually derive revenues from doing so. He hasalso documented extensive variation among theseactors on the specifics of their data retention andprivacy policies. As a result, citizens using differentcommunications services can live in entirely differentuniverses of rights.The downloading of policing functions to theprivate sector – a phenomenon known as “intermediaryliability” – extends to the protection ofintellectual property. At a recent meeting 5 on theinternet economy organised by the Organisation forEconomic Co-operation and Development (OECD)in Paris, the final communiqué argued that ISPsshould take on more expansive roles chasing downcopyright violators using their networks. Civil societystakeholders refused to sign on to the finalcommuniqué largely in objection to this component.The OECD communiqué is but a reflection of a largertrend. In the United States (US), several ISPs andcarriers have already taken on this responsibility as2 opennet.net/apple-mobileme-brief3 www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/5808/1354 www.dubfire.net/#pubs5 www.oecd.org/document/59/0,3746,en_21571361_44315115_48173819_1_1_1_1,00.htmla voluntary arrangement. Across the industrialisedworld, it is considered standard practice for largecarriers to “clean their pipes” of malicious networksand traffic that is associated with file sharing orsimilar “undesirable” activities. The bottom line ofbusiness now demands it.Of course what is considered “intermediary liability”or a market imperative in Canada and the USdiffers quite fundamentally from Belarus, Iran, VietNam or China. In non-democratic countries, ISPs,telecom carriers and mobile operators are beingasked to police political content, track dissidents,identify protesters, send threatening messages overtheir networks, and disable certain protocols usedby adversaries – all as part of what my colleagueRafal Rohozinski 6 and I have dubbed “next-generationcontrols” 7 that we see emerging throughout thedeveloping world. During the Arab Spring, for example,the Egyptian government took the drastic stepof forcing ISPs to shutter the internet, and requiredthe country’s main mobile phone operator, Vodafone,to send mass text messages encouraging pro-regimesympathisers to take to the streets to counter theprotesters. This shift towards intermediary liabilityis perhaps one of the greatest practical changesaround internet governance in the last decade, particularlywhen considered in the context of growingcyberspace securitisation, of which it is a part.The securitisation of cyberspace – a transformationof the domain into a matter of national security– is perhaps the most important factor shaping theglobal communications ecosystem today. Facedwith the combined pressures above, and seeminglyincessant and embarrassing large-scale databreaches, policy makers around the world are racingto develop cyber security strategies. Some arefollowing the lead of the US, standing up withintheir armed forces dedicated cyber commands andlaying out formal doctrines for cyberspace. Othersare adopting less conventional means, includingproviding tacit support for pro-patriotic groups toengage in offensive cyber attacks in defence of theircountry, as seems to be the case in Iran, Syria, Russia,Burma and China.Cyberspace securitisation includes a politicaleconomy dimension: there is a growing cyber industrialcomplex 8 around security products and servicesthat both responds to, but also shapes the policy6 Rafal Rohozinski is a Senior Scholar at the Canada Centre forGlobal Security Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs,University of Toronto. He is a co-principal investigator of theOpenNet Initiative and Information Warfare Monitor projects.7 www.access-controlled.net/wp-content/PDFs/chapter-1.pdf8 www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/the-newcyber-military-industrial-complex/article195715924 / Global Information Society Watch


marketplace. Corporate giants of the Cold War, likeNorthrup Grunman, Boeing and General Dynamics,are repositioning themselves for lucrative defencecontracts, alongside an array of subterranean nichecompanies that offer computer network exploitationproducts and services. The global cyber armstrade 9 now includes malicious viruses, zero-dayexploits and massive botnets. An arms race in cyberspacehas been unleashed, with internationalimplications. For every US Cyber Command, thereis now a Syrian or Iranian cyber army equivalent.For every “Internet Freedom in a Suitcase”, 10 thereis justification for greater territorialisation of cyberspacecontrols.Cyberspace securitisation has also effectivelynormalised internet censorship. What was oncethe province of pariah states, like China and SaudiArabia, is now quickly becoming the norm amongliberal democracies and authoritarian regimesalike. Our OpenNet Initiative 11 project tracks internetfiltering and information controls in more than40 countries worldwide. But perhaps the best insighton the normalisation of internet restrictionscomes from data provided by Google. As part ofits Transparency Report, 12 Google now disclosesrequests from governments for user data or the removalof information on its websites and services,like YouTube. The data it released for the July-December 2010 period was perhaps most remarkablenot so much for confirming the usual suspects,but rather for the way it revealed that censorship isnow normal among democratic countries. The governmentsof Germany, the United Kingdom, Brazil,Italy and others make thousands of take-downrequests every year. 13 Here too, as a complementto these new developments, internet censorshipservices – produced primarily in the West 14 – havebecome a major commercial sector. When Canadianfiltering software companies who provideservices and products to Yemen, Kuwait and theUnited Arab Emirates are actually applauded 15 fortheir efforts by the Canadian government, we cansafely say that internet censorship has become aglobal norm.9 www.businessweek.com/magazine/cyber-weapons-the-new-armsrace-07212011.html10 www.nytimes.com/2011/06/12/world/12internet.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all11 map.opennet.net12 www.google.com/transparencyreport13 www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/web-censorshipmoves-to-democracies-the-west/2011/06/27/AGPi4xnH_blog.html14 opennet.net/west-censoring-east-the-use-western-technologiesmiddle-east-censors-2010-201115 opennet.net/blog/2011/07/canadian-government-lauds-uaeinternet-service-provider-pervasively-censors-political-rRohozinski and I have summed up these cumulativeforces as the coming “perfect storm” incyberspace. With threats seemingly multiplying,and mutually reinforcing tendencies like thoseabove growing, the prospects of extreme solutionsfinding widespread acceptance are high. Whether itis a proposal for an entirely new internet (as formerCIA director Michael Hayden recently argued) 16 orthe gradual metamorphosis of the existing opencommunications space into sovereign-controllednational internets, the securitisation wave is goingto have major and potentially damaging consequencesfor civic networks. What is to be done?First, as argued, there is an urgent need for thearticulation of a cyber security strategy for civicnetworks. For many who would characterise themselvesas part of global civil society, “security” isseen as anathema. In today’s world of exaggeratedthreats and self-serving hyperbole from the computersecurity industry, it is easy to dismiss securityas a myth to be demolished, rather than engaged.Securitisation is associated with the defence industry,Pentagon strategists, and the cyber securitymilitary industrial complex. Many might questionwhether employing the language of security onlyplays into this complex and the growing might ofcyberspace controls.But the vulnerabilities of cyberspace are veryreal, the underbelly of cyber crime is undeniablyhuge and growing, an arms race in cyberspace is escalating,and major governments are poised to setthe rules of the road 17 that may impose top-downsolutions that subvert the domain as we know it.Dismissing these as manufactured myths propagatedby the power elite will only marginalise civicnetworks from the conversations where policies arebeing forged.Civic networks need to be at the forefront of securitysolutions that preserve cyberspace as an opencommons of information, protect privacy by design,and shore up access to information and freedom ofspeech, while at the same time address the growingvulnerabilities that have produced a massive explosionin cyber crime and security breaches. How cansecurity and openness be reconciled? Aren’t the twocontradictory? Not at all. The answer lies in the internetitself. As my colleague Jonathan Zittrain hasforcefully argued, there are open and generativeself-healing and protective mechanisms that are apart of the everyday functioning of the internet itself.Zittrain’s views are backed up by a recent European16 www.nextgov.com/nextgov/ng_20110706_1137.php17 arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/05/france-attempts-tocivilize-the-internet-internet-fights-back.arsThematic reports / 25


security study which explained how the open anddecentralised organisation that is the very essenceof the ecosystem is essential to the success andresilience of the internet. 18 What is remarkable, inother words, is that the internet functions preciselyin the absence of centralised control and because ofthe thousands of distributed, loosely coordinatedmonitoring mechanisms. While these decentralisedmechanisms are not perfect and can occasionallyfail, they should be bolstered and enhanced as partof a coherent distributed security strategy. Bottomup,“grassroots” solutions to the internet’s securityproblems are consistent with principles of openness,avoid heavy-handed centralised controls, andprovide checks and balances against the concentrationof power in cyberspace. Part of a civil societysecurity strategy should be to find ways to facilitatecooperation among the existing, largely scatteredsecurity networks while simultaneously makingtheir actions more transparent and accountable.Part of the civic strategy must also include aserious engagement with law enforcement – anothertraditional anathema for civil society. Lawenforcement agencies are often stigmatised as theOrwellian bogeymen of internet freedom (and inplaces like Belarus, Uzbekistan and Burma, theyare), but the reality in the liberal democratic world ismore complex. Many law enforcement agencies areoverwhelmed with cyber crime, are understaffed,lack proper equipment and training, and have noincentives or structures to cooperate across borders.Instead of dealing with these shortcomingshead on, politicians are opting for new “Patriot Act”powers that dilute civil liberties, place burdens onthe private sector, and conjure up fears of a surveillancesociety. What law enforcement needs is notnew powers, it needs new resources, capabilities,proper training and equipment. But alongside thosenew resources should be the highest standards ofjudicial oversight and public accountability. Civicnetworks can articulate the differences betweenpowers and resources, and highlight the importanceof public accountability to liberal democracyas an example to the rest of the world without alienatingwhat could be an important natural ally.The same basic premise of oversight and accountabilitymust extend to the private sector aswell. Civic networks are inherently transnationaland are because of this best equipped to monitorglobe-spanning corporations who own andoperate cyberspace. Persistent public pressure,backed up by credible evidence-based research andcampaigns – like the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s(EFF) privacy scorecard 19 – are the best meansto ensure the private sector complies with humanrights standards worldwide. Going further, however,civic networks should make the case that governmentpressures to police the internet impose costlyburdens on businesses that should be concededonly with the greatest reservations and proper oversight.Such self-interest-based arguments will havemuch greater traction with the private sector thaneither pleas for magnanimity or pressures of namingand shaming ever will.Lastly, civic networks need to be players in therule-making forums where cyberspace rules of theroad are implemented. This is not an easy task.There is no one single forum of cyberspace governance;instead, governance is diffuse and distributedacross multiple forums, meetings and standard-settingbodies at local, national, regional and globallevels. The idea of civil society participation in thesecentres of cyberspace governance varies widely,and is alien to some. Civic networks will need tomonitor all of these centres of governance, openthe doors to participation in those venues that arenow closed shops, and make sure that “multi-stakeholderparticipation” is not just something paid lipservice to by politicians, but something meaningfullyexercised by networks of citizens. The civilsociety rejection of the OECD final communiqué is amodel in this regard.The idea of security is most closely associatedwith the tradition of realpolitik, and the denizens ofthe national security apparatus. Global civil society,on the other hand, is most often associated with respectfor rights, democracy, diversity and openness.As the securitisation of cyberspace builds momentum,it may be tempting for civic networks to eitherconcede the terms of the security debate to thenational security community, or resist it altogether.That would be a mistake. There is a long-standingand very powerful tradition of liberal security, associatedwith distributed checks and balances,respect for individual rights, and decentralisation.What is urgently required now is the translationof that tradition to the domain of cyberspace, andthe practical application of its principles by citizensworldwide. Otherwise, the great gains in networkingthat have produced an explosion in global civilsociety over the last decades could gradually evaporate.n18 www.lightbluetouchpaper.org/2011/04/12/resilience-of-theinternet-interconnection-ecosystem19 www.eff.org/pages/when-government-comes-knocking-who-hasyour-back26 / Global Information Society Watch


Internet intermediaries: The new cyber police?Joe McNameeEuropean Digital Rightswww.edri.orgIntroductionThe purpose of this report is to look at the increasingtrend for internet intermediaries to be used topolice and enforce the law on the internet and evento mete out punishments. As well as underminingthe fundamental rights of freedom of communication,privacy and right to a fair trial, this approach isserving to create borders in the online world, underminingthe very openness that gives the internet itsvalue for democracy and, indeed, for the economy.This issue is becoming increasingly importantdue to four different trends, which are developingsimultaneously and synergetically. These are:• The increased technical possibilities for onlinesurveillance by internet access providers. Theuse of some of these possibilities is required bylegal obligations such as the 2004 Communicationsand Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) 1 in theUnited States (US) and the European Union’s(EU) Data Retention Directive. 2• The increased business interest that larger accessproviders see in blocking or limiting accessto certain online content, as illustrated by recentdiscussions in both the US and Europe on“net neutrality”.• A concerted push at an intergovernmental levelto legitimise and spread privatised enforcementmeasures. 3• Mergers of access providers and media companies,and distribution agreements betweencontent providers and intermediaries wherethe contract includes obligations for the intermediaryto undertake policing/punishmentmeasures. 41 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communications_Assistance_for_Law_Enforcement_Act2 eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2006:105:0054:0063:EN:PDF3 See, for example, article 5.3 of the Anti-Counterfeiting TradeAgreement at www.ustr.gov/webfm_send/23794 www.bof.nl/2011/01/04/vrije-internettoegang-ook-in-nederlandonder-vuurLimitations of intermediary liabilityThe need for an open internet was recognised byboth the US and the EU at the end of the 1990s.The US adopted the Digital Millennium CopyrightAct (DMCA) in 1998, offering significant “safe harbours”to internet intermediaries for unauthorisedcontent on their networks, while the EU adoptedthe E-Commerce Directive in 2000, which took ahorizontal approach to safe harbours for all formsof illegal and unauthorised content. The publicpolicy objectives on both sides of the Atlantic wereclear, namely to maintain an open internet. This wasseen as necessary to allow the economy to take fulladvantage of the internet and, as a collateral benefit,freedom of expression and almost unrestrictedaccess to information. The benefits of such anapproach can be seen in the economy 5 and in the effectof the internet in opening closed societies rightaround the world.Nonetheless, despite this comparatively robustlegal framework, weaknesses appeared almostfrom the start. This occurred particularly in Europe,where the wording of the E-Commerce Directive istoo vague (due to the political compromises thatwere made during the adoption process) to allowintermediaries to feel completely secure, resultingin significant infringements of the right to communication.In 2004, a study by the Dutch NGO Bitsof Freedom tested twelve hosting providers, nineof which deleted innocent material as a result ofan obviously bogus “notice” sent from a Hotmailaccount set up solely for that purpose. This experiencewas duplicated by a team of United Kingdom(UK) academics, 6 also in 2004 (although it shouldbe pointed out that this project did find the DMCA’sprocess comparatively robust), and Dutch firmICTRecht in 2009. Unilateral actions by internetproviders have now effectively shifted their coreactivities from hosting providers to internet accessproviders, who have started “blocking” content,very often outside the rule of law. This started inthe UK in 2004, supported by the Internet WatchFoundation, and spread to Denmark, Sweden andFinland in the ensuing years, as well as into the5 eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2006:105:0054:0063:EN:PDF6 pcmlp.socleg.ox.ac.uk/sites/pcmlp.socleg.ox.ac.uk/files/liberty.pdfThematic reports / 27


mobile environment, thanks to an agreement brokeredby the European Commission. 7 It is worthnoting the heavy overlap between parts of the internetaccess market most opposed to net neutralityand the parts most favourable to voluntary internetblocking.Operators that have been at the forefront of“voluntary” internet blocking – such as BritishTelecom, Telenor, Virgin and the mobile industryin general – have also been the loudest voices opposedto net neutrality. In January 2011, BritishTelecom announced plans to charge certain onlinevideo providers more for prioritised traffic, 8 as didTelenor, 9 while Virgin Media announced plans tolaunch a deep packet inspection of the traffic of40% of its customers in 2010. 10 Similarly, there havebeen multiple examples of mobile industry effortsseeking to exploit and reinforce their control overaccess to their clients, such as the blocking of voiceover internet protocol (VoIP) applications. 11 This createsa situation where these providers are eager toaccept demands from regulators for so-called “selfregulatory”blocking measures as, in the long term,it will be difficult for regulators to sustainably arguethat access providers should be voluntarily interferingin traffic for public policy reasons but not forbusiness reasons.The beginning of large-scale privatisedenforcementAt the moment there appears to be a “tipping point”,with governments apparently feeling that the opennessthat gives the internet its economic value isnow so unbreakable that unfettered meddling byintermediaries for the protection of (mainly) intellectualproperty can be actively promoted. 12 Theyare not only promoting this approach internally, andnot only in countries with strong democratic traditions,but across the globe, potentially blocking offmarkets and legitimising privatised surveillanceand control on communication in totalitarian7 ec.europa.eu/information_society/newsroom/cf/itemlongdetail.cfm?item_id=31538 www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/01/bt-rejects-accusations-of-netneutrality-breach-sort-of9 www.dn.no/forsiden/etterBors/article2067200.ece10 technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/the_web/article6989510.ece11 www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1ce4e1c8-1fd7-11de-a1df-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1STK17d9n12 The draft PROTECT IP Act in the US was accused of allowing“the government to break the Internet addressing system”and “breaking the Internet’s infrastructure” by a group of 108professors in a recent public letter on this proposed legislation.blogs.law.stanford.edu/newsfeed/files/2011/07/PROTECT-IPletter-final.pdfand highly controlled regimes. As a result, therehas been a veritable rash of international-levelmeasures which seek to encourage or coerce intermediaries– many with their own long-term vestedinterests in this – to filter, block and punish allegedonline infringements.In November 2010, the negotiating partiespublished the final text of the Anti-CounterfeitingTrade Agreement (ACTA). Although significantlyimproved from earlier versions, the section of theagreement on intellectual property enforcementcircuitously talks about maintaining an internetservice provider (ISP) liability regime which preserves“the legitimate interests of rights holders”and obliges parties to “endeavor to promote cooperativeefforts within the business community toeffectively address trademark and copyright or relatedrights infringement” 13 – a footnote in a leakeddraft explaining that “an example of such a policyis providing for the termination in appropriate circumstancesof subscriptions and accounts in theservice provider’s system or network of repeat [alleged,presumably] infringers.”In February 2011, the World Intellectual PropertyOrganization (WIPO) tried and failed 14 to launch adiscussion 15 on internet intermediary liability fortrademark infringements. This was followed in June2011 by a side-event at a WIPO event in Geneva onthe “role and responsibility of internet intermediariesin the field of copyright” which, interestingly,included no internet intermediaries at all! WIPOhas also recently commissioned and published twoindependent studies on intermediary liability. 16 Ithas successfully tabled a workshop proposal forthe Internet Governance Forum in Nairobi in September2011 to discuss “thought-provoking ideas”such as in ACTA, the US Combating Online Infringementsand Counterfeits Act (COICA) (which requires“blocking” by internet intermediaries) and the EUIntellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive(whose use for mandatory internet blocking andsurveillance is currently being assessed by the EuropeanCourt of Justice). 17In June 2011, the Organisation for EconomicCo-operation and Development (OECD) adoptedits Communiqué on Principles for Internet PolicyMaking. 18 Under the heading “limit internet intermediaryliability” it calls for states to undertakemulti-stakeholder processes to “identify the13 www.ustr.gov/webfm_send/237914 www.ccianet.org/index.asp%3Fsid=5%26artid=213%26evtflg=False15 www.wipo.int/edocs/mdocs/sct/en/sct_25/sct_25_3.pdf16 www.wipo.int/copyright/en/internet_intermediaries/index.html17 European Court of Justice Case C70/1018 www.oecd.org/dataoecd/40/21/48289796.pdf28 / Global Information Society Watch


imposition of unreasonable jurisdiction claims overparts or all of the IP address allocation and domainname systems creates dangers for the integrity ofthe global internet. The outsourcing of policing ofthe internet and imposition of punishments by internetintermediaries contradicts basic democraticvalues and our democratic societies’ view of the ruleof law. The outsourcing of these activities to largecorporations who have a publicly stated vestedinterest in the development and imposition of anon-neutral internet creates an online environmentwhich is diametrically opposed to the openness ofthe internet. This openness gives us the democratic– and the economic – value of the internet and istoo important for governments to simply take forgranted and to experiment with as if it were insignificant.Our social interaction is increasingly onlineand freedoms which were previously unquestionedare now increasingly at the whim of private companies:our freedom of expression, our freedom ofassembly, our privacy and our right to due processand presumption of innocence.Next steps• Activists should demand that the spirit and theletter of constitutional 28 and human rights 29 berespected• The dangers of pushing world regions or individualcountries into developing “splinternets” toavoid EU/US jurisdiction should be recognised.• Positive positions of international organisationsshould be publicised as much as possible. 30• Positive political statements on the need tokeep the internet open should be publicisedand promoted. 31• The contradictions between calls for an openinternet in certain countries and support for aprivately regulated and closed internet domesticallyshould be highlighted.• More attention should be given to the economicdamage of moving from an innovative, competitiveand open internet to a closed non-neutral internet. n28 Such as the US First Amendment.29 Such as Articles 8 and 10 of the European Convention on HumanRights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil andPolitical Rights.30 www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/17session/A.HRC.17.27_en.pdf31 www.physorg.com/news/2011-02-clinton-renews-internet-access.html30 / Global Information Society Watch


E-revolutions and cyber crackdowns: User-generatedcontent and social networking in protestsin MENA and beyondAlex ComninosDoctoral candidate, Department of Geography, JustusLiebig University Giessenwww.comninos.org, www.uni-giessen.de/cms/faculties/f07/07/geography/depart-geoIntroductionThe recent protests and uprisings in Tunisia andEgypt have both been called “Twitter revolutions”and “Facebook revolutions” due to the widespreaduse of user-generated content (UGC) disseminatedover social networks like Facebook and Twitter byprotesters, activists and supporters of the protests,as well as by those following the events around theglobe. This report investigates the usage and roleof UGC and social networking websites in the recentprotests and uprisings in the Middle East and NorthAfrica (MENA), as well as other cases outside of theregion.In addition to being effective tools for communicationand coordination by protesters, UGC andsocial networking have also been used by governmentsin response to these protests, often to crackdown on protesters. Content and social networkingplatforms are areas of contestation between protestersand governments not necessarily balancedin favour of protesters.UGC refers to internet content (text, images, videosand sound clips) that is created and uploadedto the internet by users, usually for no explicit financialgain, but rather for enjoyment or passion.UGC is created usually by amateurs, rather thanprofessionals. It includes blogs, video clips, audioclips (podcasts), as well as comments on internetforums or “status updates” on social networks likeFacebook or micro-blogging platforms like Twitter.In MENA, UGC created on mobile phones enabledprotesters or witnesses to report on events liveand to communicate with others and spread theirmessage. Social networks like Facebook and themicro-blogging platform Twitter were used to disseminatethis content.Twitter and Facebook revolutions?Can the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, as well asothers in the MENA region, be called Twitter or Facebookrevolutions? Was social networking unique tothese protests? Has similar usage been seen beforeelsewhere? Was UGC, created on mobile phonesand distributed over platforms like Facebook orTwitter, among the causes of these uprisings?The usage of mobile phones, social networkingwebsites and UGC in protests in MENA is not unprecedented.Twitter was used in protests in Moldovaand Iran in 2009 and both cases were referred toby some as Twitter revolutions. 1 The popular oustingof President Joseph Estrada in the Philippinesin 2001 was referred to as an “SMS revolution”due to the use of text messages to mobilise protests.It was described as “arguably the world’s first‘e‐revolution’ – a change of government broughtabout by new forms of ICTs.” 2Many feel that the role of UGC and social networkingshould not be overstated, 3 that thesewere not the cause of protests and uprisings in anyMENA country. The causes involve a combinationof decades of repression, political and economicmarginalisation, the long-term structural decay ofeffectiveness and legitimacy in some state institutions,and soaring food prices, along with a desireby citizens for political representation and participationand the recognition of their human rights. Onthe ground, popular sentiments, grassroots organisingand allegiance of the state security forces areimportant factors.1 The term was applied by Evgeny Morozov to the Moldovan protestsin 2009. See Morozov, E. (2009) Moldova’s Twitter Revolution, NetEffect, 7 April. neteffect.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/04/07/moldovas_twitter_revolution; see also his other posts, Moreanalysis of Twitter’s role in Moldova, Net Effect, 7 April. neteffect.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/04/07/more_analysis_of_twitters_role_in_moldova and Moldova’s Twitter revolution isNOT a myth, Net Effect, 10 April. neteffect.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/04/10/moldovas_twitter_revolution_is_not_a_mythMorozov has since criticised the Western media’s haste to applythe term to Iran and protests and uprisings in MENA, as well asadmitting that he might have hastily applied the term to Moldova.He writes about it in his 2011 book, The Net Delusion: The DarkSide of Internet Freedom, Public Affairs, New York.2 Cout, J. (2001) People Power II in the Philippines: The FirstE-Revolution?, Overseas Development Institute. www.odi.org.uk/resources/details.asp?id=3147&title=people-power-ii-philippinesfirst-e-revolution3 The debate between techno-sceptics and techno-idealists withregards to the role of ICTs in Tunisia and Egypt is well outlinedin Vargas, J. A. (2011) Egypt, the Age of Disruption and the “Me”in Media, The Huffington Post, 7 February. www.huffingtonpost.com/jose-antonio-vargas/egypt-age-of-disruption-me-inmedia_b_819481.html;see also Kravets, D. (2011) What’s fuelingMideast protests? It’s more than Twitter, Wired Magazine,28 January. www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2011-01/28/middleeast-protests-twitter.Thematic reports / 31


Table 1.ICT access in MENACountry Mobilecellularsubscriptionsper 100inhabitantsFixed internetsubscriptionsper 100inhabitantsEstimatedinternet usersper 100inhabitantsFixedbroadbandsubscriptions per100 inhabitantsFacebookusersFacebookusers per 100inhabitantsAlgeria 93.8 … 13.5 2.3 1,138,240 3.00Azerbaijan 87.8 5.9 27.4 1.1 184,660 2.00Bahrain 177.1 10.0 53.0 9.6 232,960 29.00Egypt 66.7 2.8 24.3 1.3 5,651,080 7.00Iran 70.8 … 11.1 0.5 no data no data*Iraq 64.1 … 1.1 0.1 254,840 less than 1Israel 125.8 … 63.1 25.8 308,760 40.00Jordan 95.2 3.9 26.0 3.2 954,580 15.00Kuwait 129.9 … 36.9 1.5 525,000 17.00Lebanon 56.6 … 23.7 5.3 969,240 23.00Libya 148.5 12.0 5.5 1.0 191,120 3.00Mali 34.2 0.2 1.9 0.0 44,360 less than 1Mauritania 66.3 … 2.3 0.3 33,700 1.00Morocco 79.1 1.5 41.3 1.5 2,158,680 7.00Oman 139.5 2.8 51.5 1.4 156,200 5.00Palestine 28.6 … 32.2 5.0 no data no dataQatar 175.4 10.4 40.0 10.4 405,100 24.00Saudi Arabia 174.4 7.3 38.0 5.2 2,489,320 9.00Sudan 36.3 … … 0.4 no data no data*Syria 45.6 3.6 20.4 0.2 no data no data*Tunisia 95.4 4.0 34.1 3.6 1,708,700 16.00UAE 232.1 30.5 75.0 15.0 1,689,300 36.00Yemen 35.3 1.9 10.0 0.2 107,520 less than 1*Denotes lack of data due to the US comprehensive economic embargo on Iran, Sudan and Syria. There is no official Facebook data for thesecountries due to the trade embargo – technically they are not supposed to be offered Facebook, which is a US product.Sources: International Telecommunication Union 2009 (www.itu.int/ITU-D/ICTEYE/Indicators/Indicators.aspx)and Social Map (geographics.cz/socialMap, statistics are from May 2011)ICT access in MENACalling the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt Twitteror Facebook revolutions overlooks information andcommunications technology (ICT) access in thesecountries. In 2009 in Tunisia and Egypt there wereonly 34.1 and 24.3 internet users per 100 inhabitantsrespectively. In Egypt only 7% of inhabitantsare Facebook users, while 16% are Facebook usersin Tunisia. From the ICT access and usage figureslisted in Table 1, there is little correlation betweenICTs and the level of unrest.Throughout MENA social networking users generallycomprise a minority of the population. Claimsthat UGC speaks for the demonstrators must be takencritically. The usage of the internet in developingcountries is often disproportionately urban. Mediaattention is generally drawn to urban protests, forexample, Cairo, Alexandria, Tunis, Tripoli and Benghazi.Use of UGC and social media also often reflectsincome and literacy biases.Nonetheless, many protesters used UGC toexpress popular demands. Linkages were demonstratedbetween the mobilisation of demonstratorsby social media as well as offline (on-the-ground)mobilisation. 4UGC and social networking in MENAThe terms “Twitter revolution” or “Facebook revolution”may not be accurate. The assertions that “therevolution will be tweeted” and “the revolution willbe streamed” have more credence in the cases ofEgypt, Tunisia, Syria, Bahrain and Libya. Many usedmobile phones to organise demonstrations and tospread their messages. UGC and social networkingplatforms play an important role in protests andpolitical transitions, but not necessarily a decisiveone.4 Meier, P. (2011) Civil Resistance Tactics Used in Egypt’s Revolution#Jan25, iRevolution, 27 February. irevolution.net/2011/02/27/tactics-egypt-revolution-jan2532 / Global Information Society Watch


Before investigating the usage of UGC, the contextof its use in MENA will be examined by lookingat internet freedom in the region.Internet freedom in MENAIn November 2005, Reporters Without Borders (RSF)listed fifteen “enemies of the internet”, four of whichwere in MENA: Libya, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Tunisia.In 2010, RSF listed twelve enemies of the internet,including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria and Tunisia. InMarch 2011, only Saudi Arabia and Syria were “enemiesof the internet”, although Bahrain, Belarus,Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates(UAE) were listed as “under surveillance”. Saudi Arabia,Syria and Egypt had netizens in prison. 5Internet filtering is common in MENA. The Open-Net Initiative reports that Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, Oman,Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen, Sudan and Tunisiaused Western technologies to block internet content,“such as websites that provide sceptical views of Islam,secular and atheist discourse, sex, GLBT [gay,lesbian, bisexual and transgender content], datingservices, and proxy and anonymity tools.” 6According to a 2007 study of Arab media, “theimpact of censorship across the region is mixed.”Despite persistent censorship, “governments havenot been able to silence dissent on the internet.” 7The use of UGC and social networkingin protest in MENAMohammed Bouazizi was a poverty-stricken Tunisianvegetable trader from the small town of SidiBouzid who had been repeatedly harassed by thepolice, who often asked him for bribes and confiscatedhis wares. In the last encounter they beathim. After being denied an appointment with a localgovernment official to discuss this harassment, hedoused himself with fuel and set himself alight in apublic square. He died in hospital weeks later.News of Bouazizi inspired protests in Sidi Bouzid,elsewhere in Tunisia, and throughout MENA.Initially television and print media were slow to pick5 Reporters Without Borders (2005) The 15 enemies of the Internetand other countries to watch, Reporters without Borders,17 November. en.rsf.org/the-15-enemies-of-the-internetand-17-11-2005,15613.html;Reporters without Borders (2010) Web2.0 vs Control 2.0, Reporters Without Borders, 12 March. en.rsf.org/IMG/pdf/Internet_enemies.pdf; Reporters Without Borders(2011) Internet Enemies, Reporters without Borders. march12.rsf.org/i/Internet_Enemies.pdf6 Noman, H. and York, J. C. (2011) West Censoring East: The Use ofWestern Technologies by Middle East Censors, 2010-2011, OpenNetInitative. opennet.net/west-censoring-east-the-use-westerntechnologies-middle-east-censors-2010-20117 Hofheinz, A. (2007) Arab Internet Use: Popular Trends and PublicImpact, in Sklar, N. (ed) Arab Media and Political Renewal:Community, Legitimacy and Public Life, IB Tauris, New York, p. 60.up on the story. Often state media in MENA avoidedreporting on it. Some internet content (like YouTube)was blocked at the time by the Tunisian internet filter.Facebook, which was not blocked at the time,became an important platform for spreading newsof Bouazizi and the Sidi Bouzid revolt. Twitter wasalso instrumental in covering the protests.Around the globe, many used Twitter andFacebook as a first port of call for information aboutTunisia. UGC about events in Tunisia served to inspirepeople throughout the region. Egyptian activist GigiIbrahim, upon witnessing the downfall of TunisianPresident Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, tweeted: “TheTunisian revolution is being twitterised...history isbeing written by the people #sidibouzid #Tunisia.” 8In Egypt, Facebook and Twitter were used to announceand publicise the planned protests on 25January 2011. Facebook groups such as We are all KhaledSaid 9 and the 6 th of April Youth Movement 10 calledfor demonstrations. The plans and message of theprotest were also disseminated through conventionalmeans like word of mouth, photocopies and emailingof a PDF file explaining the plans for the protests. 11Facebook was used to announce protests inother countries in the MENA region. Many protestsin 2011 were supported by Facebook pages,events and groups. UGC communicated the messagesof protesters nationally, regionally andglobally, and provided live coverage, news andopinions. On Twitter, protests (both online and offline)had their own Twitter hashtags. The Twitterhashtags #SidiBouzid, #Jan25, #Jan30, #Feb14,#Feb17, #Mar11/#ksa/#tal3mrak, 12 #Yemen/#Yamen,8 Gigi Ibrahim (@Gsquare86) 17:28:11 Jan 14 2011 twitter.com/gsquare86. Tweet curated in Nunns, A. and Idle, N. (2011) Tweetsfrom Tahrir, OR Books, New York.9 See Anonymous, ديعس دلاخ انلك“‏ ‬ - We are all Khaled Saeed”,www.facebook.com/ElShaheeed as well as “We are all KhaledSaid: Working against torture and inhuman treatment of Egyptiansin their own country. Standing up against corruption in Egypt”,www.elshaheeed.co.uk. The pages were created in response to themurder of Khaled Said. Said was beaten to death by police afterbeing caught in an internet café attempting to upload footage ofEgyptian police selling drugs.‏,”.ليربإ 6 بابش ةكرح - Movement 10 See “6th of April Youthwww.facebook.com/shabab6april11 See a copy in English and Arabic in Madrigal, A. (2011) EgyptianActivists’ Action Plan: Translated, The Atlantic, 27 January.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/01/egyptian-activistsaction-plan-translated/70388.Interestingly, the document statednot to use Twitter, Facebook or other websites for dissemination as“[t]hey are all monitored by the Ministry of the Interior.”12 Tal3mrak means literally “May God prolong your life” and isused to address the wealthy and powerful respectfully in theGulf region. It is also used sarcastically to make fun of rich andpowerful figures and has been used to make fun of the king ofSaudi Arabia around the Arab world. See Shibab-Eldin, A. (2011)#Tal3mrak: A Hashtag Challenges Saudi Arabian King, TheHuffington Post, 31 August. www.huffingtonpost.com/ahmedshihabeldin/tal3mrak-a-hashtag-challe_b_941231.htmlThematic reports / 33


#Kuwait, and #Syria were used for protest in Tunisia,Egypt, Sudan, Bahrain, Libya, Saudi Arabia,Yemen, Kuwait and Syria respectively.UGC acted as a conduit for news around unfoldingevents not covered by or outside the reach of theconventional media. Micro-blogging and picture andvideo sharing over mobile phones became avenues todisseminate and consume news about protests. Thenexus of UGC and mobile phones is an important toolfor protesters to inform the world of their demands,the events surrounding the actual protests, and thenature of police, military and civilian responses. UGCoften offers views and perspectives that state-run andconventional media do not offer, as well as images thatother media cannot record. In Syria, where access byinternational journalists has been almost completelyrestricted, mobile phone videos have become one ofthe few ways to report on protests.State responses to UGCand social networkingMany have commented on the power of social mediain the hands of protesters and activists. Whatof state responses to UGC and social networkingduring the protests? How have UGC and social networkingwebsites been used by incumbent regimesin response to protests?Goliath and the mouse? Twitter revolutions andcyber crackdownsAn online campaign by the International Society forHuman Rights (ISHR) depicts challenged incumbentleaders gripped by fear of the revolutionarypotential of ICTs. The presidents of Iran, Zimbabwe,Venezuela and Cuba, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi ofLibya and North Korea’s Kim Jong-il, are portrayedcowering in near paralytic fear of a computer mouse,jumping on furniture and hanging from chandeliersand curtains in an attempt to flee. 13 The real balanceof power in the electronic terrain, however, is notnecessarily in favour of the mouse. The campaigncould have been balanced with other images: bootscrushing mice, keyboards and mobile phones afterbeing identified as threats for spreading content. Orperhaps the regime’s technicians unplugging themice, terminating lines of communication.UGC and the infrastructures through which itflows are areas of contestation between protestersand pro-incumbent groups, not necessarily balancedin favour of those creating content for protest.13 The campaign cannot be found anymore on the ISHR website (www.ishr.org), but it can be found in many other places online, for exampleat Duncan (no surname given) (2010) ISHR Scared Dictators and TheMouse, The Inspiration Room, 24 September. theinspirationroom.com/daily/2010/ishr-scared-dictators-and-the-mouseSome governments used internet filters to blockcontent during the protests. In Tunisia, Egypt, Libya,Syria and allegedly Gaza there were state crackdownson UGC and the internet in general throughinternet blackouts and slowdowns. 14The Mubarak regime virtually shut down allEgyptian access to the internet from midnight 27/28January until 2 February 10:30 GMT. 15 In Libya, theinternet was blocked to most Libyans from the beginningsof the protests in areas under Gaddafi control. 16Hours after the internet had gone back up, Egyptiansecurity forces arrested, detained and harassedbloggers and Facebook and Twitter users who hadshared content or publicised and attended events.In Tunisia, the Ben Ali regime stole usernamesand passwords for Facebook, Twitter and online emailaccounts by injecting Java scripts into the content ofthese pages before they were sent to end-users.Twitter and Facebook have been used by securityand intelligence agencies to identify and locate activistsand protesters. In North Sudan, where Facebook groupsannounced protests against the regime, the governmentactively monitored social networking websites.When protests did happen, many potential demonstratorsfound police waiting for them and were arrested. 17In Azerbaijan, influenced by events in Egypt, anumber of Facebook pages and groups called forprotests in early 2011. An opposition activist wasarrested and charged with possession of narcotics.Many believe he was detained for comments hemade on Facebook calling for Egypt-style protests. 18Amnesty International called the charges a “pretextto punish Jabbar Savalan for his political activismand to discourage other youth activists from exercisingthe right to freedom of expression.” 1914 Global Voices (2011) Syria: Reports of Internet Blackout, GlobalVoices, 3 June. globalvoicesonline.org/2011/06/03/syria-reportsof-internet-blackout;Occupied Palestine (2011) Latest Updateson #Gaza | #GazaBlackOut”, Occupied Palestine, 10 August.occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/latest-update-ongaza-gazablackout.The Gaza case may have been an accident,or an attempt to stop a planned terror attack, but it still mayrepresent a crackdown on the internet during protests and unrest.15 Internet access during the Egyptian revolution can be graphedon Google Transparency (transparency.google.com); see is.gd/VwQM29. The web was not entirely blocked: the ISP Nour, whichran the stock exchange, was functional. The web more correctlyslowed to a microscopic trickle into Egypt.16 See Google Transparency for Libya from mid-February on at is.gd/XKhikC and is.gd/jTwIIS17 Meier, P. (2011) Civil Resistance: Early Lessons Learnedfrom Sudan’s #Jan30, iRevolution, 31 January. irevolution.net/2011/01/31/civil-resistance-sudans-jan30; Babington, D.(2011) Sudan’s cyber-defenders take on Facebook protesters,Reuters, 30 March. reuters.com/article/2011/03/30/us-sudaninternet-feature-idUSTRE72T54W20110330.18 Krikorian, O. (2011) Azerbaijan: Blowing Up in Their Facebook,Global Voices Advocacy, 10 March. advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org/2011/03/10/azerbaijan-blowing-up-in-their-facebook/.19 Cited in Ibid.34 / Global Information Society Watch


Crackdowns on internet communications duringprotests were not only witnessed in MENA in2011, but also in the United States (US) and UnitedKingdom (UK). In response to protests in the UK,the government has asked for cooperation fromResearch in Motion (RIM) – the creators of theBlackberry smartphone – to provide it with encryptionkeys in order to be able to eavesdrop on theBlackberry Messenger service (BBM). The UK governmenthas summoned Twitter, Facebook and RIMto a meeting discussing ways to restrict the use ofsocial media during civil unrest. 20 The San FranciscoBay Area Rapid Transit (BART) authority (a stateownedtransport corporation) shut down mobilephone access at subway stations as a response toplanned protests against the killing of a homelessman by the BART Police. 21Problems presented by the use of UGCin struggles for democracy and human rightsSocial media and surveillanceAs WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange recently noted, theinternet is not only a force for openness and transparency,“it is also the greatest spying machine theworld has ever seen.” 22 Social networking platformsoften link an online identity to a real name, hometown, occupation, interests, pictures, and networkof friends – providing many opportunities forsurveillance.Information on social networks may potentiallybe mined by third-party applications and advertisers.Facebook’s API, 23 which is a language or setof commands for retrieving information from Facebook,is openly accessible by anyone turning theiraccount into a developer account. The API makes iteasy to obtain and analyse such information. 2420 Somaiya, R. (2011) In Britain, a Meeting on Limiting Social Media,The New York Times, 25 August. www.nytimes.com/2011/08/26/world/europe/26social.html?_r=1&src=tp21 For an overview of the operation in protest against BART see: TheWar and Peace Report (news show), 16 August 2011, DemocracyNow! www.democracynow.org/2011/8/16/stream and Vince inthe Bay, Disorderly Conduct - Operation BART Recap (podcast), 17August 2011, www.blogtalkradio.com/vinceinthebay/2011/08/17/disorderly-conduct--operation-bart-recap-122 The Hindu (2011) World’s greatest spying machine, The Hindu,6 April. www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/article1602746.ece.23 API originally stood for Advanced Programming Interface, but isnow more commonly known as Application Programming Interface.An API is “a particular set of rules and specifications that softwareprograms can follow to communicate with each other. It serves asan interface between different software programs and facilitatestheir interaction, similar to the way the user interface facilitatesinteraction between humans and computers.” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Application_programming_interface24 Moderated, of course, by the user’s privacy settings.Mobile phones and geolocationFacebook and Twitter, as well as mobile phone applications,offer geolocation functionality, whichmay add location to a user’s content. The position ofa mobile phone can be tracked by mobile operators,and potentially by governments or third parties.Under certain circumstances the use of the mobileinternet can actually enhance the surveillance capabilitiesof repressive regimes.Removal of UGC from social networksFacebook policies can often result in the Facebookpages of political activists being shut down. The “Weare all Khaled Said” Facebook page, which was used(among others) to call for protests on the 25 Januaryrevolution in Egypt, was actually opened in June2010 but was quickly shut down by Facebook. Thiswas because the user who opened the account – “ElShaheed” – was not using a real name. Facebook’sterms of service prohibit the use of fake names ormonikers.In the UK in April 2011 a group of students fromUniversity College London called UCL Occupation,protesting over fee increases and cuts to highereducation funding, claimed that in twelve hoursFacebook had deleted over 50 Facebook profiles ofactivists in the UK. 25Guy Aitchison, a student at UCL and blogger foropenDemocracy.net, said:These groups are technically in violation ofFacebook’s terms of agreement (…). But the timing– on the royal wedding and May Day weekend –is deeply suspicious. (...) [T]his purge of onlineorganising groups could be linked to the widercrackdown on protest by authorities in Britain.Either way, it is a scandalous abuse of powerby Facebook to arbitrarily destroy online communitiesbuilt up over many months and years[which] provide a vital means for activist groupsto communicate with their supporters. 26Facebook officially responded to UCL Occupationwith the following explanation and advice:Facebook profiles are intended to representindividual people only. It is a violation ofFacebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilitiesto use a profile to represent a brand,25 UCL Occupation (2011) Over 50 political accounts deleted in Facebookpurge, UCL Occupation, 29 April. blog.ucloccupation.com/2011/04/29/over-50-political-accounts-deleted-in-facebook-purge26 Aitchison, G. (2011) Political purge of UK Facebook underway,OurKingdom, 29 April. www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/guyaitchison/political-purge-of-uk-facebook-underwayThematic reports / 35


usiness, group, or organization. (...) If youwould like to continue representing your organizationon Facebook, we can convert yourprofile to a Page. 27In Palestine a page calling for a “Third PalestinianIntifada” was shut down. It was seen by some ashate speech and reported to Facebook. 28 Many wonderedwhy all other Arab countries were allowed tohave pages dedicated to a “day of rage” againsttheir governments, but one was not allowed for aprotest against Israeli occupation.These examples demonstrate that it is not usersof the platforms, but the social networking orcontent platforms themselves, that have ultimatecontrol of their content.Reliability and veracity of UGCUGC can be used for misinformation and propaganda.UGC presents problems with regards to thereliability and veracity of information. A famous examplefrom MENA was that of the “lesbian Syrianblogger” who turned out to be a married US man. 29This ended up being counterproductive for theprotest movement and fuelled rumours of foreignintervention in protests, propagated by the Syriangovernment. Social networks can be mechanismsfor spreading rumour and falsehood. As there isusually no moderation of this content, it is the responsibilityof the user to critically examine theveracity of UGC.Sockpuppetry and astroturfing“Sockpuppets” are an important problem in UGC.Wikipedia defines a sockpuppet as “an online identityused for purposes of deception within an onlinecommunity” and, in earlier usage, “a false identitythrough which a member of an Internet communityspeaks with or about himself or herself, pretendingto be a different person.” 30 “Astroturfing” is usingsockpuppets on a larger and organised scale,designed to fake the appearance of grassroots or“netroots” movements (conventionally the word“astroturf” refers to synthetic grass). Astroturfingcan disseminate views that appear to be legitimateand spontaneous, but are actually campaigns bypolitical or commercial identities. 31Members of the hacktivist collective Anonymousclaim to have discovered the existence ofan advanced astroturfing software allegedly commissionedby the US Air Force. 32 This software cancreate online identities with corresponding socialnetworking profiles on multiple platforms, whichcan create content with identities that appearcontingent to previous posts, as well as accordingto culture, age or gender. This software is alsoa surveillance platform, as “fake friends” on socialnetworks to monitor unsuspecting users. 33 The possibleexistence of this software raises importantconcerns about the nexus of UGC and astroturfing.ConclusionUGC, social networks and mobile phones are notunequivocally tools for the benefit of protesters,but rather a part of a contested terrain used by bothgovernments and protest movements in societalconflicts and transitions. Social networking siteslike Facebook and Twitter could be used to spy onprotesters, find out their real-life identities andmake arrests and detentions.These dilemmas will remain relevant in Egyptand Tunisia now that political transitions have started.Egypt and Tunisia both remain under militaryrule. Democracy and freedom to create and distributecontent will not necessarily prevail. Neither willthe role of UGC and social networking sites cease tobe of relevance.UGC is still being used actively in Egypt andTunisia to expose violations of the security forces.In Egypt, the military recognised the power ofFacebook and made a Facebook page after the fallof Mubarak to try to garner support and make peacewith the protesters.The transition in Egypt and Tunisia is stillunfolding – elections need to be planned, politicalparties organised, reorganised and new onesformed. These processes cannot be conducted todaywithout the internet and ICTs.Some issues the online activist needs to bear inmind include:27 UCL Occupation (2011) Facebook forced to respond to ourcampaign for restoration of accounts, UCL Occupation, 29 April.blog.ucloccupation.com/2011/04/29/facebook-forced-to-respondto-our-campaign-for-restoration-of-accounts28 Neroulias, N. (2011) Jews Pressure Facebook over PalestinianIntifada Page, The Huffington Post, 31 March. www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/30/jews-pressure-facebook-ov_n_842741.html29 Al Hussaini, A. (2011) Lesbian Blogger is Married American Man,Global Voices, 13 June. globalvoicesonline.org/2011/06/13/syrialesbian-blogger-amina-is-a-married-american-man30 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sockpuppet_(Internet)31 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astroturfing; see also Monbiot, G. (2011)The need to protect the internet from ‘astroturfing’ grows evermore urgent, The Guardian, 23 February. www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2011/feb/23/need-to-protectinternet-from-astroturfing32 Bright, P. (2011) Anonymous speaks: The inside story of theHBGary hack, ars technica, 15 February. arst.ch/o9q33 Anonymous (n. d.) Operation Metal Gear, AnonNews. anonnews.org/?p=press&a=item&i=75236 / Global Information Society Watch


Anonymity and monikersUser-generated content can, if not used carefully,expose content creators to surveillance. Many UGCplatforms do not allow for anonymity. In light ofthe concerns raised above about astroturfing andsockpuppetry, anonymity is not ideal for activism,especially if the source of the activism is not known.Nonetheless, in the context of repressive regimes,the protection afforded by anonymity does have itsmerits.Anonymity cannot and should not, as RandiZuckerberg, ex-marketing director of Facebook hassuggested, “go away.” 34 Despite calls by some authorities– the British Police for example – to endthe use of anonymous monikers on platforms likeTwitter, 35 many platforms will not do this. There arelegitimate reasons (including personal security) foractivists not to use their real names. Content creatorsshould be informed about the possibilities ofcreating content anonymously and securely anddecide whether to use real names or monikers. Ifanonymity is chosen, creators of content must beaware that small things like a network of real-lifefriends, one picture or an accidental use of geolocationcould expose a user’s identity.Safe and informed use of social networkingUGC and social networking present the challenge ofbalancing activism with privacy and online safety.Different platforms offer different strengths andweaknesses regarding the often diverging goals ofactivism and privacy: Facebook does not allow foranonymity, and the use of monikers is not permitted,while Twitter does allow monikers.Facebook users need to be aware of the range ofpossible privacy settings and their implications. Privacysettings can protect users, but minimal privacysettings in certain conditions may be useful for onlineactivism to build and coordinate communities,and spread content virally.Each platform for the creation and disseminationof UGC, as well as each social networkingwebsite, has terms and conditions which usersshould be aware of. Users should also be aware ofthe national legal and regulatory environments governingprivacy and the internet in the countries inwhich these UGC platforms are hosted.Backup and mirroring of contentAt the end of the day, it is the social networkingplatform or content platform on which the contentis hosted that has the ultimate control over theironline content. Unless, of course, users have thiscontent backed up or mirrored (duplicated on anotherwebsite).There are alternatives to FacebookIt would be beneficial if activists were affordedaccess to social networking tools that they couldexercise more control over, especially with regardsto the hosting of their content, and their privacy andanonymity.There are alternatives to social networkingplatforms such as Twitter or Facebook. The socialnetworking platform Diaspora is nodal and peer-topeer.Users can host their own identities or “pods”,and choose from a range of hosts to host their pod on.Self-hosted or smaller social networking platformshave many advantages. However, they maynot be able to invest as much in security as theirlarger counterparts. Even big “brand” social networkscan experience problems securing privatedata.UGC under surveillanceIf the avoidance of state surveillance is required,certain practices should be followed whereverpossible when disseminating UGC. Platforms offeringend-to-end encryption should be defaultedto wherever possible. Facebook, Twitter and othersocial networking applications, web-based emailand web-based applications should always be accessedthrough HTTPS encryption if it is available(by typing https:// instead of http:// before a webaddress). 36 HTTPS will help avoid the stealing ofusernames and passwords as well as eavesdropping.Anonymising tools such as proxies, virtualprivate networks (VPNs) and Tor can also be usedfor protecting the identity of content creators, aswell as for circumventing filtering and censorship.Tor has been particularly helpful in protecting activistsand journalists in the MENA region. 37 n34 Bosker, B. (2011) Facebook’s Randi Zuckerberg: AnonymityOnline “Has to Go Away”, The Huffington Post, 27 July. www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/27/randi-zuckerberg-anonymityonline_n_910892.html35 Chen, A. (2011) Clueless British police suggest Twitter require realnames, Gawker, 26 August. gawker.com/583477636 The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a plug-in for Firefoxwhich can be downloaded from its website (www.eff.org/httpseverywhere).The plug-in will instruct the browser to alwaysconnect to HTTPS (if available) when viewing a website.37 Zahorsky, I. (2011) Tor, Anonymity and the Arab spring: An Interviewwith Jacob Appelbaum, Peace and Conflict Monitor, 1 August. www.monitor.upeace.org/innerpg.cfm?id_article=816Thematic reports / 37


The internet and social movements in North AfricaRamy RaoofEgyptian Blog for Human Rightsebfhr.blogspot.comCreating free spaceMany taboos and “red lines” are imposed on offlinespaces like newspapers and TV channels in severalstates in North Africa, as well as many limits onfreedom of expression and the right to assembly. Itis not easy to establish a newspaper in Libya or ahuman rights organisation in Algeria or to call for amarch in Bahrain.Cyberspace is almost the only free space formany groups and individuals to practise not onlytheir right to freedom of expression and speech butalso to practise their right to assembly and to formassociations and groups with common interests.Since 2004, Egyptian netizens and bloggershave been able to utilise online platforms for differentcauses effectively. Many taboos were brokenby online spaces, empowering offline media to addressseveral topics that they considered “red line”.These topics included torture in police stations,sexual harassment issues, religious minorities, violationscommitted by Mubarak supporters, etc.Human rights NGOs, bloggers and journalistsplayed complementary roles at that time – and stilldo – confronting violations and providing immediatehelp to victims and those in need. Journalistsused to share information and pass multimedia recordingsof torture to bloggers so that they couldpost them online when their editors refused to publishdetails of the cases in newspapers. This fearwas due to local laws or the response from securityauthorities or even that a publication would loseadvertisements.During the revolution, the Egyptian cyberspaceerupted in extremely rich content, which took differentforms – text, videos and pictures. Two mainthings affected the content in cyberspace: the firstwas what happened on the ground and the secondwas the accessibility of communications platforms.From 14 January to 24 January 2011, netizenskept sending invitations to demonstrate on 25January – National Police Day in Egypt – againstcorruption, unemployment and torture. In orderto motivate participation, netizens posted humanrights reports and statements on the status ofhuman rights in the country online, as well as videoclips of different torture cases, and pictures andfootage from previous peaceful assemblies. Practicalinformation was also provided, such as legal andmedical tips for participants taking part in peacefulassemblies, tactics for using online platforms andmobile phones to organise, the locations and timingsof demonstrations on 25 January, and hotlinenumbers for immediate legal and medical help fromhuman rights NGOs.From 25 January to 6 February 2011 Egyptians experienceda series of crackdowns on communicationsplatforms. Activists’ mobile lines and hotline numberswere shut down and social media websites (includingTwitter, Facebook and Bambuser) and newspaperwebsites were blocked, while landlines did not workin some areas in Cairo. Later, when communicationswere restored, netizens gradually posted what hadhappened when communications were shut down,including content showing violations and violencecommitted against peaceful demonstrators. The timelineof the communications shutdown by the Egyptianauthorities is shown in Figure 1. 1Before the internet was totally blocked, someactivists were able to post information, videos andpictures from demonstrations and to cover what washappening offline. This was very important: besidesoffering concrete evidence to the world of the clampdown,it proved the government was just spreadingrumours and false information of the security situation.There had been, until now, a big gap betweenwhat individuals posted and circulated online andwhat the state-run media broadcasted and published.At times this gap was extreme. For example,when netizens and activists posted pictures onlineof hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in TahrirSquare, the state media was showing a picture of analmost empty square which it called “live” footage!Although some downplay the role that the internetplayed in the revolution, during the uprising onlineplatforms were the only space where Egyptians couldshare what they really faced and went through.Of course, many taboos are broken in offlinespaces, but still – even now – online platforms arein some cases the only space where Egyptians canaddress topics that offline platforms cannot. Theseinclude human rights violations committed by1 Online version of the diagram: flic.kr/p/9RNhpz38 / Global Information Society Watch


figure 1.Timeline of the communications shutdown in Egypt during the revolutionTwitter.comblockedActivistlines shut downBambuser.comblocked 02:00pmNetwork coverage shut downin Tahrir SquareBlackBerry servicesshut down 07:00pmLast internet serviceprovider shut downInternet shut down - exceptone internet service providerFacebook.comblockedShort message servicesshut down 10:00pmInternet servicerestored 12:30pmPeople shut downMubarak 06:30pmMobile phone callsshut down for one dayLandlines shut downin some areasState mediacampaign againstprotestersShort message servicesrestored 12:35amAl Jazeera Cairobureau shut down25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31January01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 11Februarymilitary officers and other topics related to the army.These online spaces continue to put pressure on theauthorities to address issues in the offline world.Nevertheless, it is important not to magnifythe role of the internet during the revolutions anduprisings; the Egyptian revolution is not a “Facebookrevolution” or “Web 2.0 revolution” or similarmeaningless terms. But online platforms were themedia arm for Egyptians during the revolution, aspace for Egyptians to share their experiences andthoughts and to show the truth of what happened.Circumventing repressive regimesOnline spaces are frequently utilised to expose humanrights violations that governments try hard tokeep unknown. Videos published online showingparticular violations taking place create a strongwave of resistance over time in different online andoffline platforms – like the videos exposing policecorruption in Morocco 2 and torture in police stationsand violence in Egypt. 3During the revolution in Tunisia, the Tunisiancyberspace in general – and blogosphere in particular– was almost the only source of information,2 Video from July 2007: youtu.be/K6FCsv8RhsM and October 2008:youtu.be/4XpMmyUVdLo3 Video from November 2006: youtu.be/HMeXkZX9_E8 and youtu.be/YVxeyq__KD4pictures and videos of what was happening on theground. Offline platforms did not pick up on whathappened in Tunisia in the beginning and evenwhen coverage took place it was limited.In Libya, Tunisia and Syria, where there is excessivecontrol on offline media platforms, the internetwas the place where individuals could share whatwas happening.Media tent in Tahrir SquareOne of the first media tents set up in January inTahrir Square was organised by a group of friends(including bloggers, human rights defenders, politicalactivists) using their personal laptops, cameras,memory sticks, hard disks, cables and other devicesthat might be needed. We also put up a sign 4 thatsaid “Point to upload pictures and videos”. Themain thing we did was gather all kinds of multimediafrom demonstrators in Tahrir Square, then madethe content available online.For me, doing this was very important becauseI believed that making those pictures and videospublic would help everyone to really understandwhat was happening on the ground. It would allowthem to follow the situation and be able to assessit, as well as have an overview of what happened4 flic.kr/p/9eEabYThematic reports / 39


in different cities in Egypt, given that those peoplewho had pictures or videos were not only fromCairo.Providing the content 5 also helped to prove thatthe government at that time was just spreading liesand rumours and manufacturing fake images ofthe protests. The content that we uploaded provedthat violations were taking place, whether a videoshowing police shooting at peaceful demonstrators,or a picture showing a sniper pointing his gunat someone.Challenges facing online communitiesThere are several challenges facing online communitiesand activists. These frequently relate to theviolation of an individual’s privacy and legal threatsthat any netizen could face based on their onlineactivity.These threats have become more intense dueto international companies providing technicalsurveillance and monitoring systems to governmentsaround the world. These companies simplydevelop programmes that enable governments andsecurity agencies in the ruling regimes to violateanyone’s privacy, monitor anyone’s activity and imposecensorship. Consequently, they are helpinggovernments to fabricate cases against political activistsand human rights defenders on charges like“destabilising order”, “defaming state leaders”,“spreading rumours to overthrow the regime” andmany other charges that regimes set to minimisethe work of civil societies and activists towards securinghuman rights.For example, in 2009 – and maybe even earlier– a European-based company with its headquartersin the United Kingdom called Gamma GroupInternational offered the State Security Intelligence(SSI) in Egypt security software. SSI unitsdescribe this software in their internal communicationsin August 2009 as a “high-level securitysystem that has capabilities not provided in othersystems. Its most prominent capabilities includehacking into personal Skype accounts, hackingemail accounts associated with Hotmail, Yahooand Gmail, and allowing the complete control oftargeted computers.” In December 2010 the SSIreported that the software can “record audio andvideo chats, record activity taking place aroundhacked computers with cameras and make copiesof their content.”This is just what we knew after Egyptiansstormed SSI headquarters, discovering thedocumentation.Even without the use of such programmes, netizensmight face trial due to content posted online.This happened to human rights activist NabeelRajab, director of the Bahrain Center for HumanRights. Rajab was criminally charged in April 2011for publishing images on his personal account onTwitter. 6Twitter and Facebook usage in North AfricaThe Dubai School of Government issued a reportin May 2011 on social media in the Arab region; thestatistics on Twitter and Facebook usage in NorthAfrica are presented in Table 1. 7From the numbers in the table, it is clear thatthe percentage of Twitter and Facebook users isnot high compared to the population sizes. Consequently,online content does not have a high, directimpact on offline communities. Instead it can besaid to influence offline activist platforms, which inturn may influence offline communities.ConclusionEach space used to share information and knowledgehas its own key players, target groups, andpositive and negative points. There are differences,not gaps, between the press and radio stations.There are also differences between online and offlinetools and communities, and these differencesare normal – the “gap” should not be the mainconcern.Individuals and groups use online tools to complementtheir offline work in mobilising people forevents, and online tools are used to provide coverageof and document what is happening offline. Therelationship between both online and offline communitiescan be complementary.“Crossposting” is the main way that online communitieshelp spread information and create a waveor buzz on particular incidents. Bloggers from Syria,Bahrain, Morocco and other states played an importantrole by crossposting the content coming out ofTunisia and Egypt. This pushed offline media to useonline content in their work, enabling more peopleto become aware of what was happening and helpingthe content reach more and more communities.The internet is a free space that enables individualsand groups to practice their rights in a differentway when they have no space offline. Online tools5 Content available online through torrent links: is.gd/bAFmHg andis.gd/SaZJVZ and pictures available at: flic.kr/s/aHsjtogRvz6 www.anhri.net/en/?p=24127 www.dsg.ae/NEWSANDEVENTS/UpcomingEvents/ASMROverview2.aspx40 / Global Information Society Watch


Table 1.Twitter and Facebook users in North AfricaCountry Population Twitter users(average between 1 Jan and 30 Mar)Facebook users(4 May)Algeria 35,953,989 13,235 1,947,900Egypt 85,950,300 131,204 6,586,260Libya 6,670,928 63,919 71,840Morocco 32,770,852 17,384 3,203,440Sudan 44,103,535 9,459 443,623Tunisia 10,476,355 35,746 2,356,520help social movements to better communicate,share their ideas and achieve impact and improvements.Building movements and improving humanrights and political situations can only be doneoffline with the mobilisation of people, using allavailable tools, including the internet.I joined the street demonstrations in Egypton 28 January. Before that, together with mycolleagues, I was providing legal and medical assistanceas well as documenting violations. In thebeginning, for me, the day was just another demonstrationthat might continue for several daysand end up in a brutal clampdown by the police.On 2 February I realised it was a revolution, andpeople would not leave the streets until Mubarakwas brought down.During the revolutionary events, and on a dailybasis, it was clear that we went through a widerange of feelings. You get angry, upset, aggressive,afraid, feel courage and fear and suddenly happinessand hope.The most important thing that made me feelcomfortable and believe that anything is possiblewas that I was not alone in the streets. Many peoplewere around helping, showing support and solidarity.This would not be possible on the internet alone. nThematic reports / 41


Workers’ rights and the internetSteve ZeltzerLaborNetwww.labornet.orgCommunication, solidarity and the internet:How the internet, information technologyand new media are shaping the worldworking classFrom textile factory workers at the Egyptian Mahallatextile plants, to Chinese workers in Honda factories,to Wisconsin public workers: social networks,the internet and new communications technologiesare playing a critical role in linking up workers locally,nationally and internationally.In each of these struggles the use of mobile texting,Twitter, YouTube and video streams is playinga vital role in helping to get the word out, defendingagainst repression and linking up with workersthroughout the world.The global economy and the drive for greaterprofitability is the key driving force in the developmentof communications technology. Internationalproduction lines are linked up through the internet,and the export and transfer of labour through theuse of the internet is endemic.Central to the power and information networkof working people globally has been the rollout ofmobile phone coverage. In 2010 there were 4.6 billionmobile phones in service and this is set to goto five billion by 2011. Even in parts of Africa whereonly 5% of the population has electricity, workersglobally, and particularly migrant workers, are nowlinked up through their mobile phones.One of the first uses of the internet and the webfor education and solidarity was the Liverpool dockworkersstrike in 1995. The 500 dockers who weremembers and local leaders of the Transport andGeneral Workers’ Union (TGWU) refused to cross apicket line. This solidarity action was labelled as illegalunder the Thatcher anti-labour laws, and thedockers not only faced a fight with the governmentlaws, but also the acceptance of these laws by theirnational union. The workers, in order to fight back,had to break the information blockade. LaborNet, incollaboration with the Association for ProgressiveCommunications (APC) in the United States (US),working with APC member GreenNet in the UnitedKingdom (UK) and labour supporters Chris Baileyand Greg Dropkin, developed the first internationalweb page to support a struggle globally. 1The web page allowed the Liverpool dockworkersto bring their struggle to Australian dockers aswell as longshore workers throughout the world. Itincluded messages of solidarity and helped solidifyan international defence campaign that even includedworkers’ action by dockers in the US, Canadaand Japan against the ship the Neptune Jade. 2One of the lessons of this struggle for theworking class was that the anti-labour laws and restrictionson solidarity, and the corporate effort toprevent knowledge of workers’ struggles and solidarityefforts, could be overcome using the internet.In fact, during the West Coast boycott of the Neptuneloaded by the union-busting company, videofootage was provided to CNN for broadcast in theUK for the first time showing that the struggle hadinternational support.This multimedia use of computer networks,video and the media has been replicated manytimes worldwide, and the growth of social mediaand live streaming now make this a 24-hour-a-dayoccurrence.Temporary workers and communicationCapitalists have also sought to use technology tocontrol temporary workers. A document called TheBeeper Revolution from Korea tells how workerswere contracted by being beeped on their mobilephones, and had no contact with other workers.This also prevented workers from linking up witheach other and beginning to organise. The atomisationof workers, who do not work together in theold way through a union hall, but only when beepedor called, is a major obstacle to organising workers.This is especially the case with the use of temporaryworkers on a global level, such as in Spainand other parts of Europe, as well as in Korea, where30% or more of the work force are temporary workers.In Japan where these mostly young workers arecalled Freeta workers, their marginalisation throughtheir isolation is a conscious policy of the corporationsand their governments. They have done thisthrough deregulation and anti-labour laws, whichinhibit unionisation and collective action.1 eastbound.eu/site_media/pdf/060111bailey.pdf2 www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3Wva4XbMVs42 / Global Information Society Watch


In one document called Workers Under Surveillanceand Control: Background, presented by Koreanprofessor Kang Soo-dol of Korea University at the ThirdAnnual Seoul International Labor Media conference in2001, it was pointed out that this means of controllingand using labour was critically connected to the use ofdigital and communication technologies. 3The great fear of capital is that through theircollective power, labour will refuse managementcontrol and threaten their power to govern. Thisfear was confirmed in the 1997 general strike inSouth Korea, when the young Korean Confederationof Trade Unions (KCTU) led a general strike inpart through the use of computer networks. At the1999 Second Seoul International Labor Media conference,reports were presented about the SeoulSubway Workers Union’s use of a computer usersgroup (CUG) to help organise the general strike.Trade unionists reported that they had to go undergroundto conduct the strike, and did this throughthe use of computer networks to keep their communicationopen in the successful strike. This was alsothe first general strike in which workers used videoto document the strike throughout the country withthe development of a labour video network.The growth of LaborFests 4 and internationalworking class film and video festivals have alsobecome a tool for the expansion of communicationand knowledge about labour and the democraticstruggles of workers throughout the world. Thefirst LaborFest in San Francisco in 1994 has nowexpanded internationally with film festivals inTurkey, Korea, Japan, Argentina, South Africa andother countries around the world. These can alsobe streamed live, and the development of an internationallabour video channel on the internet andcable would be a powerful vehicle for building solidarityand increasing education.The use of a variety of communication technologiesin labour struggles is a vital lesson of the newage of telecommunications. This was also the casewith the Egyptian Mahalla workers who used theirmobile phones to organise workers’ actions andovercome the government control of information. Assuggested, the use of mobile phones has become ahistoric vehicle for workers’ and peoples’ strugglesthroughout the world. Today, the Mahalla workersnot only use their mobile phones for mobilisation,but also use social media sites like YouTube to gettheir action plans out. 53 lmedia.nodong.net/maybbs/view.php?db=nodong&code=lmedia_pds&n=165&page=144 www.laborfest.net5 www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6UC9Lme7PEAnother report, by Hossam El-Homalawy, a journalistand labour activist, shows how the role of themobile phone and computer networking was criticalin the building of the workers movement in Egypt– and in fact led to the foundation of the mass movementthat removed Mubarak. 6Mobile phones also have the potential to beused to spy on workers and to prevent their struggleto unionise for labour rights. The most shockingcase is again in Korea, where the Korea Samsungworkers were seeking to organise. They visited theirlabour lawyer to find out what their rights were andwhen they returned to the factory, their boss repeatedword for word what they had questioned theirlawyer about. Their phones had been used to tracktheir locations and record their private meeting withtheir lawyer by the virulently anti-labour SamsungCorporation.Again, the independent labour media movementwas able to develop a video about how mobilephones are being used against the workers. SeoulbasedLabor News Production made a documentarycalled Big Brother is Watching: The Other Side ofSamsung (2006), which was also screened to workersaround the world, including in Turkey, Argentinaand the US.Tracking workers on the internetAnother dangerous use of ICTs is the use of theinternet in the tracking of union activists and organisers,as well as sick and injured workers, to allowemployers to gather information that will help themterminate their contracts. Today, everything that isdone on the internet stays in the internet world.Actions including labour rallies, strikes and otheractivities are now being recorded both by the mainstreammedia and independent journalists, and thismaterial, once posted, is traceable on a global level.Artificial intelligence developed by Google andother corporations is now being put to use to collectand examine, effectively amounting to spyingon people to determine what they are interested infor future sale of products. This includes book publisherssuch as Amazon and other online consumerbusinesses. The information about the books youbuy and look at are now being held by private corporationsthat have private interests. And someof this information is made public. To find out if aworker is looking up books about labour history, forexample, you could do a search under US laws andmost laws around the world.6 blip.tv/file/4699784 and blip.tv/file/4700355Thematic reports / 43


Digitalisation of the health industrythreatens privacy rightsIn a world with private control of health care, this isespecially the case with the digitalisation of medicalrecords by private health care companies andcapitalists, who seek to limit their liabilities.A powerful example of this is the recent caseof Adventist Health System. IT worker PatriciaMoleski was ordered by the company to deletethe electronic records of injured workers to negateworkers compensation due to them. Shewas also ordered to delete records of deaths andother malpractices that had become corrupted dueto a computer glitch. The failure to have backuprecords in an electronic medical system and thelack of any serious regulation potentially allow themassive manipulation of information, threateningbasic human rights for workers and the public. 7The development of communications technologyand the digitalisation of our society havegenerally left organised labour behind, despite thework that has been done. Most unions in the worlddo not do media training and do not educate theirmembers in the use of technology and the dangersof it to their unions and the public. Issues of netneutrality and calls for a strong independent mediathat would support workers’ causes are usually notaddressed.Tech workers organising on a globallevel growsThe potential for organising technology workers globallyis growing. IBM workers, who are pro-union,have organised and some important struggles havedeveloped over freedom of information. 8Ken Hamidi, an employee of Intel who installedsystems, was injured on the job while driving. Hecontinued working until he could not do the workand complained about growing health problems.Intel refused to take care of his injury and as a resultHamidi formed an organisation called FACEIntel (Former and Current Employees of Intel). Hethen was provided with the email addresses ofover 30,000 workers by a supporter, and sent outmessages to Intel workers throughout the world.For this action, Intel went to court and got an injunctionthat charged that Hamidi had entered the“chattel” of Intel by sending the messages. Withsupport from the US trade union federation AFL-CIOand the Electronic Frontiers Foundation, as well asLaborNet, Hamidi was successful in defeating this7 www.youtube.com/watch?v=F91hN9nR1KA8 www.endicottalliance.orgeffort to repress his free speech. The effort to preventworkers and unions from sending email to theirfellow workers and getting information out throughemail was thwarted. 9The fight to defend the workers who make technologyis critical. The brutal conditions faced byFoxconn workers in China, leading to many suicides,show the real story behind iPhones and the othernew communications tools. Workers and humanrights supporters have mobilised nationally and internationallyto demand justice for these workers. 10Foxconn even sought to force the workers tosign documents pledging that they would not commitsuicide, working through the government tradeunion federation ACFTU in 2006. But this meant verylittle when it came to conditions on the factory floorfor workers, as their slave-like conditions continuedunder the new “union agreement”. 11This is not to say the conditions of workers evenat technology companies like Google are proper. AtGoogle workers are separated by coloured badgesand lower-level workers are discriminated againstin the company on the grounds of the colour of thebadge they wear. A former Google videographerdeclared:Speaking for myself, what worries me is thatthere is apparently a class of workers (yellows)who are denied privileges that are given to otherworkers of an equivalently non-skilled or impermanentnature (reds)… The only differencesbetween these two classes of workers are theexact nature of their work (data entry versus, forexample, janitors), and their overall racial mix.Neither of these reasons is a legitimate reasonto withhold a privilege like free transportationfrom one group while granting it to the other, inmy opinion. You, of course, may not agree. 12Labour using social media to organise:A double-edged swordThere is no question that social media have becomevital tools in protecting democratic and labourrights. These tools have helped link up trade unionistsand human rights organisers throughout theworld. At the same time, however, workers are nowbeing fired by their boss for putting material abouttheir job on their Facebook page in their own time.9 www.faceintel.com/hamidismessage.htm10 www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3YFGixp9Jw11 www.boingboing.net/2011/05/05/foxconn-workers-forc.html andwww.workerscapital.org/connected/news/in-focus-students-andlabour-activists-protest-foxconns-working-conditions/#In%20Focus12 Andrew Norman Wilson recorded the segregation of Googleworkers in this video: vimeo.com/1585228844 / Global Information Society Watch


In a recent US Federal Labor Relations Boardcase, the board ruled that the actions of five workerswho had been fired for using Facebook to publicisebad working conditions were not cause for firing. 13This effort by employers and corporations tosilence their workers who use Facebook and the internetis growing. In a recent case in the UK, Uncutreported that UK Facebook had illegally removedmaterial and sought to change workers’ pages. 14Additionally, governments have sought to shutdown labour and civil rights organisations’ websitesin many countries throughout the world, includingthe shutdown of the internet in Egypt during therecent uprising. This will likely take place againas mass movements seek to break the informationblockade. The likelihood of this in most industrialisedcountries however is quite small, since theshutdown of the internet would result in the completeshutdown of the entire economy. In the USand Europe, the closure of the internet would virtuallyclose the world economy from the airlines toall financial transactions. This would obviously bea doomsday scenario for those governments thathave contemplated these tactics to silence criticsusing the internet.This includes attacks on independent media,and, again in Korea, the suppression of independentmedia groups such as MediAct has broughtinternational solidarity and protests. 15 APC took upan international campaign to defend this communitymedia centre. 16The worldwide growth of independent labourmedia platforms has led to significant and powerfulexamples of using streaming media to defend workersstruggles. Sendika.org, a project of LaborNetTurkey, supported the hunger strike by fired TeknaTobacco workers in Istanbul by live streaming theirstrike and interviewing the workers about why theywere taking the action. 17 The live video streamingreached an international audience and solidaritywas expressed through SMS text messaging.This was a concrete international expression ofsolidarity for their hunger strike and showed howworkers can link up directly. Videos about thesestruggles were also streamed worldwide, includingone called The Wind Blows From The Workers. 18Pizzas from Egypt in the Wisconsin struggle:Will the revolution be televised?The most recent example of social media in the labourstruggle was a major battle in Wisconsin todefend public workers against the attacks by GovernorScott Walker. While workers and students wereoccupying the capitol building, labour and communitysupporters were using tweets to organise foodand other supplies. Tens of thousands of workerswere mobilised to support a workers’ picket lineminute by minute also through the use of Twitterand other social media including live streamingon smartphones. 19 There was also an explosion oflabour music videos, giving an important culturalexpression to this struggle, including Cheddar Revolutionand Union Town. 20When someone in Egypt helped buy a pizza forthe workers occupying the capitol building, workersknew that their struggles were crossing all bordersin a way that was impossible in the past.The digitalisation of the world and the growingawareness of the world working class onhow these communications and media tools canbe used to build their unions and support theirdemocratic workers’ rights will only grow in thefuture. The development of a powerful world workingclass mass movement offers the potential tochange the fundamental dynamics of who controlsand runs the world, and these tools are critical tothese developments. n13 www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/n/a/2011/05/18/national/w151508D64.DT14 www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/apr/29/facebookaccused-removing-activists-pagesand www.guardian.co.uk/uk/video/2011/feb/10/uk-uncut-protest-movement15 labornetjp.blogspot.com/2010/02/movement-to-supportindependent-media.htmland www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=273091817582&ref=nf16 www.apc.org/en/news/south-korean-govt-threatens-publicmedia-centre-me17 Background about this struggle can be found at: www.sendika.org/english/yazi.php?yazi_no=2902118 iscinet.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&catid=45%3Avideolar&id=168%3Atekel-direnii&Itemid=9219 The use of the smartphone to stream labour struggles directly ontowebsites is already taking place through www.ustream.com andother servers.20 www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5ZT71DxLuM&feature=player_embedded; www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCNaBe2Sl10; www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nGeWyV4Vec; www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTHo5CBeIRk; a report of this was made by J. EricCobb, executive director of the Building Trades of South CentralWisconsin, in a recent speech in San Francisco: www.youtube.com/watch?v=04zzzFcjkJThematic reports / 45


Sexuality and women’s rightsJac SM Kee and Jan MoolmanAssociation for Progressive Communications (APC)www.apc.orgRights and the internet:Sexuality and women’s rightsThe universality of human rights means that, sometimes,the specific needs of sections of society, dueto the multiple forms of discrimination and inequalityfaced, can disappear from the understanding andtranslation of rights into reality. Women’s rightsmovements have struggled for decades to gain therecognition that women’s rights are human rights,culminating in the 1993 Vienna Declaration that statesthat “the human rights of women and of the girl-childare an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universalhuman rights.” With the increasing urgency toapply the human rights framework to understandingthe impact of the internet on all facets of our lives,closer attention needs to be paid to how this mightimpact on women and people of diverse sexualitiesin different contexts, to ensure that the principle ofuniversality is truly universal in the sense of being applicableto all people, equally. This report attempts toforeground some of the key insights from the work ofthe Association for Progressive Communications (APC)in the area of women’s rights, violence against womenand sexual rights in relation to the internet.Role of the internet in realising rightsPublic participation, right to assemblyand citizenshipThe findings from APC exploratory research into thearea of sexuality and the internet (called EROTICS)as well as our work on information and communicationstechnologies (ICTs) and violence againstwomen in twelve countries clearly indicate that theinternet is a critical space in the struggle for fundamentalrights and freedoms. This is especially truein contexts where civil liberties are restricted orthreatened. In contexts where people are discriminatedagainst because of their gender or sexualidentity, the restriction of and threats to their basicrights is a daily struggle and reality. For them, theinternet is an especially vital space for democraticdeliberation and political contestation where differentactors, struggles and concerns are able toconverge to inform or transform norms and publicopinion and, in turn, policy that regulates their lives.It is a site where transitional or long-term alliancesare forged in the form of informal social groupings,communities of shared interests or communicationspaces for action. Here, the internet convenes anespecially vital public sphere due to the multiplebarriers to access found in more traditional forms of“publics”, like the media or political representation,due to their marginalised position in society.Feminist and sexual rights activists in the DemocraticRepublic of Congo turned to the internet as theonly viable safe space to organise against a proposedhomosexuality bill, in a climate of extreme intoleranceand violence in the region. In Lebanon, the queer movementnamed the registration of www.gaylebanon.com as a historical marker of when the sexual rightsmovement began to formally organise in the country,and has since moved to greater visibility in physicalspaces. Black lesbians in South Africa mobilised supportfor a pride march and organised mass solidarityfor cases in court against “corrective rape” throughonline platforms for communication and informationdissemination. These examples clearly show the democratisingpotential of the internet in enabling thepublic participation of people who face great risk totheir personal safety in organising for change.Self-representation, expression, writing historyand countering discriminatorynorms and cultureAs noted by Frank La Rue in his report to the 17th sessionof the United Nations Human Rights Council inMarch 2011, the right to freedom of opinion and expressionis critically facilitated by the internet, and isboth a fundamental right on its own as well as an enablerof a broad range of human rights. In terms of theheavily regulated realm of sexual speech in all partsof the world and the barriers to accessing channelsof communication like the mass media, the internetat present provides a relatively more open space fornon-normative expressions, subaltern histories andless readily accessible information to proliferate andbe obtainable. This can have an important impact ofparticipating in the shaping of history and culture,and to dismantle discriminatory norms that contributeto inequality and discrimination.In India, the EROTICS research uncovers thecomplex ways that young women experiment withthe ideas of “sexy” through self-representation in46 / Global Information Society Watch


dating, matrimonial and social networking sites.Through this, they are able to push the boundariesof cultural and social barriers that place intensescrutiny on the sexuality and mobility of women andgirls. Mothers create popular blog sites that providepeer support and information and commentary oncontemporary issues, challenging the traditionaland patriarchal discourse in India that holds motherhoodin a sacred and moral position. In Lebanon, animportant strategy of the queer feminist movementsis in writing, documenting and analysing personaland political accounts of their activism and sexuality,which acts to resist the colonisation of perspectivesand knowledge by people outside of their community.Women’s rights activists and women survivorsof violence in Pakistan and the Philippines challengedthe dominant construction of victimhood insituations of domestic violence by creating powerfuldigital stories. The digital stories enable them to takecontrol of the narrative and to tell the complex realitiesof domestic violence through their own wordsand experiences, and present an important and oftenmissing account of their strategies of survival as activesubjects instead of passive victims of violence.Autonomy, integrity of the body and rightto security of the personThe ability to access relevant and meaningfulinformation is critical to enable individuals to makeinformed decisions about their lives. It allows informedconsent, the exercise of self-autonomy, andthe realisation of a broad range of rights, such as theright to education, health and safety. Meaningfulaccess to the internet and the engagement withonline spaces and communities can greatly enablethe capacity of individuals who face discriminationand inequality to exercise their right to self-determinationand integrity of the body.The EROTICS research showed that transgenderpeople in South Africa are able to access onlineinformation on medical procedures of gender transitioning,including their risks, details of trustworthymedical practitioners and the experiences of otherswho have gone through the procedure. This helpsthem make an important decision about their ownlives and bodies. In India, where arranged marriagesby parents are commonly practised, young womenare able to gain greater control over their choices oflife partners through a range of online matrimonialsites. The internet in India has also become a significant,albeit controversial, site for sex educationon a range of topics including HIV/AIDS, contraception,menopause and sexual pleasure. It meets animportant information gap faced by young people inschools where sex education is regarded with alarmand in moralistic terms, with India banning sex educationin twelve states and the United States (US)emphasising “abstinence only” sex education.In the US, young people under the age of seventeenare unable to access unfiltered content inpublicly funded libraries. Added to the lack of comprehensivesex education in schools, this has animpact of significantly limiting their right and evolvingcapacity to exercise agency and decision makingabout a critical component of their development.In situations of violence against women, wheremany victims are socially isolated as a key tacticby abusers, the internet can be a critical space forgetting information on how to safely exit the violentsituation and to get support and help.Challenges, barriers and limitationsInfrastructure and accessAt the most basic level, there is a persistent genderdivide in society. Despite rapidly increasing levelsof internet penetration in all countries, particularlythrough the use of mobile phones, literacy levels interms of language and technical skills, relevant contentand costs are still significant determining factorsin achieving access. Given the gendered dimensionof technology, economic empowerment and controlover resources, these act as barriers to equal accessand engagement with internet technologies.Shared or public internet access points, which canhelp address some of the cost issues, provide a limitedsolution to access for women and girls. As touchedon earlier, the only law that mandates restriction tointernet content in the US applies to publicly fundedlibraries, which affects approximately 77 million users,and can disproportionately impact on the poorersections of the community. In India, cybercafés aredominated by men and a culture of masculinity, withincreasing state regulation placed on their operationincluding taking photographs of users, collection ofusers’ personal data, and restrictions on their physicallocation and arrangement, in part for reasons of controllingconsumption of pornography. Submitting personalinformation without a corresponding data protectionpolicy means that women and girls who use cybercaféscan become subjects of harassment by predominantlymale cybercafé managers, making them unviable andunsafe internet access points for women and girls.Laws and policyNational policies on gender and ICTs are primarilyviewed through the framework of economicdevelopment. This translates into initiatives andbudgetary allocations that only aim to build thecapacity of women to improve their income, andThematic reports / 47


usually through a very limited lens. For example,in Malaysia, the recent national development plansees ICTs as being beneficial for women becausethey enable them to work “flexi-hours” while stilljuggling their domestic responsibilities. However,such work, which is often considered low skilledand dispensable, does not provide an adequatesocial safety net with women being the first to losetheir jobs during times of economic instability.In many parts of the world, new legislationand policies are being developed to regulate thefree flow of information on the internet. These areoften accompanied by the mobilisation of anxietiesaround the dangers of sexual content and therisks of online interaction, the most familiar beingthe need to regulate or prohibit pornography, andincreasingly, content or activities that are harmfulto children. However, such measures often hideother agendas and interests. For example, a draftbill proposing a ban on sexual content on theinternet and mobile phones submitted to the SouthAfrican Department of Home Affairs in May 2010claimed to have the best interests of women andchildren in mind. In fact, the bill was drafted by anorganisation known to be anti-choice and homophobic,which raises serious questions about theactual intent of the proposed bill. Further, this runscounter to the constitutional guarantee of the rightto freedom of expression and information in thecountry. In Brazil, the controversial cyber crime billknown as the “Azeredo Bill” that was fronted on thegrounds of addressing paedophilia has its roots inthe banking industry wanting to shift liability forinternet fraud onto the shoulders of its customersinstead of on banks.Regulatory measures are also often introducedor passed at great speed with little public consultation,as shown by the EROTICS research. Legislationcan include provisions with wide-ranging impact onexpression, including censorship, mandated blockingand filtering of content, and invasions of privacy,such as increased surveillance and data retention.They can have a disproportionate and wide-rangingeffect on the ability of marginalised sections of societyto use the internet in the exercise of their rights.For example, in Indonesia, the anti-pornography billwas recently used to block a website that featuresinformation on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexualand transsexual people.Privacy, safety and violence against womenPrivacy and anonymity are critical components ofmeaningful access to the internet, particularly bypeople who face great risk to their personal safetyshould they be “outed” through their internetactivity. This can range from young women who areusing the internet to challenge the boundaries ofacceptable sexual expression, as we found in a casein India; to people of diverse sexualities who areexploring their identity and building communities, asin a case in Lebanon where homosexuality is criminalised;to women’s rights defenders who are usingthe internet to provide support, document violationsand organise for change, such as abortion rightsactivists in parts of Latin America.There is a need to ensure greater protection ofthe right to privacy and security when it comes tothe internet. Content regulation is almost alwaysaccompanied by surveillance measures, and in theface of missing privacy protections, this raises seriousquestions about the vitality of online spaces inadvancing social justice.It also bears reminding that even with the potentialof the internet to realise freedoms, manywomen and girls still need to negotiate existing culturaland social barriers to fully and meaningfullyengage with online spaces. The EROTICS researchin India showed how young women have developedstrategies to avoid surveillance of their activitiesby their family and boyfriends, and to manage thereal risks and dangers that they can face online,including that of harassment, manipulation of photographsand violation of their right to privacy.Technology-related violence also acts as a significantbarrier to women’s meaningful engagementwith the internet. Cyber stalking, online sexual harassment,blackmail through the use of private andoften sexualised information, photographs andvideos, and the forwarding of content that depicts,promotes and normalises violence against womenare becoming increasingly documented and facedby women and girls who use the internet. Theycreate a hostile online environment and can causewomen and girls to disengage from the internet dueto fear for their safety. They also contribute to thecreation of a communication culture that is discriminatoryand tolerant of violence against women.ConclusionIt is clear that when internet-related rights areexamined through the lens of the diverse realitiesof women’s lives and from the vantage of sexualrights, it provides a richer, nuanced and more comprehensiveanalysis of the different dimensions thatneed to be considered in the realisation of the internet’spotential for fulfilment of human rights. Suchan effort is necessary to ensure that our collectivestruggle to promote the transformative impact ofthe internet is one that is inclusive of diversity andaffirming of equality. n48 / Global Information Society Watch


Internet chartersand principlesThematic reports / 49


Internet charters and principles: Trends and insightsDixie HawtinGlobal Partners and Associateswww.global-partners.co.ukIntroductionA growing phenomenon in the internet governancearena is the emergence of charters and setsof principles which aim to guide policy making andto influence the behaviour of different stakeholdersusing the internet. The phenomenon is predominatelydriven by two separate but overlappingpurposes: to articulate and promote a particularvision of the internet; and as an alternative tolegislation and ex-ante regulation which is oftenconsidered ineffective, impractical and/or harmful.This report provides an overview of the trend.It examines the different types of charters and setsof principles that are emerging and analyses theopportunities and challenges these present for freedomof expression and association on the internet.BackgroundThe internet developed in a “laissez-faire” environment– where regulation did exist it was mainlyaimed at ensuring that the sector was open andcompetitive, for example, through unbundling andcommon carrier obligations. However, it has grownto be a foundational infrastructure for social, economic,political and cultural life. At the same time,a number of significant challenges have emerged,such as protecting privacy and combating the rise ofcyber crime. The combination of these two factorshas led to a growing consensus that the internet istoo important to be left alone. The pressing debatesnow are about the content, form and processes bywhich governance is exercised.Governing the internet is a challenging undertaking.It is a decentralised, global environment,so governance mechanisms must account for manyvaried legal jurisdictions and national contexts. It isan environment which is evolving rapidly – legislationcannot keep pace with technological advances,and risks undermining future innovation. And it isshaped by the actions of many different stakeholdersincluding governments, the private sector andcivil society.These qualities mean that the internet is notwell suited to traditional forms of governance suchas national and international law. Some chartersand declarations have emerged as an alternative,providing the basis for self-regulation or co-regulationand helping to guide the actions of differentstakeholders in a more flexible, bottom-up manner.In this sense, charters and principles operate as aform of soft law: standards that are not legally bindingbut which carry normative and moral weight.On the other hand, there is an increasing arrayof attacks on the open nature of the internet fromgovernments (both authoritarian and democratic)who seek to control the environment and from businesseswho seek to monetise it. Concerned thatthe capacity of the internet to support freedom ofexpression and association is being eroded, civilsociety groups are developing charters and setsof principles to push back against these threats byarticulating and campaigning for a progressive approachtowards the internet.A summary of internet chartersand principlesAn enormous variety of charters and principles havebeen developed, each involving different models,stakeholders and issues. It is possible to dividethese into a number of broad groups, although theexamples outlined below are not exhaustive:• Civil society charters and declarations JohnPerry Barlow’s 1996 Declaration of CyberspaceIndependence is one of the earliest and mostfamous examples. Barlow sought to articulatehis vision of the internet as a space that isfundamentally different to the offline world, inwhich governments have no jurisdiction. Sincethen civil society has tended to focus on charterswhich apply human rights standards to theinternet, and which define policy principles thatare seen as essential to fulfilling human rightsin the digital environment. Some take a holisticapproach, such as the Association for ProgressiveCommunications’ Internet Rights Charter(2006) and the Internet Rights and PrinciplesCoalition’s (IRP) Charter of Human Rights andPrinciples for the Internet (2010). Others areaimed at distinct issues within the broader field,for instance, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’sBill of Privacy Rights for Social Networks (2010),the Charter for Innovation, Creativity and AccessInternet charters and principles / 51


to Knowledge (2009), and the Madrid PrivacyDeclaration (2009).• Initiatives targeted at the private sector Theprivate sector has a central role in the internetenvironment through providing hardware,software, applications and services. However,businesses are not bound by the same confinesas governments (including international lawand electorates), and governments are limitedin their abilities to regulate businesses due tothe reasons outlined above. A growing numberof principles seek to influence private sectoractivities. The primary example is the GlobalNetwork Initiative, a multi-stakeholder groupof businesses, civil society and academia whichhas negotiated principles that member businesseshave committed themselves to follow toprotect and promote freedom of expression andprivacy. Some initiatives are developed predominantlyby the private sector (such as the AspenInstitute International Digital Economy Accordswhich are currently being negotiated); othersare a result of co-regulatory efforts with governmentsand intergovernmental organisations.The Council of Europe, for instance, has developedguidelines in partnership with the onlinesearch and social networking sectors. This ispart of a much wider trend of initiatives seekingto hold companies to account to human rightsstandards in response to the challenges of aglobalised world where the power of the largestcompanies can eclipse that of national governments.Examples of the wider trend include theUnited Nations Global Compact, and the SpecialRapporteur on human rights and transnationalcorporations’ Protect, Respect and RemedyFramework.• Intergovernmental organisation principlesThere are many examples of principles anddeclarations issued by intergovernmental organisations,but in the past year a particularlynoticeable trend has been the emergence ofoverarching sets of principles. The Organisationfor Economic Co-operation and Development(OECD) released a Communiqué on Principlesfor Internet Policy Making in June 2011. Theprinciples seek to provide a reference pointfor all stakeholders involved in internet policyformation. The Council of Europe has createda set of Internet Governance Principles whichare due to be passed in September 2011. Thedocument contains ten principles (includinghuman rights, multi-stakeholder governance,network neutrality and cultural and linguisticdiversity) which member states should upholdwhen developing national and international internetpolicies.• National level principles At the national leveltoo, some governments have turned to policyprinciples as an internet governance tool. Brazilhas taken the lead in this area through its multistakeholderInternet Steering Committee, whichhas developed the Principles for the Governanceand Use of the Internet – a set of ten principlesincluding freedom of expression, privacy andrespect for human rights. Another exampleis Norway’s Guidelines for Internet Neutrality(2009) which were developed by the NorwegianPost and Telecommunications Authority in collaborationwith other actors such as internetservice providers (ISPs) and consumer protectionagencies.Advocacy, campaigning, dialogueand networkingCivil society uses charters and principles to raiseawareness about the importance of protecting freedomof expression and association online throughpolicy and practice. The process of drafting thesetexts provides a valuable platform for dialogue andnetworking. For example, the IRP’s Charter of HumanRights and Principles for the Internet has beenauthored collaboratively by a wide range of individualsand organisations from different fields ofexpertise and regions of the world. The Charter actsas an important space, fostering dialogue abouthow human rights apply to the internet and forgingnew connections between people.Building consensus around demands and articulatingthese in inspirational charters providecivil society with common positions and tools withwhich to push for change. This is demonstratedby the number of widely supported civil societystatements which refer to existing charters issuedover the past year. The Civil Society Statementto the e‐G8 and G8, which was signed by 36different civil society groups from across the world,emphasises both the IRP’s 10 Internet Rights andPrinciples (derived from its Charter of Human Rightsand Principles for the Internet) and the Declarationof the Assembly on the Right to Communication.The Internet Rights are Human Rights statementsubmitted to the Human Rights Council was signedby more than 40 individuals and organisations andreiterates APC’s Internet Rights Charter and theIRP’s 10 Internet Rights and Principles.As charters and principles are used and reiterated,so their standing as shared norms increases.52 / Global Information Society Watch


When charters and statements are open to endorsementby different organisations and individualsfrom around the world, this helps to give them legitimacyand demonstrate to policy makers that thereis a wide community of people who are demandingchange.While the continuance of practices which aredetrimental to internet freedom indicates that theseinitiatives have not, so far, been entirely successful,there are signs of improvements. Groups likeAPC and the IRP have successfully pushed humanrights up the agenda in the Internet GovernanceForum. Other groups are hoping to emulate theseefforts to increase awareness about human rightsin other forums. The At-Large Advisory Committee,for instance, is in the beginning stages of creating acharter of rights for use within the Internet Corporationfor Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).An alternative to hard lawAn increasing number of governments around theworld are introducing new laws and regulationsdesigned specifically to govern internet communications.These can have adverse implicationsfor freedom of expression and association. Oneillustration of this is the increasing trend of governmentsplacing formal requirements on intermediaryservice providers to monitor the activities of theirusers. This effectively stifles innovation amongservice providers and reduces the range of platformsthat people can use to express themselvesand associate online. On a global level, there areincreasing calls for a global treaty to govern theinternet. Many human rights advocates are concernedthat, given the present push back againsthuman rights standards by powerful countries, theoutcome of such a treaty may erode rather thanadvance freedom of expression and other rights.Policy principles offer a more flexible alternative,enabling coordinated policy making without runningthe risk of enshrining detrimental standards ininternational law, or stifling innovation. Freedom ofexpression and association are already enshrinedin internationally legally binding conventions suchas the International Covenant on Civil and PoliticalRights. Many argue therefore that we do not neednew legal standards, but to find ways of enforcingthose which already exist in the context of digitalcommunications.Furthermore, processes for defining policyprinciples tend to be more open than those establishinginternational conventions or nationallaw, allowing civil society greater opportunityto influence and shape the approaches adopted.Over time, charters may help to forge internationalagreement around the normative dimensions ofinternet policy. The influence and input from civilsociety can be inferred from the fact that most setsof principles invoke similar language to that of civilsociety declarations – particularly with respect tofreedom of expression.Nonetheless, principles will not automaticallypromote human rights; for example, the OECDCommuniqué, while widely praised for following amulti-stakeholder process and recognising principlesincluding freedom of expression and access toinfrastructure, also includes language that wouldpush intermediaries to police and enforce laws ontheir networks. Because of this it is an ongoingchallenge to ensure that the principles approachfurthers rather than reduces respect for humanrights.Charter overload?A growing concern is that there are now too manydifferent charters and principles. This could fragmentcivil society efforts: when different groupscongregate around different sets of principles theyhave less power than if all civil society groups wereto promote the same set. However, those chartersand principles which are high quality and perceivedto be legitimate are likely to stand the test of time,being adopted by a critical mass of stakeholders.Those with less support will be neglected. Furthermore,different kinds of charters may be useful indifferent contexts. For example, the Brazilian principlesare useful for advocacy in Brazil as they wereformulated by local stakeholders for a nationalaudience. However, charters with a more specificinternational orientation may be more useful in internationaladvocacy work.This viewpoint, however, neglects the fact thatcharters with support from economically and politicallypowerful groups are more likely to prevail.Civil society declarations usually do not have thesame power as those developed by large companies,powerful governments or intergovernmentalagencies. Because of this there is no guaranteethat these will provide adequate protections forfreedom of expression and other public interestdimensions of the internet. This is exacerbatedby a lack of meaningful multi-stakeholder participationin the formulation of many charters anddeclarations.The proliferation of charters and principles canalso contain conflicting standards. This enablesgovernments and companies to pick and choosethose standards which are most in line with theirown interests. Similarly, soft law and voluntarystandards can lack effective enforcement andInternet charters and principles / 53


accountability mechanisms, allowing stakeholdersleeway in how they interpret and implement thestandards. Charters can be manipulated to supportbrand and image without actually resulting ina change in policy or practice.ConclusionThe proliferation of charters and sets of principlesin recent years has been, to date, a positive phenomenon,raising awareness about the importanceof protecting and promoting freedom of expressionand association; building consensus about whatinternational human rights standards mean in theinternet environment; and allowing diverse actorsto feed into internet governance processes. As newcharters and declarations continue to emerge, thechallenge for human rights advocates is to pushfor policy coherence between different initiativesand to ensure that rigorous protection of humanrights is upheld in them all. A further challenge is toensure that governments and companies act in accordancewith the charters and policy declarationsthat they sign up to, scrutinising their policies andbehaviour to guarantee that they are in line withtheir commitments.While charters and declarations are importanttools in internet governance, recent years have seengrowing calls for formal and binding internationaltreaties on the world stage. Any standards that arecodified in the future are likely to follow the courseof emerging agreement around existing chartersand declarations. Because of this it is critical thatcivil society engage with all ongoing processes topromote the highest protection for human rightsin the emerging consensus on internet governancenorms and principles. n54 / Global Information Society Watch


Mapping rights


Mapping internet rights and freedom of expressionDavid Souterict Development Associatesdavid.souter@runbox.comIntroductionThe intersection between the internet and humanrights, including freedoms of expression and association,is increasingly important as the internetbecomes more universal, and increasingly complexas the internet affects more aspects of society,economy, politics and culture. This report suggeststwo ways to map this intersection, and raises anumber of questions that need to be considered bythose concerned with the internet, with rights, andwith wider public policy.The first of these mapping frameworks is basedon the location of rights within current debatesabout internet public policy. The second is basedon the relationship between the internet and theframework of rights set out in the Universal Declarationand the International Bill of Human Rights.Internet public policy, rights and freedomof expression and associationA number of attempts have been made to map debatesaround internet governance (decision makingthat concerns the internet itself) and internet publicpolicy (decision making that concerns the interfacebetween the internet and other public policydomains). Many of these, like that of the WorkingGroup on Internet Governance in 2004, locate issuesalong a spectrum from• Highly internet-centric issues such as critical internetresources, through• Issues which are internet-specific but have publicpolicy implications such as spam and cybercrime, and• Issues of wider public policy which are stronglyimpacted by the internet, such as intellectualproperty, to• Broad public policy issues such as developmentand democratic participation.While this is useful, the increasing complexity andreach of the internet into public policy make it insufficientfor in-depth analysis. Research for theAssociation for Progressive Communications (APC)and other civil society organisations, presented inItaly in 2010, suggests that more complex mappingis required to place rights issues such as freedomof expression within the broad picture of debatesaround internet public policy. This more complexmapping focuses on two dimensions, concernedrespectively with issues and with institutions andstakeholders. 1Mapping internet issues enables us to identifya number of core themes within current internet debates.Some of these are concerned with technicalissues such as internet standards and coordination/administration; some with broad issues of publicpolicy such as economic interchange, developmentand environmental impact; some more specificallywith issues of rights, culture and governance. Theycan be illustrated conceptually as in Figure 1, eachsection of which can be broken down into morespecific issues if required. The section that is concernedexplicitly with rights is located at the bottomof the diagram.The value of mapping issues in this way istwofold. Firstly, it helps to move beyond a broaddiscussion of the overall interface between theinternet and rights towards a more nuanced discussionof the relationship between the internet andspecific rights, such as freedom of expression andassociation. A lot of current debate is based aroundthe idea that the internet necessarily enhances humanrights, or that particular decisions regardingthe internet necessarily threaten rights. Lookingat individual rights issues and debates more specificallyenables us to build a more sophisticatedunderstanding of what is happening and why.Secondly, it helps to identify links betweenrights issues and aspects of other public policy domainswhich have significant rights implications,but which appear in different areas of the map.Examples of these include affordability aspects of“access” and diversity aspects of “culture”.The rights issues identified in Figure 1 are wideranging, including freedom of expression and consumerrights, privacy and defamation, intellectualproperty and child protection. This is not a comprehensivelist, and individual rights agencies willhave different priorities. They can also drill down in1 A full report on this research can be found at: www.apc.org/en/pubs/books/mapping-internet-public-policyMapping rights / 57


figure 1.Mapping internet public policy issueseach of these to a deeper level of granularity, andto considering the implications in different nationalcontexts in which rights are more or less guaranteedin law and practice and more or less established aspublic norms.The second dimension of this mapping exerciseis concerned with institutions and stakeholders. Tounderstand how decisions concerning the internetand rights are taken, and where the pressure pointsat which rights agencies can exert influence lie, it isnecessary to map the decision-making environmentthat overlays these issues of internet public policy.In practice, that environment includes diverseinstitutions from both mainstream public policyand internet governance contexts. Decisions oroutcomes concerning the extent of freedom of expression,for example, emerge from the interactionbetween international rights frameworks, nationalgovernments, private businesses such as internetservice providers which can open or close accessto information or expression, citizens who use theinternet as a means of expression (and often tobypass legal constraints), and civil society organisations,some of which seek to broaden freedom ofexpression and some to place boundaries around it.This is a complex multi-stakeholder environment,but it is possible to overlay a map of theauthority of different institutions on the kind ofissues mapped in Figure 1 in order to gain clarityabout which institutions exert decision-makingpower, whether globally or in national contexts.Figure 2, for illustrative purposes, suggests theprincipal areas in which the Internet Corporation forAssigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) influencesinternet public policy. 2The final aspect of this mapping exercise to considerhere is the relationship between internet rightsand rights in general. Two issues are important.The first concerns the relationship betweeninternet rights, human rights (as set out in theUniversal Declaration) and other rights which individualsmay hold (including, for example, consumerrights and employment rights, which result fromlegislation that is enacted at national level). Thereis often confusion between these, while there arealso significant areas of overlap and interpretation,which have been changing over time. Article2 Thanks to Dr. Konstantinos Komaitis for input on this diagram.58 / Global Information Society Watch


figure 2.Mapping internet public policy – the example of ICANN19 of the Universal Declaration, for example, grantseveryone the right “to seek, receive and impartinformation and ideas through any media and regardlessof frontiers.” Does the reference to “anymedia” imply a right of access to media such as theinternet, or merely a right to make use of such mediaas are available to the individual at the time andplace in which s/he lives? Opinion on this is dividedand has been changing over time as the internet hasgrown in reach and in importance.The second concerns the relationship betweeninternet rights and mainstream human rights advocatesand networks. As in other interfaces betweeninformation and communications technology (ICT)specialists and those in other public policy fields,there can be a substantial difference of perspectiveshere:• Mainstream human rights advocates tend tobuild their analysis of rights issues, threats andopportunities on the international Covenants,on interpretations by UN and other internationalagencies, and on international and nationallegal instruments to enable individuals to exercisetheir rights.• Internet rights advocates, by contrast, oftenbuild their analysis of rights on the foundingprinciples and ways of working of the internet,which enable people to extend the exercise ofrights by bypassing constraints rather thanthrough legal instruments.These are significantly different paradigms, andthey raise important questions about whether thereis at present a consistent understanding of the relationshipbetween internet rights and mainstreamhuman rights amongst those who are concernedwith the legal framework for rights and means fortheir expression. This is especially significant wherethe second mapping framework discussed in thisarticle is concerned (see below).It is also important to recognise that these debatesare taking place within a multi-stakeholdercontext. Rights debates are not the preserve of rightsactivists, but are part of a broader discourse thatinvolves governments, intergovernmental organisations,international non-governmental institutions,businesses, civil society organisations with varyingperspectives, and individual citizens whose rights areMapping rights / 59


under discussion and who have highly varied viewsabout them. The significance which multi-stakeholderparticipation has achieved in internet governanceadds to the complexity of this multi-stakeholdercontext, as does the exceptional prominence in theinternet world of non-governmental internationalentities such as ICANN and the Internet EngineeringTask Force (IETF).Human rights, internet rightsand freedom of expressionThe second mapping exercise which is proposedhere also concerns the relationship between internetrights, human rights and rights in general.Particular attention has been paid in discussionabout the interface between the internet andrights to ways in which the internet has enhancedopportunities for people to exercise freedom ofexpression, obtain access to information (freedomof information) and organise collectively (freedomof association). How do these relate to the broaderrights regime?The international human rights frameworkas we know it was established by the UniversalDeclaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948 andsubsequently entered into international and nationallaw in the 1960s/1970s through the InternationalCovenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic,Social and Cultural Rights. It also includesother international instruments such as the UN Conventionon the Rights of the Child.Discussions of the UDHR often present it as alist of individual rights which have cumulative force,the most prominent of which tend to be those concernedwith freedom of conscience (Article 18),freedom of expression (Article 19) and freedom ofassociation (Article 20). Some of that discussionappears to give those articles primacy over otherrights within the Declaration. In practice, however,the Declaration recognises that the exercise ofrights can be conflictual – that there are occasionson which the exercise of two different rights, orof the same right by different people, can be incompatible– and therefore involves the need forbalance. Article 29 addresses this in two ways, byasserting that the rights set out in the Declarationare “subject only to such limitations as are determinedby law solely for the purpose of securing duerecognition and respect for the rights and freedomsof others and of meeting the just requirements ofmorality, public order and the general welfare in ademocratic society.”Article 29 is obviously open to interpretation,and the relationship between it and Article19’s guarantee of freedom of expression is centralto many contests over censorship and other constraintson freedom of expression/publication.These arise generally, in relation to different interpretationsof the imprecise terms “morality, publicorder and general welfare in a democratic society”,but also specifically, in relation to constraints onthe scope of freedom of expression or publicationwhich are implied in other articles of the Declaration.These arise in:• Article 3, which asserts the right to life, libertyand security (the root of constraints against incitementto violence against the person, hatespeech, etc.)• Article 7, which guarantees protection againstincitement to discrimination• Article 11, which guarantees legal protectionagainst “arbitrary interference with … privacy[and] correspondence” and against “attacksupon … honour and reputation”• Article 27, which asserts a right to intellectualproperty (“protection of the moral and materialinterests resulting from any scientific, literary orartistic production”) and, arguably• Article 10, which guarantees the presumption ofinnocence (often interpreted as imposing constraintson the reporting of criminal arrests andtrials).These articles represent limits to the scope offreedom of expression as declared in Article 19. Inpractice, all societies have imposed constraints onfreedom of expression, for a variety of reasons rangingfrom political censorship and protection of socialor religious norms to protection against incitementto racial hatred and protection of individual rightsof privacy. Some restrictions on publication havehigh levels of public support, particularly whereit is perceived to conflict with privacy (e.g. healthrecords, credit card information and other personaldetails) or with children’s rights. While no articlesso clearly affect freedom of conscience or association,many governments have interpreted “morality,public order and general welfare” as enabling themto restrict the latter.Debates concerning what, if any, boundariesshould be placed around freedom of expression andassociation were current long before the UniversalDeclaration, let alone the internet, and this is notthe place to rehearse them further. What is significanthere, however, is that the internet has greatlyextended the ability and means to exercise freedomof expression and association, changed the ways in60 / Global Information Society Watch


which they are being exercised, and thereby alteredthe balance which prevailed in the pre-internet erabetween Articles 19, 20 and other rights. This iswhy the meaning of freedom of expression is nowcentral to discussion of international and nationalrights regimes.There are four main ways in which the internethas impacted here which are important from apublic policy perspective. Internet specialists needto understand the dynamics of these from thatperspective in order to address the implications ofinternet rights effectively.Firstly, the internet – particularly the web andsocial networking – has changed the nature ofpublication. Rather than being largely restrictedto a relatively small number of official agenciesand businesses, the opportunity to publish hasbecome effectively universal, making constraintson publication (in its widest sense) more difficultor impossible for governments to enforce. This isparticularly important in the expression of opinion,where it is analogous to the early impact of theprinting press 600 years ago.Secondly, it has made it much easier for thosewho wish to publish or access material which isillegal in a specific jurisdiction to bypass legal constraints.The most prominent area of debate here hasconcerned pornography, particularly child pornography,but there are wider public policy issues aroundquestions such as restrictions on religious content insome jurisdictions, the publication of incitement toracial hatred, the marketing of pharmaceuticals andweaponry, the sharing of identifying information andthe publication of websites and online content whichare designed to extort money.Thirdly, it has made it much easier to publishmaterial anonymously. On the one hand, this hasencouraged transparency, freedom of expressionand association, especially where these have beenconstrained. On the other hand, it has disrupted thebalance between freedom of expression and therights concerning privacy and defamation which areincluded in Article 11 of the UDHR.Fourthly, it has made the protection of intellectualproperty rights much more difficult, disruptingthe constraint of freedom of expression wherethese are concerned which was set out in Article 27of the Universal Declaration, as well as the elaborationsof that balance in international intellectualproperty law.The internet’s ability to change the relationshipbetween different types of rights, generally infavour of freedom of expression and association,is substantial and significant. For most within theinternet community, this has been a matter forcelebration. Some activists and internet users havealso seen it as an opportunity to ignore or overturnlegal constraints which they oppose, particularlywhere intellectual property is concerned. Otherrights organisations argue that a legal frameworkis the only way in which the exercise of rights canbe effectively enforced. Governments and othershave sought to find ways of adjusting legal frameworksto accommodate new internet realities, withvaried success from their and from citizens’ pointsof view.The question of whether the internet changesthe rights and freedoms set out in the UniversalDeclaration is not new but is important. The argumenthere is that it changes the ability to exercisethose rights, and that this has changed the meaningof rights to stakeholders in ways that were notenvisaged when the Declaration was agreed. Thatmakes the relationship between the internetand the international rights regime a significantpublic policy issue, which governance institutionsand other stakeholders must address. Those whoare concerned about rights and internet rightsneed to understand and analyse what is happening,whether they see it as an opportunity to extendthe exercise of rights, sustain the existing rightsregime, or move towards a new understanding ofrights and the exercise of rights for a post-internetera. Mapping the impact of the internet on rightsand on their exercise is an important step in thatdirection. nMapping rights / 61


© 2010 Zapiro (All rights reserved). Printed with permission from www.zapiro.com. For more Zapiro cartoons visit www.zapiro.com


Country reports


IntroductionAlan FinlayThe authors of these country reports were encouragedto select a story or event to write about thatillustrates the role of the internet in defending humanrights. The result is a rich collection of reportsthat approach the topic of the internet, humanrights and social resistance from different angles –whether discussing the rights of prisoners to accessthe internet in Argentina, candlelight vigils against“mad cow” beef imports in South Korea, the UK Uncutdemonstrations in London, or online poetry asprotest in China.The contexts in which these stories occur arediverse, with different implications for social mobilisationusing the internet. In many, the potential ofthe internet to galvanise progressive social protesthas proved critical. In the United Kingdom (OpenRights Group) events demonstrated how social mediahave become the “standard mobilisation toolkit”for civil protest. In Bosnia and Herzegovina (owpseefoundation), “Facebook, with all the criticism ofits privacy and security, is today the space wheregrassroots initiatives and informal groups in BosniaHerzegovina start their activities, connect with eachother and do things.”These reports also show how the internet hasan extraordinary power of making visible thatwhich many would prefer to keep secret. Indonesia(EngageMedia Collective Inc.) demonstrateshow difficult and delicate documenting the invisiblecan be – and the country report is worthreading for practical (and ethical) issues to takeinto consideration. “Making visible” is not onlya way of documenting and speaking out, and ofmobilising widespread support for a cause; itis also used to hold authorities accountable fortheir actions. Activists in Jordan (Alarab Alyawm)“always take into consideration the worst thatthe police could do. Because of this they assignsome participants the task of documenting everythingin the events, especially if police attackdemonstrators.”While countries like Iran (Arseh Sevom School)look to create a “halaal” internet – “one that is purefrom immoral websites” – Morocco (DiploFoundation)shows how the internet can disrupt entrenchedideas of citizenship:[T] he common citizen (...) took refuge in the socialand citizen media channels to lead a radicalchange of the idea of the state-citizen relationship.This relationship was based on a top-downapproach to decision making when it came tostate policies – while the internet helped tomake these decisions evolve around the citizens’needs.In Tunisia (Arab World Internet Institute), theinternet catalysed an essentially “leaderless” revolution,and in Costa Rica (Sulá Batsú), “the essentialpart [of the internet] is the spirit and the power oforganising without organisations.”Reports show that it is not always civil societyorganisations with formal mandates that galvanisesocial resistance. Often protests are catalysed byself-organising individuals who meet online andinstigate protests and campaigns for change, andwho otherwise would have very little to do with civilsociety causes. Resistance to importing “mad cow”beef into South Korea (Korean Progressive NetworkJinbonet) is sparked by spontaneous interactionsamongst young people: “In the beginning, the mostenergetic participants were young people who hadspent the entire day at school and used the internetand SMS to organise their friends and debate variousissues.”The role of satire in social protest is seen in anumber of reports collected here. In China (Danwei)this is felt in poems written in response to a hit-andrunincident involving the son of a deputy director ata public security bureau (known as the “My dad is LiGang” online protests), made all the more strikingin that they draw on classical Chinese poetry andphilosophy:The philosopher Mencius (Mengzi in Chinese,372-289 BC) said:君 子 穷 则 独 善 其 身达 则 兼 善 天 下If a gentleman is poor, he does good works insolitude; if he is rich, his work is for the good ofthe whole world.The Li Gang version:穷 则 独 善 其 身富 则 开 车 撞 人If a gentleman is poor, he does good worksin solitude; if he is rich, he drives his car intopeople.Country reports / 65


But what is equally striking is that many authors –often long-time activists for internet rights – showa growing ambivalence to the idea of the internetas simply a positive social phenomenon. The roleof the internet activist, the reports suggest, is anincreasingly complex one; and few unequivocalstatements can be made about its social agency.Countries such as Bulgaria (BlueLink Foundation)show that as much as the internet can be a force forprogressive political change, it offers a vehicle forreactionary politics too – a different kind of “socialresistance”. In that country reactionary groups areincisive in using the internet to push their agenda:[E]xtremist online groups are meeting morefrequently offline than online social activists.While social researchers point out the growingnumber of Facebook groups and causes insupport of neo-fascism, reminiscent of Hitler’streatment of minorities, and protest againstsocial policies supporting the long-term unemploymentof Roma, offline incidents showthe neo-Nazis do act in accordance with theirclaims. In the summer of 2010 two cases of violenceemphasised the fact that the problem ofintolerance is not a dormant or discursive oneany more.The revolutions in North Africa have shown howsocial media can be an ally in the organisation andmobilisation of people, but also how authoritarianregimes use the internet to counter progressive socialand political change. Similarly, in Thailand theinternet has been used effectively to support theconservative politics of the monarchy, as Arthit Suriyawongkul(Thai Netizen Network) observes: “Whatcan then be called a ‘digital witch hunt’ emerged, asusers began hunting down those who were againstthe monarchy.”The tension between online activism and socialmobilisation in public is felt throughout these reports– at times with a sense that it is difficult forauthors embedded in internet practice and thinkingto find words for “offline” protest and demonstration.Even though the idea that the revolutions inNorth Africa were “Twitter revolutions” or “Facebookrevolutions” has been debunked by most,there is still a tendency to think of the internetnot just as an alternate public sphere – a place ofmultiple counterpublics – but as something moreliteral: a vehicle for the creation of “cybercountries”populated by “netizens” that can, the South Koreanreport suggests, offer “cyber asylum”.While these are just ways of describing the phenomenonthat the internet has become, some ofthe reports suggest a growing discomfort with theinternet as a place of refuge, with its negative implicationsfor active engagement in civil protest. Manyreports mention the difficulty of translating supportfor a cause expressed through clicking on “Like”or “I’m attending” buttons on a Facebook pageinto public mobilisation. As Iran puts it: “The internethas also effectively turned the activist into asolitary, protesting computer user, fighting againstmultiple government computers.”This attention to the dangers of over-relying onthe internet for social mobilisation is felt sharplyin countries that either do not have access or adequateinfrastructure (whether through censorshipor underdevelopment). In Lebanon (Mireille Raad),for instance, activists felt excluded from the socialprotests taking place in the region:With the Arab Spring and revolutions beingshared online, activists in Lebanon are feelinghelpless not being able to broadcast their opinionsand take on events that directly affect theirown country. This showed the Lebanese thatthey are actually suffering from a subtle andworse form of censorship.In Kazakhstan (Adil Nurmakov), even the mostcreative online interventions – a “remixed” and“redubbed” Shrek animation satirising a referendum– have little widespread impact because ofthe low levels of access in the country. In a differentway, Japan shows that, in the wake of the recenttsunami, even highly developed countries face thedanger of over-dependency on technology for civicmobilisation and communication.The power of the internet to “make visible” alsohas the inverse effect of a kind of visibility that impactsnegatively on other rights, particularly whenit serves the state. In the Netherlands (Institutefor Information Law), advocating for privacy rightsis a key concern – it is a country that could be“sleepwalking into a surveillance society.” 1 Whilethe internet can “protect” against authoritarianregimes, it can also expose those who are alreadyvulnerable. In Thailand:The personal data of victims, including theirhome addresses and phone numbers, wereposted online. One person was even physicallythreatened, as the groups tracked down withreasonable accuracy – within a one-kilometre1 Richard Thomas, the English Information Commissioner, quotedin Ford, R. (2004) Beware rise of Big Brother state, warns datawatchdog, The Times, 16 August 2004.66 / Global Information Society Watch


adius – where she lived (probably using socialmedia), and offered a cash bounty to anyonewho would “surprise” her at home.But it is precisely this ambivalence towards theinternet that makes the focus on online social activismfor human rights such an important areato explore – and these reports, from 55 countriesacross the globe, make an important contributionto the discussion. The stories captured here haveimplications for everyone engaged and concernedwith the state of the world we live in. And, as youwill see, there are many worrying trends, as muchas there are moments of unexpected community, ofspontaneous and shared struggle made possible bythe internet.Many of these reports also offer practical adviceand solutions to harness the potential of theinternet to galvanise progressive social resistanceeffectively – actions steps for civil society – and offerways to avoid its pitfalls. But they are not just forICT4D specialists or internet activists. They unpackin a concrete way the growing implications of theinternet for the political sphere – and the wideningpossibilities for social activism and engagementthat are opening up for the person in the street. nCountry reports / 67


ARGENTINAAccessing the internet as a right in prisonsNodo TAUFlorencia Roveriwww.tau.org.arIntroductionIn Argentina – as in many other countries across theworld – the conditions of confinement in prisonsdo not guarantee life. People in jails are deprivedof more rights than their freedom. Prisons do notensure access to health, education, food, hygiene,dignified conditions in cells and decent treatment ofprisoners. The main problems that affect the conditionsin correctional facilities are overcrowding andinstitutionalised violence.Meanwhile, public policies that address theseissues are influenced by two factors. On the onehand, facing a sense of an increase in violent crime,middle and higher social income groups demandtougher penalties, with a reprehensible disregardfor the conditions under which sentences are enforced.This claim is amplified by the media. On theother hand, the political power responds to thissituation with a so-called “punitive demagogy”, 1deciding to construct more prisons and increasingpolice controls, detentions and imprisonment.These measures do not resolve the problem, fallingmore severely on impoverished classes and favouringthe penal system as a tool for solving socialconflicts. 2The precarious conditions of confinement andthe absence of public policies based on civil rightsare worsened because of the opacity and inaccessibilityof the country’s prisons. Any resource thatenables voices to be heard on the plight of prisonershelps to illuminate the darkness of the prisonsystem. In this context, access to the internet forprisoners, besides offering them a source of information,and a way to communicate with the outsideworld and to organise collectively, serves as a mediumfor free expression that is indispensible to theirright to tell their own stories.1 CELS (2011) Derechos Humanos en Argentina. Informe 2011, CELSand Ediciones Siglo XXI, Buenos Aires. www.cels.org.ar/common/documentos/CELS_FINAL_2011.pdf2 CELS (2008) Capítulo III: La situación carcelaria: una deuda denuestra democracia, in Derechos Humanos en Argentina. Informe2008. www.cels.org.ar/common/documentos/carceles_ia2008.pdfPrison policyThe Argentine Constitution specifies in Article 18:The prisons of the Nation shall be healthy andclean, and used for security and not for unduepunishment of the prisoners confined therein.Any action taken under the pretext of a precautionarymeasure that leads to the degradationof prisoners beyond what the measure requiresshall make the judge that authorises this actionresponsible for the decision. 3Argentina, as a federal republic, has a federal penitentiaryservice and several provincial services withtheir own regulations. Law 20.416 governs the performanceof the federal service, defining as its mainfunctions:• Ensuring the safety of persons in custody, andthat the prison regime contributes to preservingor improving their moral conditions, educationand physical and mental health.• Promoting the social rehabilitation of convicts.The numbers appear to contradict these objectives.According to a 2008 report from the National Systemof Statistics on Enforcement of Sentences (SNEEP), 4the prison population is 54,537 (increasing from29,690 in 1997). This means 137.22 prisoners per100,000 inhabitants. These figures place Argentinain sixteenth position in the world, based on officialdata from each country. 5 As for the status of thesentence, 47% are convicted and 52% are awaitingtrial. 6SNEEP is meant to publish periodic reports toassess the implementation of prison policies, but ithas not published reports since 2008, and when itdoes there are many inaccuracies. Its statistics donot count police station holding cells, for instance,which are also overcrowded, making it difficult toevaluate the number of prisoners in terms of prison3 www.argentina.gov.ar/argentina/portal/documentos/constitucion_nacional.pdf4 www.jus.gov.ar/media/108979/Informe%20SNEEP%20ARGENTINA%202008.pdf5 International Centre for Prison Studies (2009) World PrisonPopulation List, King’s College, London. www.kcl.ac.uk/depsta/law/research/icps/news.php?id=2036 www.jus.gov.ar/media/108979/Informe%20SNEEP%20ARGENTINA%202008.pdf68 / Global Information Society Watch


capacity, and to define measures to address theproblem.Other sources indicate that in the first half of2010, 3,849 acts of violence were reported in thecountry’s prisons, which gives an average of 10.5cases per day. 7 Of the total, 929 were cases of prisonstaff violence against inmates, and 849 were fightsbetween inmates. Another 348 cases were labelledas “self-harm” and 282 as “accidents”, data thatmay be related to acts of violence that have beencovered up. Another statistic from 2006 8 shows thatonly 3.44% of the cases are brought to trial and only0.36% result in a sentence.Most actors in the judicial system seem to havebecome accustomed to the conditions of the prisonsand the institutional violence and do not reporteither. 9 Paradoxically, some groups of inmates considerthese conditions necessary to learn to survivein violent prisons. These facts place the problem inthe complex field of cultural attitudes.Given the continuing violation of detainees’rights, in May 2005 the Supreme Court declaredthe United Nations (UN) Standard Minimum Rulesfor the Treatment of Prisoners 10 as the guideline forall detention institutions to follow. Furthermore, inJune 2006, Argentina ratified the UN’s Optional Protocolto the Convention against Torture and otherCruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishmentthrough Law 25.932. The protocol establishesa mechanism of prevention through regular visitsto facilities, but the issue is still pending, and themechanism is not yet in place. 11Silenced facts behind the wallsInstitutionalised violence is more difficult to attendto because of the opacity and inaccessibility ofprisons. Although inmates have set ways that allowcommunication with the outside world, and havecontact with state and social actors that work to improvetheir prison conditions and to institutionalisetheir demands, a shadow is cast over much of whatgoes on in prisons.Among state actors, the Prison Ombudsman’sOffice 12 is in charge of protecting inmates and controllingpenitentiaries. Amongst civil society, thework of the Centre for Legal and Social Studies(CELS), the Coordinator Against Police and InstitutionalRepression (CORREPI) and the Coordinator of7 www.comisionporlamemoria.org/comite/informes/informe_2010.pdf8 Ministerio Público Fiscal (2006) Informe Anual al Congreso de laNación. www.mpf.gov.ar9 CELS (2011) Op. cit.10 www.spf.gov.ar/pdf/ReglasMinimasparaelTratamientodeReclusos.pdf11 www.cels.org.ar/common/documentos/mnpt_proyecto.pd12 Procuraduría Penitenciaria de la Nación: www.ppn.gov.arWork in Prison (CTC) stand out. They work on theinstitutionalisation of inmate demands and they allrefer to the difficulties in accessing prisons. Theyalso participate in so-called “dialogue tables”,which are meetings of “pavilion representatives”, 13prison authorities and external actors. Thesesorts of initiatives are valuable mechanisms butnot always conducive to hearing complaints fromprisoners.Prisoners’ rights to communication shouldnot be affected except in those cases in which asentence explicitly states that they may not communicatewith the outside world. Law Enforcement24.660, which regulates the implementation ofsentences, 14 defines in its Article 158 that “inmateshave the right to communicate regularly, orally or inwriting, with their family, friends, lawyers, and representativesof government agencies and privateinstitutions with legal status who are interestedin their social reintegration” and in Article 164 itstates that “they have the right to be informed ofevents of national and international life throughsocial communication media.” The law also refersto a document dealing with “Rules of Inmate Communication”,which expands on the legal provisionsabove. 15From day-to-day descriptions of life in prison,detainees report that telephones are frequently inaccessiblefor long periods of time. 16 Mobile phonesare forbidden, but many inmates manage to smugglethem in. However, if authorities allow prisonersto have phones, they would, for instance, be able tolog them and track their use in crimes, and wouldavoid the difficulty of having to make sure that thephones are not smuggled into the prisons. Mobilephones have also been used for recording and reportingviolence. 17Voices passing through walls…We cannot break down the walls and gates butwhat we can do is allow the voices of those whoare sentenced to silence and oblivion to passthrough them. – Rodolfo Walsh AgencyThe headline shouts: “Model Rehabilitation Institute:114 fatalities in less than 10 years”. The article13 The prisons are divided into so-called pavilions.14 www.infoleg.gov.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/35000-39999/37872/texact.htm15 www.spf.gov.ar/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=108&Itemid=3516 Information obtained through email interviews with prisoners ofRegional Unit 3 and the Coronda Penitentiary.17 www.enfoque365.net/N19146-torturas-en-crcel-argentina-fueronfilmadas-y-difundidas-por-internet-y-telfonos-celulares.htmlARGENTINA / 69


was published by “Ciudad Interna” (Inner City) –the blog of a group of inmates in a so-called modelprison in Coronda – after the death of four detaineesduring a conflict. The article complains that themeasures that authorities take in general after thiskind of episode amount only to punishment andconfinement. Because of this, most conflicts resultin the death of inmates.Coronda, the biggest prison in Santa Fe province,is called a “model” prison because it usedto have a school, a sports field and housed theworkshop of a garment and shoes manufacturerthat offered the possibility of social reintegrationafter prisoners had served their sentence. Politicalprisoners were jailed there during the last militarydictatorship (1976-1983) and – more recently – itwas the scene of an uprising which ended with fourteenprisoners killed, in April 2005.After the uprising, a group of inmates startedmeeting with the objective of publishing a magazinewritten entirely by them. They were assistedby two journalists who ran a workshop. The publicationwas called “Coronda: Ciudad Interna”and it was the first step towards a bridge that thegroup started to build, linking them to the outsideworld. Later they started a radio station forinmates, 18 and then began to negotiate for accessto the internet.There is no legislation in Argentina that preventsaccess to the internet in jails. In several prisons itis used in distance learning projects, generally inpenitentiary libraries. 19 In Coronda internet accessfor distance learning was already in place throughan agreement with the University of Litoral. 20 However,Ciudad Interna wanted to extend the time ofthis access. With the support of a group of lawyersthey prepared a habeas corpus in which they arguedthat “digital exclusion means the deprivationof the human right to communicate,” conceivingcommunication through the web “as an extensionof human possibilities.” They stated: “Nowadaysthe internet enables us to transcend the prisonwalls, to take our complaints to the outside, to trainourselves in a job, to keep in contact with the worldin order to intervene in reality and thus to have thepossibility, perhaps, to transform our present conditionof exclusion and marginalisation.”The group finally obtained access to the internet.The technology and the connection they got18 www.ciudadinterna.blogspot.com19 Román, A. (2008) Pensar Internet como elemento de reinserción en lospenales argentinos. www.biblioteca.jus.gov.ar/roman_bteca_pen.pdf20 www.unl.edu.ar/noticias/leer/7351/Acuerdo_entre_la_UNL_y_la_provincia_por_la_Educacion_en_Prisiones.html and www.uba.ar/extension/trabajos/uba.htmwas unstable – and only a few computers wereavailable. They shared these with all of the prisoners,which made communication difficult and slow.In turn they complained that this was an “excuseused by penitentiaries to leave us cut off [from theoutside world].”Generally, access is restricted in terms of time.The prisoners who do get access send email andsearch for information; also, “some prisoners havemet girls with whom they begin a relationship, othershave found jobs they can go to when they get out.”Others use instant messaging (IM) to “chat” – duringa recent conflict an inmate used IM to contact aCTC staff member who called the prison authorities.Instantaneous communication by chat or mobilephones (when they are smuggled in) facilitates rapidintervention to avoid increasing tension.Computer rooms are frequently the birthplaceof training and communication projects. “Oncewe had the connection, we did not know anythingabout internet and there was no one to teach us.People from outside helped us to create email accountsand later the blog,” Ciudad Interna said.The magazine and the blog are mainly dedicated tocomplaints about violations of human rights. Whenan article deserves more attention, they also useemail to circulate it. “The group called this procedure‘la gatilladita’ [little trigger] because we reachour contacts directly and they do not need to consultthe blog.”In a recent post, the prisoners published ahistorical analysis of penitentiary service in Argentina.21 They wrote:Navigating in this expansive virtual field, welearn about how what was used as a militarystructure became a prison. But because noteverything is on the internet, we will providereliable information – not disseminated bythe mass media – with the intention that anill-informed society gets to know about prisonconditions in increasingly crowded jails. … Asit stands, bad men continue to control [prisoners]…torturing and killing… without anyonedoing anything to stop it.After publishing the article on the blog, they also sentit out by email. Nine websites republished the post –including some recognised independent media.This example shows the potential of the internetas a medium to publish to the outside world, and asa source of information and means of contact andsocialising. Today Ciudad Interna is a self-managed21 ciudadinterna.blogspot.com/2011/04/pareciera-que-del-titulo-deesta-nota.html70 / Global Information Society Watch


media site produced by detainees, with the help offormer detainees, and even relatives and workingprofessionals.Similar experiences are found elsewhere: LaCantora 22 from Unit 4 in Bahía Blanca; the blog Caracolesen Red (Snails on the Web) 23 from the FederalPsychiatric Hospital in Buenos Aires; Rompiendo elSilencio (Breaking the Silence), 24 a blog by Unit 3and the blog Mujeres tras las rejas (Women BehindBars) by Unit 5, both in Rosario. 25 These publicationsform a network, so that if one is silenced, theothers sound the alarm.Conclusions• The prison system in Argentina is not able toguarantee human rights due to structural andcultural limitations. In addition, it is also difficultto know what goes on inside prisons. Anymeans to shed light on prison conditions couldhelp in making the public aware, and reportingon the situation. Self-managed projects andspaces promoted by civil society organisationscontribute to this possibility.• Although there is no legislation that preventsinmates from accessing the internet, it is notguaranteed for all detainees – only for thosewho organise and complain to the authorities.• Internet access would allow inmates to maintaincontact with their families, to keep informedabout their communities, their country and theworld, to build capacities for social reintegration,and to remain emotionally healthy.• The web, specially the blogosphere, is veryuseful when it comes to awareness of what happensinside prisons, and for reporting on theviolation of rights.Action steps• Contribute to the debate about the importanceof guaranteeing widespread access to the internetin prisons.• Promote the creation of internet access points,so that all prisoners have the possibility tosend email or find information. Access can offervarious forms of assistance and help, as well astraining.• Discuss the ban on mobile phones in prisons,and promote the use of wireless connectivity.• Demand that data collection tools be developedso that quantitative and qualitative informationon various issues in prisons can be collated toinform policy. This could also be used to collectstories on the use of the internet in prisons toanalyse the potential of the internet to rehabilitateprisoners. n22 www.lacantora.org.ar/inicio.php23 caracoles-en-red.blogspot.com24 rompiendoelsilenciou3.blogspot.com25 mujerestraslasrejas.blogspot.comARGENTINA / 71


AUSTRALIABlocking content, blocking rightsEngageMedia Collective Inc.Andrew Gartonwww.engagemedia.orgIntroductionThe Australian government’s response to WikiLeaks’publication of leaked United States (US) StateDepartment diplomatic cables in November 2010sought to criminalise both the organisation and itsfounder and editor-in-chief, Australian citizen JulianAssange.In spite of significant public and media industrysupport for WikiLeaks, both Australia’s PrimeMinister Julia Gillard and Attorney-General RobertMcClelland placed their support squarely behindthe US 1 and its persecution of Assange, WikiLeaksand its staff. 2Parallels emerged with the Howard government’s3 dispassionate response to David Hicks andMamdouh Habib, 4 two Australians held withoutcharge and in violation of their basic democraticrights in the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay.The call from Australia’s political leadership toseek legal grounds for Assange’s arrest and to criminalisethe work of WikiLeaks, when no legal groundsexisted for either, 5 also reignited debate about theLabor Party’s single-minded efforts to introduce acontroversial mandatory internet content filter.The writer and commentator called Stilgherrianasks, “Why aren’t our politicians considering uscitizens and our rights?” It is these rights, the democraticrights of all Australians who are finding their1 Nicholson, B. (2010) WikiLeaks acts ‘illegal’: Gillard government,The Australian, 10 December. www.theaustralian.com.au/in-depth/wikileaks/wikileaks-acts-illegal-gillard-government/storyfn775xjq-12259685843652 AAP (2011) Australia ‘helps US target WikiLeaks staff’, TheAustralian, 13 February. www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/australia-helps-us-target-wikileaks-staff/storyfn3dxity-12260051588053 John Howard was the 25th prime minister of Australia, representingthe Australian Liberal-National coalition, which led the federalparliament from 11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007.4 Lander, K. (2004) Government sceptical over Hicks torture claims,Lateline, 20 May. www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2004/s1112658.htm5 Hayward, A. (2010) Law not broken but WikiLeaks illegal:PM, Nine News, 17 December. news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8185173voice and the will to question and act through theinternet, that are at odds with the so-called cleanfeed internet filter. The clean feed drew so muchpublic condemnation, and with a minority governmentcomprised of independents and Greens withno stomach for an internet service provider (ISP)-level content filtering system, that it was shelveduntil at least 2013 – though the impetus for its creationis far from idle. 6Policy and political backgroundThe ease by which Australia complies with internationalconventions, from cyber crime to intelligencegathering, draft or otherwise, describes an increasinggulf between Australian politicians and thecitizens they are meant to represent. Through the1990s Australia continued to display the tolerance,empathy and cultural diversity that grew from the1970s with the abolition of the White Australia Policy(1973), 7 its intake of Vietnamese and Cambodianrefugees (1976) and, a decade later, the creation ofthe Office of Multicultural Affairs and the AustralianCouncil of Multicultural Affairs (1986), both of whichwere to create a National Agenda for a MulticulturalAustralia. Another decade on and the political climatein Australia was about to change.In 1996, only four months after the Howardgovernment took office, they came good with anelection pledge and closed down the Office ofMulticultural Affairs. Multiculturalism was to be“zeroed”, instructed the new treasurer, Peter Costello.The remaining Department of Immigrationand Citizenship would have the majority of its fundswithdrawn.The breakdown of an increasingly educated,knowledge-focused and pluralist society was on itsway. With massive cuts to higher education and agradual decimation of humanities, language andreligious studies to follow, it would be another fouryears before the curtain would seek to be drawn onAustralians’ right to privacy and free speech online.6 Moses, A. (2010) Conroy’s net filter still alive and kicking, SydneyMorning Herald, 10 September. www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/conroys-net-filter-still-alive-and-kicking-20100910-1540s.html7 Fact Sheet 8 – Abolition of the ‘White Australia’ Policy. www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/08abolition.htm72 / Global Information Society Watch


On 11 September 2001, John Howard, visitingthe US, invoked the ANZUS Treaty and strengthenedmilitary ties with the US, unquestioningly enteringboth Iraq and Afghanistan. This stirred the flame ofhate for minorities, particularly asylum seekers inAustralia. The freedom to seek refuge and asylumfrom abuse on Australia’s shores would be severelytested.It was in this climate of fear, suspicion and increasingcontempt for informed public discussionand transparency that the subsequent AustralianLabor Party which came to power proposed themuch maligned mandatory clean feed filter, and themeasures that would follow as it simmered on thepolicy back burner.Blocking content versus blocking rightsMuch like the rest of the developed world, Australians,who once hailed theirs as “the luckycountry”, live in an environment governed by economicconcerns, fluctuations in currency markets,increasing interest rates and threatening statistics.Traditional media are struggling to definethemselves through headlines that continue toopine economic peril. Many leading politicians areturning their back on our experts. Given a minoritygovernment, held together by three independentsand the Greens, the only wedge of common senseand courage in a political environment that is byand large conservative, is driven by short-termgoals and ambitions.The definition of insanity is doing the samething over and over again and expecting differentresults. Albert EinsteinWhen the clean feed was introduced it met with unparalleledbacklash from the public, civil society andISPs. The clean feed’s architect, Senator StephenConroy, Minister for Broadband, Communicationsand the Digital Economy, continued to back it timeand time again. Tests proved the technology wouldslow internet usage, but Conroy persisted. Industryleaders suggested it would hamper internet usageand stifle innovation. Conroy ignored their concernsand pressed harder. Campaign after campaign ridiculedthe proposal and sought to test the minister’sexpertise, which appeared limited.Conroy continued to condemn those who wereagainst the policy as supporters of the kind of informationhe was wanting to protect Australians from.It was not until a leaked blacklist of sites appearedon WikiLeaks that the proposal started to come undone.It took an election to see the policy put on theproverbial back burner. But what is driving the cleanfeed? We are not quite done with it yet.It is not the government’s role to be a net nanny.It is the role of every single household. RobOakeshott, independent member of the Houseof Representatives, AustraliaSince 1 July, leading Australian ISPs, includingTelstra, Optus and Primus, have voluntarily undertaken,with the support of their industry association,the Internet Industry Association (IIA), to implementthe blocking of sites on an Interpol list of childabuse websites. 8 At the same time, the AustralianCommunications and Media Authority (ACMA) iscompiling a list of its own, and it is seeking to havesites on its blacklist reviewed by the ClassificationBoard. ACMA’s list is said to include “material thatmeets the criteria for Refused Classification underthe National Classification Code for containing offensivedepictions or descriptions of children.” It isunder this basis that the Classification Board willformally classify sites for the filtering scheme.Nevertheless, while the ACMA administers a coregulatoryscheme for online content, 9 at the time ofwriting the Classification Board has not yet set outguidelines for the classification of online content asit has done, for example, for films and more recentlycomputer games. 10 It is also not yet clear which ofAustralia’s ISPs will agree to implement it.The IIA is less than enthusiastic about the ACMAblacklist. The government sees the implementationof the Interpol blacklist as an “interim step”, fuellingspeculation by the IIA that the government’smandatory filter could be taken up by ISPs througha “backdoor” mechanism. However, the IIA’sscheme, according to Electronic Frontiers Australia(EFA), provides “no clear governance and oversightfrom the people affected by it.”The EFA is concerned that being an internationallist that no Australian agency can contribute towithout international cooperation, the Interpol listwill not satisfy the government. David Cake, EFA’schair, suggests that this position will not only “makelegislation perhaps easier to sell, but it opens theway for further (perhaps non-legislative) additionsto the filter – and the decision to add this filteringscheme, as a voluntary industry scheme, is one withvirtually no consumer or civil society input.”8 Moses, A. (2011) Internet censorship machine quietly revs up,Sydney Morning Herald, 20 July. www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/internet-censorship-machine-quietly-revs-up-20110720-1ho0y.html#ixzz1V4sQXzkP9 Australian Communications and Media Authority,Online regulation. www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_90169#coreg10 Classification Board, Guidelines for the Classification of Films andComputer Games. www.comlaw.gov.au/comlaw/management.nsf/lookupindexpagesbyid/IP200508205?OpenDocumentAUSTRALIA / 73


But it is not all about protecting Australiansfrom content governments do not wish them to see.There is an increasing desire to know what peopleare saying to each other, both online and throughthe myriad of communications devices in use.In Australia the quality of debate has largelybeen deplorable: soporific on one side and hystericalon the other, ugly, dumb and bullying,marked by a “Gotcha!” approach in sectionsof the media, with relentless emphasis on fear,the short term, vested interests and a mindlesspopulism. Barry Jones, Honorary (ProfessorialFellow), Melbourne Graduate School of Educationat University of MelbourneAs the appetite for a more informed conversationin the national media increases, one may not bewrong in thinking that Australians are turning to theinternet to stay informed. Here independent mediaand public debate are flourishing. This has, inturn, inspired a new form of media within nationalinstitutions such as the Australian BroadcastingCorporation’s popular Q and A 11 and the SpecialBroadcasting Service’s Go Back to Where You CameFrom. 12 We may well be seeing an increase in thenumber of informed, politically literate and activecitizens in Australia. If this is the case, why thenseek to criminalise the tools we use to both informand protect ourselves?The story is the same the world over. Activistshave been using computer networks since theirappearance in the mid- to late-1980s. With everytechnological advance, activists migrated from oneplatform to another exploiting their use to give voiceto the unheard, to document the perils of the unseen,from the forests of Borneo to the streets of Egypt.When once their communications were secure, orrelatively unknown, new technologies have madeactivists vulnerable, but they have also made theminventive. So long as an open internet can be maintained,that inventiveness will serve the cause of freespeech and open democracies – but it can also harbourand protect the practices of really bad people.Governments will always try to monitor citizens’“secure” communications – and corporationswill always help them. Dan Gillmore, director,Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship,Arizona State UniversityGovernments across the planet seek to profoundlychange the way activists and the generalpublic at large communicate with each other. Western11 www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda12 www.sbs.com.au/shows/gobackgovernments will, on the one hand, speak out againstthe restrictions imposed on internet access duringthe uprisings in Egypt, but will call for similar impositionswhen the hard issues need to be addressedand citizens demand that they are. Australia is noexception.A proposal on data retention, inspired by the EuropeanUnion’s Data Retention Directive, 13 is beingdriven by the Australian Federal Police and couldsee all web browsing history of Australian internetusers logged for law enforcement to access. 14 Arepresentative from the Attorney General’s Departmentstated that the Department is “consideringthe merits of comparative data retention proposalsto enable security and law enforcement agencies tomaintain access to telecommunications informationto assist with investigations.” 15The Environment and Communications ReferencesCommittee of the Australian Senate produceda report in April 2011 analysing whether Australiashould implement such a plan. A report 16 consideringthe adequacy of protections for the privacy ofAustralians online made five key suggestions thatgovernment should consider prior to proceedingwith data retention legislation, 17 asking the Australiangovernment to:• Produce an extensive report analysing thecosts, benefits and major risks of data retentionlegislation• Demonstrate that retaining data is necessary forlaw enforcement purposes• Quantify and justify the costs to ISPs of implementinga data retention law• Assure citizens that data retained will be storedsecurely and subject to appropriate accountabilitymechanisms• Consult with a wide range of stakeholders, includingNGOs which the government has yet toconsult.13 eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2006:105:0054:0063:EN:PDF14 Jacobs, C. (2010) AFP pushing for invasive data retention, ElectronicFrontiers Australia, 7 September. www.efa.org.au/2010/09/07/afppushing-for-invasive-data-retention15 Parenell, S. (2011) Canberra rethinks retention regime on ISPsubscriber records, The Australian, 26 July. www.theaustralian.com.au/news/investigations/canberra-rethinks-retention-regimeon-isp-subscriber-records/story-fn8r0e18-122610160967416 Senate Environment and Communications References Committee(2011) The adequacy of protections for the privacy of Australiansonline. www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/ec_ctte/online_privacy/report/index.htm17 Electronic Frontiers Foundation (n.d.) Mandatory Data Retention.www.eff.org/issues/mandatory-data-retention74 / Global Information Society Watch


So far the recommendations remain as such: recommendationswith no clear indication as to whetherthey will be taken up in any form.ConclusionsWhat is the problem these measures are designedto address? Filters can be circumvented. Data canbe encrypted. Voices that wish to be heard will finda way to reach communities that wish to listen andreally bad people will pay to conceal their activities.The internet has given Australians a means tonot only express their democratic rights, but alsoto exercise innovation in the use of those rightsfor public debate. This report has described a vigorous,determined, all-embracing attack on thoserights through political posturing targeting a fearfulpopulation and conservative values. It is wrongto not stand up against child abuse, for instance;but when this is used as an argument to stymie allmanner of online content, one can only wonder whythe same approach is not taken to shut down theoperations of those who would pollute the ArtesianWater Basin through the controversial practice ofcoal seam mining.There are millions of websites that host questionablecontent. It would seem far easier to put anend to the practices that harm the health of all peopleboth now and into the future than to attempt tonarrow the means by which we can inform ourselvesof such folly. Perhaps therein lies the answer.Call it draconian or whatever they like, but anysociety needs supervision and regulation. DD,online comment to The Age article, “Censoringmobiles and the net: How the West is clampingdown” 18Perhaps Australians prefer to be protected, to besupervised and regulated. Perhaps Australians donot wish to be reminded that they are, no matterwhere they came from, part of the rest of the world.There is need for “protection”, but by whom andfor what end or gain? Responsible parenting, for instance,is simply that. But the nanny state appearsto want to parent all Australians, at the expense,it seems, of the liberties expressed online. Selfregulationis an option that the IIA is exploring. Ithas worked in the past, in other information communicationsectors, the motion picture industry forinstance.In 1966 the Motion Picture Association of America,in response to what were already considered antiquatedcensorship restrictions of their industry, came upwith a rating system of their own. A form of industryself-regulation created avenues for an independentscene that saw no reason to rate itself whatsoever.The independent filmmakers of the past decade havesought to make films on their own terms and employalternative forms of distribution. Theirs is a world thatseeks not to stifle, but to open debate on all issues;not to criminalise taboos or critique, but to encouragea more open and honest society where the majoritytake responsibility for their actions, where theirelected leaders protect, but do not parent, and seek toeducate and nurture their constituencies. Censorshiplimits life, but life knows no limits. Australians woulddo well to not think only of themselves as living in the“lucky country”, but as responsible, creative and nurturingcitizens on a lucky planet!Action steps• Support initiatives that promote an open internet.Become a member of EFA.• Join GetUp.org.au and advocate for the maintenanceof civil liberties when they are challenged.• Engage in public debate on the issues raised inthis report. Publish your own views or supportthe views of those whom you respect and raisethe calibre of discussion from passive acceptanceto being informed and active in shapingthe future of your community, your nation andits contribution to the planet at large.• Find the means to use social media sites forlocal, community initiatives. Just as Australiansgathered on social media sites duringunprecedented natural disasters in early 2011,from Cyclone Yasi to flooding across the stateof Queensland, local use of these tools willstrengthen their everyday use and further preventintrusion into their use by governmentsand civil authorities. n18 Moses, A. (2011) Censoring mobiles and the net: how the Westis clamping down, The Age, 15 August. www.theage.com.au/technology/technology-news/censoring-mobiles-and-the-net--how-the-west-is-clamping-down-20110815-1itsx.html#ixzz1V5lJBiivAUSTRALIA / 75


BANGLADESHCampaigning against war criminals onlineVOICEAhmed Swapan Mahmud and Farjana Akterwww.voicebd.orgIntroductionBangladesh attained independence after a ninemonthwar against Pakistan in 1971, during whichlocal collaborators set up by fundamentalistpolitical parties engaged in genocide. The UnitedNations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC), in its1981 report on the occasion of the 33rd anniversaryof the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,stated that the genocide committed in Bangladeshin 1971 was the worst in history. It is widelyaccepted, both inside and outside of Bangladesh,that a total of three million Bengalis were killed byPakistani troops and their local allies. The UNHRCreport said that even if a lower figure of 1.5 milliondeaths were accepted, the killings took place at arate of between 6,000 to 12,000 per day, lasting for267 days of carnage. This made it the most intensegenocide in history.We achieved our independence through a sacrificeof human lives. We had to undergo tragedies ofunprecedented proportions. What finally helped usto drive the occupation forces out of our sacred landwere our indomitable spirit, sheer grit and determinationmore than anything else. At the same timeone should also recall with gratitude the supportprovided by our neighbour India, both militarily andby the Indian people. 1The genocide in 1971 was helped by many localfundamentalists, including members of the religiousJamaat-e-Islami party. They formed a militia whichallegedly helped identify victims and also took partin the killings. Their leaders were absolved after thewar and are now prominent opposition political figures.2 The government wants to put them on trial,but they claim they are innocent and that this is apolitical move.On 25 March 2010, after 39 years of independence,the current government of the Awami League1 www.thedailystar.net/suppliments/2011/26_march/pg2.htm2 www.secularvoiceofbangladesh.org/Fotoes/Report%20on%20the%20war%20criminals..%A8%A8/Report%20on%20the%20war%20criminals.htmparty formed the International Crimes Tribunal, dedicatedto the prosecution of war crimes committedduring the 1971 war of independence. The people ofBangladesh have been united since independenceto bring all war criminals to justice and punish themfor war crimes and crimes against humanity. Theyare waiting to hear the verdicts against the hatedwar criminals.While the peoples’ movement against war criminalsstarted at independence, it is now strongerthan ever before, largely because of new media. Byusing the internet, young people have promoted themovement. They have successfully spread its message,not only in Bangladesh but all over the world,by blogging, using social networking sites, and onlineweb forums.Policy and political backgroundBangladesh has a comprehensive information andcommunications technology (ICT) policy, whichwas passed in 2002, and a National Telecom Policy,which was passed in 1998. The present governmenthas placed considerable importance on ICT issuesand on the digital rights of people. Around 10 millionpeople now use the internet, while in 2008 thenumber of users was around 4.8 million.A National ICT Task Force has been formedand a programme called the Support to ICT TaskForce (SICT) has been initiated by the governmentto help with implementation and monitoring. Thegovernment has also started a multi-stakeholdere‐government forum. This includes several importantministries, academics, NGOs and the private sector.In 2007, during a military caretaker regime, thecountry lacked freedom of expression both in printand electronic media. One of the most highly circulatednewspapers, Prothom Alo, had to suspend thepublication of its weekly satire supplement calledAlpin. Cases were filed against the editor, publisherand cartoonist of the Bangla daily Prothom Alo.Saptahik2000, a popular magazine supplement,was stopped because of a story where the writercompared Kaaba Shareef (a holy place in Meccawhere the prophet Muhammad was buried andwhere the holy pilgrimage takes place) to a brothel. 33 www.e-bangladesh.org/2007/09/20/attack-against-freedom-ofspeech-bangladesh-cartoon-controversy-update76 / Global Information Society Watch


The military government also set guidelines for TVtalk shows and other programmes.Before coming to power, the present governmentalways spoke in favour of freedom of thepress and freedom of expression – but now thatit is in power, the situation has not improved. Theelectronic and print media are simultaneously beingpressurised by the ruling party. Private TV channelshave shut down and one channel did not get permissionto broadcast, while others have receivedlicences and will be on the air soon. In 2010 Facebookwas banned for days because it published acartoon of the prime minister in a commentary on areligious matter.Newspapers in Bangladesh are alreadycompelled to self-censor to avoid any form of harassmentby the state. Bangladesh has a Right toInformation (RTI) Act and a commission has beenformed under the Act. The RTI Act is expected tocreate a more open and democratic society. But thisdoes not seem to have happened yet. Under the establishedexceptions and for security reasons thegovernment has blocked people’s right to know.The role of ICTs in citizen mobilisationICTs have had a great impact on numerous peoples’movements in the world because of their ability toallow the general public to participate. The role ofonline social resistance is very important. The internetallows people to communicate, exchange ideasand organise themselves. It also facilitates a kindof political process that is different to the conventionalpolitical system. A group of people sharing acommon interest and vision collectively have greatercapacity and resources to campaign when usingthe internet.It has been said that online media allow easyaccess to information. The internet is a place offree-flowing information where people can expressanything anytime. It is a unique place to build people’smobilisation and give them a voice against anunjust and unfair society.In the case of Bangladesh, the internet can beused to publish photos, videos and documentarieswhich offer solid evidence of the genocide in 1971.The war left three million people dead, and 200,000women were assaulted. All these hated activitieswere perpetrated by local collaborators such asthe Rajakar (also spelled Razakar), Al Badar and AlSham militias.The online campaign against war criminals isintensifying. Different groups have been created forthe cause on social networking sites like Facebookand Twitter. These groups are very active in distributingmessages to their lists. YouTube also helps todistribute videos. A Facebook group named “50,000BANGLADESHIS UNITED AGAINST WAR CRIMINALSAND RAJAKARS OF 1971 BANGLADESH” has publishedan official list of Razakars. Groups called“Trial For War Criminals In Bangladesh” and “StandAgainst RAJAKAR” are vigorously pushing policymakers for justice.Independent writers, bloggers and journalistshave formed a pressure group to push for the prosecutionof war crimes. For example, War Criminalsin Bangladesh 4 is a very strong blog which publishesphotos and stories of atrocities committedby Razakars in 1971. Sachalayatan 5 is another veryprominent blog in Bangladesh. It focuses on allkinds of injustices in society. It publishes articlesand critical perspectives on war criminals in Bangladesh.Sachalayatan is playing a very decisive rolein the campaign.Amar 6 is another blog run by enthusiastic onlineactivists. Recently they established an onlineresearch foundation. The main objective of thefoundation was to include young people in researchon struggles for freedom, and to make this researchavailable online. As part of its campaign, Amar alsoorganises meetings and seminars on online campaignsagainst war criminals.The International Crime Strategy Forum (ICSF) 7is an active and strong online coalition against warcriminals in Bangladesh. The ICSF had been formedto promote the cause of justice and at the sametime to facilitate the fair trial of the perpetrators ofthe 1971 war crimes, irrespective of where they nowlive, their political connections or their status in thesociety. Through this campaign the ICSF wants tostrengthen the movement against war criminals byinstilling a sense of justice, independence and freedomin the hearts of future generations. The ICSFhas been providing reference resources to the publicusing the internet. For instance, it has set up thee‐Library 71 8 which includes reference materials onthe 1971 genocide.To make the campaign more effective, the ICSFhas been running an online media archive. 9 Thisarchive contains recent media reports and blogcoverage related to war crime prosecution in Bangladesh.It also has a group blog platform to discussand analyse current developments related to warcrimes and criminals of 1971 generally and prosecutioninitiatives specifically.4 warcriminalsinbangladesh.blogspot.com5 www.sachalayatan.com6 www.amarblog.com7 icsforum.org8 icsforum.org/blog/category/archives/e-library-719 icsforum.org/mediarchiveBANGLADESH / 77


New media are being used to organise protestson the ground. These include demonstrations andthe collection of signatures for campaigns. Theseactivities push the government to take action.ConclusionOnline campaigns and resistance are stronger thanmovements on the ground, and have grabbed attentionnationally and internationally. The end resultis that the government has considered it its moraland political duty to bring war criminals before tribunals.It has started to try war criminals – a movewhich has been encouraged by people’s activism.Action steps• Lobby government for access to the internet.• Mainstream ICT policy development.• Online campaigners should include key policyactors when dealing with important nationalissues.• Content should be in both local and internationallanguages so that everybody can access it.• Visual media should be emphasised when seekingto influence public opinion.• There could be more coordination among onlinegroups and blogs. n78 / Global Information Society Watch


© 2010 Zapiro (All rights reserved). Printed with permission from www.zapiro.com. For more Zapiro cartoons visit www.zapiro.com


eninICTs in education in Benin: Elusion and the light of hopeCréACTION BENINBarnabé Affougnonwww.ogouman.blogspot.comIntroductionThe era of people sitting around a tree for endlessdiscussions is now past. Now is the time of screens,paper and multimedia, with the internet as a cornerstone.This is a fast world, full of images, texts andsounds, moving as fast as light. However, to keeppace with that light, the true light, is not an easytask. We mean the light which can help get rid ofignorance; the light that brings in changes in businesses,moving them to develop.To ignore new technology is to be a misfit in today’sworld. It is to lag behind a story that humankind hasmade up. We spoke to Cedric, a student in sociology. Awriter and poet, Cedric got a scholarship for Brusselsas a writer-in-residence. One of the requirements wasthat he had to use a computer with an internet connectionwhile in residence. Too bad, he knew nothingabout computers, even though he attended computerclasses when he was in high school. Basically, thecourses were theoretical and insubstantial.Meanwhile, his colleagues, African or Europeanresidents, were making good use of the machine,proudly showing documents they had produced ina relatively short time.Ironically, Cedric is from Benin, a country wherecomputer and internet classes in a number ofschools are compulsory, and the use of technologyis encouraged and advertised by the media. However,learners continue to be introduced to technology“in theory”, rather than practically. The governmentexercises no control over information and communicationstechnology (ICT) training programmes. Theeducation system continues to be run with flaws,and there is almost no curriculum guidance.The French political document, the Declarationof the Rights of Man and Citizen of 1793, states inArticle 3: ‘’All men are equal by nature and beforethe law.” This right is inalienable. But culturally, thisright is problematic. People in all continents have notreceived the same education, do not have the samehistory; therefore, they do not have the same opportunities.In this context, even Cedric was lucky.The challenge of ICTs in education in BeninThe national strategy for ICTs in Benin is well defined.By 2025, Benin must become ‘’the digitaldistrict of Africa’’. This strategy has two essentialcomponents. The first component relates to the developmentof e‐business. The second componenttakes into account e‐government and e‐education.The aim is to connect all government and educationalinstitutions in order to boost development atthe national level.Unfortunately, in practice, this is more difficult.The ICT learning programme is not yet widespread inschools. Therefore, the digital gap is getting wider.The rate of internet use is still very low in Benin.Among over 200 students surveyed, only 3% have acomputer and 15% use the internet for their studies.The reasons given are threefold. The first is economic.The students do not have the money to buycomputers. The purchasing power of these learnersdoes not allow them to acquire these materials.The second reason relates to the teaching system.There are few teachers and lecturers who can teachcomputer classes. Mostly they are individuals whohave attended introductory courses in computersand the internet, and have only partial knowledgeof the discipline.The last reason relates to the difficulties inlearning how to use technology well – which comesfrom using technology regularly.Because of these factors, we can say that accessto knowledge is unevenly shared.Sad fate, sad situation for Cedric, a young studentof eighteen, registered for his first year insociology and anthropology at the University ofAbomey-Calavi in Benin, truly immersed in thisreality. Lured by the attractive and misleading advertisementsof ICTs in education in one of thecomputer schools in the city, Cedric realised he hadbeen duped. What motivated Cedric to register atthat school was the computer classes it claimed ittaught there. To have a good command of typing,being able to use the internet, chat, find information,was a dream for the young learner, a steptowards reality.But by the end of the year, the only things heknew were the definitions of the different parts of acomputer: screen, keyboard, mouse, monitor, hard80 / Global Information Society Watch


disk, computer. Generally, the computers he usedwere first-generation computers (Pentium 1) or second-generation(Pentium 2), largely because theywere less expensive to buy. But these computersare subject to untimely breakdowns and malfunctionsduring training programmes. The Pentium3s that are found in some schools are consideredluxury items, sophisticated objects placed on desksand covered up for protection.Another serious problem is the instability ofelectricity supply. There are frequent power cuts.When they occur, classes automatically stop, giventhe absence of generators. Classrooms are also notair-conditioned. And up to eight students clusteraround a single computer to work. The time spentat the keyboard was considered short. “The classwas a boiler and everyone was fighting to breatheeasily,” Cedric told us in our interview with him.Given the lack of laws and regulations, educationalinstitutions lure young pupils and studentsto their classes through what amounts to false advertising.The practical arrangements put in placein these schools are outdated and do not facilitateaccess to quality training. Unfortunately, this sorryand even illegal situation continues, and is legitimisedby a number of school authorities who havethe protection of a few political leaders.As a result, despite attending the school, Cedrichas not yet discovered the advantages and benefitsof using a computer and the internet. The studentsknow nothing about discussion groups or socialnetworking. Cedric has just a poor idea of thesetools, which many students of his age in other partsof the world manipulate skilfully.The right to access the internetMy mother often says, ‘’The five fingers are notequal, yet they are all together.” The realities of Beninare not those of Togo, neither those of the IvoryCoast nor of France. The needs expressed in thesecountries reflect the existing emergencies there. InBenin, education is an “emergency” and the stateis well positioned to help Cedric recover his right toaccess the internet, one that allows him to accessinformation.The educational system in Benin, despite thenoticeable progress made since the ConférenceNationale des Forces Vives de la Nation (NationalConference of Active Forces of the Nation) in 1990has faltered. Several ongoing reforms do not appearto be working, especially those related to newteaching programmes. One is the teaching of ICTs.Unfortunately, many schools in Benin have no electricity,no telephone lines. The cost of hardware isstill too high given the budget allocated to eachschool for operating expenses. This all contributesto the failure of ICT projects in the educational arenasuch as the GLOBE Project in 1996, NTIC-EDUCin 2000 and the Project for Introducing Computersin Schools (PIIES), based in the Ministry of Primaryand Secondary Education.A reluctance is also observed in the school systemwhere teachers who are computer illiteratedo not want to admit it, because they are afraid oflosing their jobs. Following our investigations, itturned out that many educators do not want to betaught about computers in their schools at risk ofbeing treated as if they belong in the backwaters ofthis changing century. Some argue that they are nolonger able to learn anything. Why?They refuse to face the new difficulties a computerintroduces into their lives. This narrow-mindedattitude reduces the chances of introducing thesetools into school programmes.Cedric lives this policy failure.ConclusionsThe growing development of ICTs has profoundlychanged people’s ways of thinking and acting in thecommunity. ICTs contribute to the strengthening ofsocial ties. Basic computer literacy and a good commandof IT applications are essential to getting toknow the realities of the changing world.Unfortunately, Western countries have a clearlead over the Southern ones. The result is a digitaldivide which is a key factor of underdevelopment.ICT development initiatives and forums are set upby multinational corporations, political leaders andmembers of civil society in an effort to bridge thedivide – regional and international summits such asthe World Summit on the Information Society beingone such effort.In Benin, efforts to promote an enabling environmentfor the use of ICTs continue. The state’sregulatory framework, including tax exemptions forhardware, and the numerous ICT projects, includingan increase in the number of cybercafés in major cities,help to some degree. Schools and universitieshave been gradually introducing computer and internettraining programmes in their classes.However, real difficulties remain: the availabilityof computer hardware, the training and capacityof teachers who are responsible for teaching thediscipline, financial difficulties relating to the managementof computer rooms. As a result, like thecomputers they use, the training of students isstill not reliable. The courses are unregulated andinconsistent. There is a mismatch between thetraining promised and the course content in theprogrammes. Teachers are not evaluated by theBENIN / 81


state. The student performance officially recordedis not credible.Yet the need for training remains high. It is onlyby meeting this demand properly that we can buildan “Emerging Benin” where socioeconomic and intellectualdevelopment is supported by ICTs.Action steps• The state should back up its ICT policies and visionsby supporting ICT education programmesin schools and universities.• State strategies should involve both nationaland international NGOs.• Computer education should be integrated intoall public schools and universities.• Computer classes should be part of free educationat primary school.• Computer courses should be a separate subjectin official exams – it should no longer be an optionalsubject.• Courses should be run enabling teachers tobuild their ICT capacity.• The state should gradually build rooms specificallydesigned for computer classes.• All schools and universities with computersshould be connected to the internet.Action steps for directors and heads of schools• The heads of schools should develop objectivecriteria in the selection of teachers to ensurequality training for learners.• The internet should be used for knowledgesharing among teachers, including courses andcurricula.• New computer hardware should be installed tofacilitate effective learning. n82 / Global Information Society Watch


BOLIVIAThe new institutional advocacy: *A human rights model for the information societyREDES FoundationJ. Eduardo Rojaswww.fundacionredes.orgIntroductionThe Bolivian Constitution promulgated on 9 February2009 restores a new historical process ofstructural reconstruction that proposes to changethe neoliberal corporate state model into a community-orientatedone. But since then, the country hasexperienced social, political and economic restructuringcharacterised by excessive state centralism,which has gradually affected all spheres of dailylife, including internet development.In November 2009 the federal police closed downthe Cyber Crime Division, arguing that there were notenough cases to justify it. Since then, the situationhas not changed. Between 2009 and 2011, the massmedia reported on an increase in violations of humanrights on the internet and using mobile phones, principallyagainst young people, women and families.In response to this situation, since April 2010the REDES Foundation has implemented a programmecalled ENREDOMINO: Developing ActiveCitizenship in the Information Society. This involvesseveral initiatives led by volunteers, including highlyqualified professionals, unleashing new kinds ofsupport for legislative reforms and for processes ofcreating awareness and sharing information abouthuman rights in the information society.A national culture of human rightsin the information societyBolivia has a short history of developing the informationsociety. Between 2004 and 2005, a NationalStrategy for Information and Communications Technologiesfor Development (ETIC) was passed.This was the result of a multisectoral process thatmobilised different sectors of the population. Nevertheless,due to the political instability and change ofleadership that took place until 2006, this strategywas not adopted by the government, even thoughit has been inserted in the current National Plan for* Refers to the defence and promotion of human rights in theinformation society, working with professionals and volunteersfrom the REDES Foundation.Development. In August 2010, believing that theETIC was still in a stage of “formulation”, the Agencyfor the Development of the Information Society inBolivia (ADSIB), part of the Vice-Presidency of theState, decided to create a brand new Digital Agenda,restarting the entire planning process from scratch.Over the last five years the state has invested inseveral infrastructure projects led by governmentalentities. Some of the projects include: the installationof the Túpac Katari satellite; a project calledBolivia: Territory with Total Coverage (TCT) by thestate-run telecommunications company ENTEL; OneComputer Per Teacher, a programme by the Ministryof Education; and the academic network calledCLEAR, run by the vice ministry. Though Bolivia hasseveral initiatives aimed at reducing the digital gap,it does not have many initiatives aimed at eliminatingthe information and knowledge gap.Institutional advocacy in theENREDOMINO programmeBetween 2009 and 2011 the situation of humanrights in the Bolivian information society can besummarised as follows:• The new Bolivian Constitution assumes a humanrights approach to societal affairs, and this facilitatesa human rights approach to the internet.• However, no state policies dealing with accessto information on the internet integrate a humanrights approach.• No state actor has promoted human rights on theinternet.• At the same time, there is evidence of the population’soverexposure to online crimes (e.g. cyberbullying, trafficking and child pornography).• There are no approaches, methods or educationalstrategies that promote the responsible use ofthe internet or mobile phones.• There are no experiences on human rightsapproaches documented in the domain of informationand knowledge.• Internet governance does not exist in Bolivia.• No actor assumes leadership for directing thedevelopment of the digital culture with a multisectoralor transdisciplinary approach.BOLIVIA / 83


• Old ways of violating human rights are reproducedonline and are not addressed, due to thelack of institutional capacity.In April, 2010, the REDES Foundation presentedthe results of research – conducted using its ownresources – on access to and social use of the internetin Bolivia. The results found that no initiativesexisted promoting the responsible use of the internet,specifically those incorporating a humanrights approach. This demonstrated the extremevulnerability of children, teenagers and women inthe online world. Despite the impossibility of raisingfinancing, we decided to create the programmeENREDOMINO (a combination of the three wordsEN-RED-DOMINO, which can be translated as “Inthe network – or on the internet – I dominate”). Theagenda of the programme rests on the assumptionthat volunteer professionals might take advantageof their institutional experience and initiate activitiesbased on their networks and commitment tohuman rights.In May 2010, a contest for producing mobilevideos called filMóvil was held. With the support ofmore than ten institutional allies and 30 young volunteers,students gathered in the cities of La Paz,Cochabamba and Santa Cruz for the competition.The mass media was informed about the initiative,and Facebook was used intensively to promote it. 1Nevertheless, the experience did not have goodresults because the daily use of the mobile phonewas centred on the consumption of telecommunicationsservices and not on the creative use of thevideo camera. The lack of technical support for theproduction and editing of mobile videos was alsoa problem. The volunteer professionals identifiedthe importance of creating videos and educationalanimations to be distributed using manuals foraudiovisual production; “how to” manuals for uploadinginformation to the web; and primers oncyber crimes. On two occasions they ran courses onproducing digital and interactive mobile content forstudents from rural areas. This material is availablefreely on the ENREDOMINO educational portal. 2Towards the end of 2010, the portal received theinstitutional support of the Vice Ministry of Scienceand Technology, linked to the Ministry of Education,the Office of the Ombudsman and ADSIB. Thispromoted the portal across the whole country andunleashed a variety of activities that influenced thedevelopment of the internet with a human rights approach.Amongst the actions that stand out:1 www.facebook.com/pages/ENREDOMINO/1047436962377822 www.enredomino.fundacionredes.org• Conferences were held on legislative reforms andthe right to information at the Bolivian CatholicUniversity, UDABOL University, San Andrés University(UMSA) and the Department of Education. 3• The issue of digital violence was inserted intoa law on school violence presented to the Commissionon Human Rights in the LegislativeAssembly. 4 The TV programme Renew You onthe state television channel also devoted a specialprogramme to digital rights.• Articles were published on the internet abouthuman rights in the journal DiálogosTransdisciplinariosen la Sociedad de la Información(Transdisciplinary Dialogue on the InformationSociety). In December 2010 an issue of thisjournal was dedicated to the subject Identitiesin the Information Society. 5 In addition, a publicationwas released with the help of the Officeof the Ombudsman in October 2011 exploringthe subject of human rights in the informationsociety.• The National Centre for the Democratisationof Digital Culture 6 was created in the city ofCochabamba to prepare teenagers and womenfor the responsible use of social networks. Thisis co-managed by the CREPUM foundation. 7• The Vice-Presidency invited the REDESFoundation to draw up a new model of regulationfor information and communicationstechnologies (ICTs) in Bolivia. 8 This directlyinfluences ICT and telecommunications law inthe country. It emphasises human rights, andfocuses on important aspects of the internetsuch as electronic signatures, e‐commerce ande-governance, democratisation of frequencies,telecommunication price control, and universalservices projects.• A national citizen group was created calledBolivians for the Right to Communication andInformation. 93 www.conaric.org.bo/site/php/level.php?lang=es&component=36&item=14 noviolenciabolivia.blogspot.com/2010/11/presentacion-delanteproyecto-de-ley.html5 fundacionredes.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=blog&id=4&Itemid=116 www.fundacioncrepum.org/index.php?/2011040557/Ultimasnoticias/crepum-inaugura-en-cochabamba-el-centro-nacional-dedemocratizacion-de-la-cultura-digital.html7 Institution specialising in traditional family development.8 comunicacionconderechos.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=93:comunicacion-con-derechos&catid=44:noticias&Itemid=1319 www.facebook.com/pages/Bolivians-por-el-derecho-a-la-Comunicaci%C3%B3n-e-informaci%C3%B3n/18842233120977984 / Global Information Society Watch


• A seminar called Perspectives and Challenges ofthe Information Society in Bolivia 10 was organisedto commemorate Internet Day on 17 May 2011. Itaddressed a human rights agenda for the internetand was broadcast on television with the supportof national and international partnerships.• We ran a digital journalism workshop 11 with ahuman rights approach to train 22 journalistsfrom the city of La Paz.• A proposal for national research into interactivedigital content generation was designed in September2011.• An agreement with the Communications Ministrywas reached to provide technical advice onthe right to communication and information to300 teenagers using filMóvil educational unitsset up in La Paz (September-November 2011).These activities marked a turning point in the recenthistory of participatory construction of the informationsociety in Bolivia. The programme continues to be runby ENREDOMINO, attracting the support of new professionals,young people and institutions interested incollaborating on initiatives that have a structural impact,low operating costs and the potential to createemployment options for Latin American professionals.Most of the interventions were reported ontelevision channels with national coverage, in print,on the websites of institutional partners, and on socialnetworks.The new model for institutional advocacyin the information society in BoliviaThis relates to how an institution that has no economicresources may influence several issuesrelated to human rights in the information societyin Bolivia. The analysis can build a new “model ofinstitutional advocacy” capable of being replicatedby the global community.Five elements determine the effectiveness ofnew institutional advocacy: a) a clear vision of thework proposed, b) activism based on professionalexperience, c) transdisciplinary research/action,d) management of information and knowledge forsocial innovation, and e) self-sustainability thatcombines volunteering with professional services.Clear vision of the work proposed A view thatproposed the use of ICT for development has been replacedwith a programmatic approach that promotescollective structural construction of the information10 www.gobernabilidad.org.bo/noticias/13-web-20/824-organizansimposio-nacional-por-el-dia-del-internet-en-bolivia11 www.fundacionperiodismo.org/moodlesociety, allowing anyone in any context to be part of there-shaping of his or her own local-global environment.This vision is summarised as follows: 1) to buildand promote a human rights approach through thestrategic use of the internet and mobile telephones,2) to influence cultural patterns that violate humanrights that are reproduced in the information society,3) to create real and virtual scenarios of global andlocal promotion and exercise of human rights andprevention of human rights abuses, 4) to demandthat we act on and denounce all practices that violatethe human rights of future generations throughthe internet and mobile telephony, 5) to promote thedevelopment of technological skills for the exerciseof citizenship, 6) To educate people about the functioningof the internet so that they can surf withoutrisk, and 7) to undertake structural reforms based ona human rights agenda in the information society.Recognition of technical and professionalexperience We are all part of building the society welive in, so it is necessary to assume social responsibilityfor our environment. REDES suggests that werealise present opportunities by projecting theirimplications for the future, but considering the lessonsof the past. Under this logic, all activities andall employment opportunities result in activism asa way of life. This recognises the potential of allpeople to imagine and create new forms of sociallife. It calls for sensitivity and social solidarity, andan awareness of the opportunities opened up byinstitutional experience and vocational placementfor proactive proposals that contribute to living well.Transdisciplinary research/action All activitiesshould be informed by transdisciplinary research withparticular emphasis on disciplines such as sociology,communications, anthropology, psychology, law,public management, information technology, telecommunicationsand interactive digital content production.This allows the intersection between human rightsand the internet to be recognised in the everydayexperience of the general population. Everyday communicationis the best example of a transdisciplinaryapproach, and easily articulates various areas and approachesto knowledge and information.Management of information, knowledge andcapacities for social innovation REDES developed aset of activities that allow using, sharing, creatingand disseminating information and knowledge topromote human rights and the internet, involvingindividuals and organisations interested in theseissues. In all cases, information management isdirected to realise “actions and events” that are innovative,whether as a focus (e.g. the informationsociety), as a method (e.g. filMóvil) or as knowledge(e.g. transdisciplinary research).BOLIVIA / 85


Table 1.Economic-technological vs. social innovationType of innovation Economic-technological innovation Social innovationCapital Capital intensive Intensive human intellectual capital, relationshipsand networksBasic orientationRights protectionTo create monopoly situations (singleproduct) that generate high returnsAdded to ensure the investment effortand sustain the monopolyTo cover the extensive needs of social groupsat low cost with high impactVery low: knowledge is free for public accessComplexity Increasing level of technology Growing at the interpersonal level; nominal risk offailure to use technology due to a lack of know-how.Given this, information management and knowledgefor social innovation can be compared to atraditional model of economic-technological innovation,as shown in Table 1. 12Self-management model that combines volunteeringwith professional services The volunteerwork of highly trained professionals in some casesturned into job opportunities for consulting services.In these cases, professionals voluntarily devotedvarious percentages of their salaries to support theproject activities in ENREDOMINO. These operatingexpenses subsidised income, electricity, rent andmaterials production. The system is open, free andcontributions are made voluntarily, building trustamong the team of professionals involved.ConclusionsBolivia has a weak digital culture because of low internetpenetration levels. In 2011 a penetration rateof 1.2% was reported, which is equivalent to twelvepeople in 1,000 having an internet connectionat home. A country with such low levels of digitalinclusion must promote causes and advocatewith the support of traditional media (TV, radioand newspapers), interpersonal communication(conferences, courses, workshops) and strategicalliances with institutions and individuals involvedin the field of ICTs. In this context, it also reducesthe possibilities of social organisation and resistancein cyberspace.According to the National Institute of Statistics,in 2008 it was estimated that about 26% of thepopulation accessed the internet via public accesspoints (telecenters and cybercafés) and householdconnections. In April 2010, ENREDOMINO researchon internet use among teenagers in the city of La Pazshowed that all teenagers interviewed know how tosearch for information on the internet; seven out of ten12 Based on Morales, A. (2009) Social Innovation: An area of interestfor social services, Ekain, June.are distracted in their search navigation by pop-ups orhyperlinks; and that all are only aware of the searchengines Google, Yahoo or Windows Live. Seven out often accepted unknown contacts on social networks,and three out of ten follow up casual online encountersin real life. In no cases were there explicit referencesabout searching for information geared to the practiceof their own human rights. It was found that theinternet also reproduces old patterns of human rightsviolations, which affect three main population groups:young people, women and families.There are two events which have highlightedthe quiet work of ENREDOMINO activists: a) theWikiLeaks case and b) the design of a new regulatorymodel for ICTs in Bolivia. Both of these eventswere widely reported in the media and sensitisedthe Bolivian population to the importance of the internetand human rights.Action steps• Replace digital literacy with education in ahuman rights approach to technology andknowledge. Encourage the production of interactivedigital content, strengthening genderrights in the region using the filMóvil methodologylicensed under Creative Commons.• Coordinate interventions that offer short-term,high-impact structural support, and which involveactions for strengthening social innovation.• Broaden the base of actors who interact throughconverging media, such as internet activists, bloggers,TV presenters, students, opinion leaders andprint journalists. All of these actors need to sharein urban interventions and social innovation.• Develop strategies that synchronise governmentalpolicy with public strategy.• Explore the potential of mobile telephony to promotehuman rights in the information society. n86 / Global Information Society Watch


BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINAIs online media an ally for social justice?Trapped between hate and inflammatory speechoneworld - platform for southeast europe (owpsee)Valentina Pellizzerwww.oneworldsee.orgIntroductionBosnia and Herzegovina is a small country in southeastEurope. 1 There are a number of well-knownwords and phrases that locate it in the geopoliticallandscape: “Former Yugoslavia”, “Balkans wars”(1992-1995), “Dayton Peace Agreement”, “Srebrenica”,“genocide”, “war”, “rapes”, “ethnic division”,“Serbs”, “Bosnians/Muslims”, “Croats”, “reconciliation”,“mass graves”… The list goes on.If we consider the information and communicationstechnology (ICT) context, there are interestingphenomena that can be observed which are a reflectionof the highly fragmented and still conflict-riddenmacro-political situation. Bosnia and Herzegovinastill does not have a National Agency for the InformationSociety. However, it has three academic researchnetworks (BiHARNET, FARNET and SARNET), 2 , in linewith the three ethnic groups in the country, and thetop-level domain .ba is not the default for public institutionsin the country. The use of the three telecomoperators (BH Telecom, M:tel and Eronet) also correspondsroughly to the three ethnic communities.Nationalism is strong and otherness is the main drawcard used by political parties to divide people.Policy and political backgroundIf we look at freedom of expression and association,access to information, and media freedoms generally,Bosnia and Herzegovina has an advanced legal framework.3 But if we scratch the surface, what emerges is adivided country. According to a recent analysis: “Mostdivisions are along ethnic lines. Public broadcastersand privately owned media reflect this situation. (...)Incitement of ethnic intolerance is present in much1 See the Bosnia and Herzegovina country report in GISWatch 2007:www.giswatch.org/en/20072 See the Bosnia and Herzegovina country report in GISWatch 2008 and2009: www.giswatch.org/en/2008 and www.giswatch.org/en/20093 “BH is the most advanced in the legal environment and theleast advanced in the quality of journalism.” ARTICLE 19, theGlobal Campaign for Free Expression, International Federation ofJournalists (2005) Case Studies of Media Self-Regulation in FiveCountries of South East Europe: Bosnia Herzegovina.of the media, including public broadcasting. Internetfora disseminate discriminatory rhetoric and hatespeech.” 4 Only half of the existing 12,000 NGOs areactive, and, according to another analysis, “The earlyconcentration on service delivery militated againstthe development of NGOs with a social vision and thecapacity to campaign and advocate.” 5 Political participationis low. Apathy and disillusionment are commondenominators among people.Bosnia and Herzegovina is still an internationalprotectorate with an ethnic constitution. Due to ethnicvetoes, it is still without a national governmentafter the October 2010 general elections.The country has a high level of corruption, andis ranked 78 out of 178 on the Corruption PerceptionsIndex (CPI). 6 The unemployment rate is 27%,and there is no strategy to remedy this. 7Self-regulation safeguards online media contentunder the auspices of the Press Council’s Codeof Conduct, which focuses on professional media.The Communications Regulatory Agency (RAK) isin charge of TV and radio, as well as, more recently,mobile short messaging service (SMS) content. 8The role of the internet in public demonstrationsin Bosnia and HerzegovinaIt is always problematic to say that a specific eventcan come to define social resistance in a particularcontext. In my experience, as a feminist and human4 South and East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) (2011) Pressfreedom in the western Balkans and Turkey. www.seemo.org;Marko, D. et al. (2010) Izbori 2010. u BiH Kako su mediji pratiliizbornu kampanju, Media Plan Institute, Sarajevo.5 Sterland, B. and Rizova, G. (2010) Civil society organisations’capacities in the western Balkans and Turkey, TACSO.6 The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), compiled by TransparencyInternational, ranks countries according to perception of corruption in thepublic sector. The CPI is an aggregate indicator that combines differentsources of information about corruption, making it possible to comparecountries. www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi7 “By Southern Tier Central and East European (CEE) averages, Bosniaand Herzegovina (BH) continues to lag considerably in economic anddemocratic reform progress and remains ranked near the bottom,second only to Kosovo. (...) Democratic reforms have stagnated at bestin BH since the mid-2000s. (…) Overall, BH’s peace and security score issub-average compared to its neighbours; only Albania and Kosovo areranked lower.” USAID Strategic Planning and Analysis Division, Europeand Eurasia Bureau (2011) Bosnia and Herzegovina Gap Analysis.8 Press Council and Code of Conduct: www.vzs.ba and www.vzs.ba/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=218&Itemid=9;the Communications Regulatory Agency (RAK) issued a fine forinappropriate SMS content displayed during a TV broadcast. rak.ba/engbosnia and herzegovina / 87


ights activist, I have witnessed a series of small andvery often unrelated events that contribute to whatwe may consider the “story” of social resistance in acountry, sometimes culminating in a “big event” thatis the start of the realisation of a long-nurtured commonsocial cause.So, my story would have its prelude in February2008 and its “happening” during the 2010 politicalelections and their immediate aftermath. Without theprelude, I would not be able to show how the internetcan bypass ethnic divisions and the gatekeeper logicwhich is rife in Bosnia and Herzegovina society.In 2008 internet penetration in Bosnia andHerzegovina was approximately 20%, and broadbandaccess was expanding in towns. The use ofnew media was gaining momentum, with users eagerfor direct participation. However, websites werenot yet seen as relevant to the formation of publicopinion 9 by politicians and NGOs.In February, a seventeen-year-old boy, DenisMrnjavac, was stabbed to death on a public tram bythree boys without any apparent reason. 10 Real-timeinformation provided by internet sites resulted inwidespread public compassion and rage. Demandsthat politicians attend to public safety and develop ayouth strategy were met with arrogance and insensitivity.On 6 February, a public demonstration with morethan 10,000 people took place. Over the followingthree months, public demonstrations were coordinatedusing the net. During the next administrativeelections, those politicians who had been scornful ofpublic demands lost their seats in towns and cantons.In 2008, when the administrative elections tookplace, the internet can be said to have been the toolthat led to democratisation and direct participationby the public. Ordinary citizens fought for a causethey felt was worthy enough to stand for. A 360 orebellion against politicians took place; but alsoagainst NGOs perceived as being donor dependent(and therefore driving their agendas), or as extensionsof political parties – a class that lives offcitizens’ accounts but are not accountable to them.I would say that the internet opened up a new, freespace for civic discussion and activism. Participationin discussion forums broke the feeling of beingalone; people had the opportunity not only to safelyexpress their own visions and ideas, but also to discoversimilar thinkers. Forums were flexible enoughto allow a range of people to participate, from9 The internet is the second most-followed medium in Bosniaand Herzegovina after TV. Media Plan Institute (2010) Internet –Sloboda bez granica.10 See the Bosnia and Herzegovina country report in GISWatch 2008for more information on the expansion of online media and theonline community. www.giswatch.org/en/2008professional activists to ordinary citizens, who usedthe opportunity to define the agenda for discussion.The anonymity that the internet providedmade people feel safe. This is very important in ahierarchical society which very easily stigmatisesdiversity. At the same time, violent reactions were“only verbal” and controlled by moderators and bythe active participation of other users.In 2010 the political situation had become critical:corruption was worse, and state as well as otherinstitutions had become bankrupt. An increase intension could be felt throughout the year, as wellas a rise in nationalist rhetoric and threats of secessionand a vicious cycle of accusing different ethniccommunities for the crises. 11 Meanwhile, access tothe internet grew and expanded, and in 2010 internetpenetration reached 50%. 3G services started tobe provided by the three telecom operators.General elections were scheduled for 3 Octoberthat year. With the increase in access, and popularisationof the media (more people began to haveaccess to the media), incendiary comments becamea way to increase readers. On the internet, commentsshowed the face of a polarised society where aggressive,inflammatory, sexist and elitist expressions arethe norm. 12 Fights even erupted online amongst theactivist community, mainly due to inexperience withonline communications, but also because of the rigidmindset that is used to hierarchy rather than horizontaldecision-making processes.The enthusiasm and the connection felt betweenactivists and the online professional media were alreadya thing of the past. The media became moreinterested in propaganda than in information. Bothonline and traditional media, 13 either public or private,had shown their loyalties to political parties and hadbecome an integral part of the electoral machine.11 “Bosnia and Herzegovina is politically and ethnically divided. Mostdivisions are along ethnic lines. Public broadcasters and privatelyowned media reflect this situation. There are three public TVchannels: one covers the Bosnian Federation, the second addressesRepublika Srpska and the third encompasses the whole territory. TheBosnian-Herzegovina public RTV is under constant political pressurefrom all ethnic groups. Incitement of ethnic intolerance is present inmost media, including public broadcasting. Internet fora disseminatediscriminatory rhetoric and hate speech.” SEEMO (2011) op. cit.12 “...destructive, mutually exclusive, ethnic politics.” Commissionof the European Communities (2010) Bosnia and HerzegovinaProgress Report.13 “In addition to the three state- and entity-wide public broadcastingsystems, there are a total of 183 electronic media outlets in BiH – 42television and 141 radio stations. This remains far more than thecountry’s limited advertising market can support. Most radio stationsare local and either limit their broadcasts to entertainment or focuson local political and ethnic interests. Most of the 128 registeredprint media are characterized by strong divisions along ethnic andideological lines. Total circulation of the seven daily newspapers doesnot exceed 90,000 copies.” Freedom House (2010) Freedom of thePress 2010 - Bosnia-Herzegovina. www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=251&year=2010&country=778688 / Global Information Society Watch


Once more, but more structured and technicallywise than in the past, websites and blogsmanaged by civil society organisations and activistgroups started to appear. They developedonline applications to help visualise the politicalsituation, including the corruption and lies of thepolitical elites.The issue was how to reach people who had losttrust in politics and who preferred entertainment toengagement. How could we provide information tocounteract demagogy; how could we bypass the poisonof otherness and make people feel that diversitywas a positive factor, that they could become messengersof possible change? The fact that the majority ofthis kind of information produced was coming fromcivil society activists, and was free to reuse, had amultiplier effect on our efforts. Tools such as “Truth-Meter”, “razglasaj.ba” and “Clean Up Parliament”;Abrashmedia’s online radio and video production;the blog called Gdjelova (“where is the money”); theonline and offline guerrilla activism done by Pritisak(“Pressure”); the Glavuse (“Bigheads”) 14 from AkcijaGradjana (“Citizens Action”): 15 all of these initiativesconfirmed the emergence of a network of net activistswho collaborated across the main cities of BanjaLuka, Sarajevo, Tuzla, Zenica, Mostar and beyond tobring about change.Civil activists used their own websites and toolsnot only to produce information and bypass mainstreamindifference, but to open a direct dialoguewith users/voters. They provided searchable and verifiableinformation that anyone could access whendeciding if and why to vote. Without this strategic onlineengagement of civil society, clearly supported byforeign donors, voter participation would have beenlower. Participation rose to 55% of eligible voters andresulted in a change of government in the entity ofthe Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and a troubledvictory for the Dodik presidency in the entity ofRepublika Srpska. 16 It was strategic to gain the trustof Bosnia and Herzegovina’s growing community ofnetizens which, even if still not ready to engage inthe street, was hungry to read, search and listen toevidence-based news. Access to the internet, thecontinuous production of information and citizenjournalism had proven successful and made peoplefeel their vote was necessary.14 Caricatures of politicians’ heads were made out of papier mâché.15 www.dosta.ba, www.akcijagradjana.org, www.istinomjer.org,www.rasglasaj.ba, www.pritisak.org, www.izaberi.ba, www.cistparlament.org, www.abrashmedia.info, www.ostranula.com,www.protest.ba, www.pulsdemokratije.net16 Bosnia and Herzegovina encompasses two entities with theirown governments and parliaments: the Federation of Bosniaand Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska (also known as theRepublic of Srpska).Social networking and building civil societyFacebook is, without any doubt, the key tool usedto pass on information and attract readers in Bosniaand Herzegovina. Grassroots and activist groupssuch as Dosta, Akcija Gradjana, Zenica, Abrashmedia,Protest.ba, Ostra Nula and many othersconstantly use it to promote their causes, shareinformation and generate debate. In this contextthe lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and queer(LGBTQ) community is the only community whichremains careful to avoid the use of open groups orpages. The patriarchal and sexist Bosnia and Herzegovinasociety is aggressively hetero-normative andactively dislikes and stigmatises alternative sexualorientations. 17Facebook, with all the criticism of its privacyand security, is today the space where grassrootsinitiatives and informal groups in Bosnia and Herzegovinastart their activities, connect with each otherand do things. It represents the main communicationinfrastructure for activists, followed by GoogleGroups, which is considered as the best tool forsetting up mailing lists and spaces for private conversation.Both applications answer activists’ needsto have access to tools that are free of charge anduser friendly. Facebook, and recently Twitter andGoogle+, are considered a public sphere wherethe majority of people connect and where activistscan promote their causes and reach the support ofcritical masses. Whenever there is an action to betaken, the first step is setting up a Facebook groupand sending out “friend requests”. More and moredebates are moving from forums to Facebook pagesand groups.Netizens understood that the mainstream mediawill, most of the time, ignore their calls, or willreformat the information disseminated to suit theirneeds. Because of this, the trend is moving fromsocial network spaces to the creation of websiteswhere information can be published more formally.Another trend is to publish information on a friend’sblog as well as on activist websites. And it is the“share” and “like” features of social networks thatbridge the gap between all these disparate groupsand initiatives. The “share” and “like” functionsthat are linked to blog posts have become an indexof social consent or dissent on certain issues.17 “In a study from Bosnia and Herzegovina 77% of respondentsbelieved that accepting homosexuality would be detrimental forthe country.” Council of Europe (2011) Discrimination on groundsof sexual orientation and gender identity in Europe. See alsothe report from the first Queer Sarajevo Festival (2008) at www.oneworldsee.org/node/17219 and owpsee (2008) CoE ResolutionCondemns Discrimination and Violence against LGBT Community,3 October. www.oneworldsee.org/node/17247bosnia and herzegovina / 89


Considering the active online links between socialnetworks, it is important to raise awareness onthe content and privacy policies implemented bythese global providers.The current scenario shows a slow but constantmigration from anonymity/nicknames used in publicforums, to people writing under their real names.At the same time, public discourse remainspolarised and trapped in a cycle of hate speechand discrimination. The internet has liberated activistgroups from a dependence on editors andjournalists, 18 but not from reproducing stereotypes.ConclusionsMembers of the new activist scene were disappointedduring 2011 by the fact that Bosnia andHerzegovina, despite corruption, poverty and politicians’arrogance, did not follow the examples seenin the Arab world revolution. Activists started accusingwhat they considered overly easy “one-clickactivism” and criticised the minimal commitmentrequired from “like” and “I’m attending” functionson Facebook pages when calling for participation inpublic demonstrations. Too often these amountedto little more than small groups of people.Netizens seemed to forget the essence of ourfragmented and divided society, where people arelocked in exclusive collective identities and do notsee themselves as citizens. The internet and socialnetworks have created a breakthrough, a spacewhere people can act and communicate more fluidly.At the same time, after an initial period of openness,many comments on websites and on Facebookgroups and pages started to reflect a growing presenceof extremist and intolerant groups – often frompeople in the diaspora, who share the language butnot the territory. At times this amounted to a rudeduel involving religion, ethnicity and identity, whichbegan to monopolise public discourse and divide,threaten and pressurise people.Nevertheless, the online space remains one ofthe spaces where identities can be shared, merged,and changed. That is why it is important to learnhow to mediate and control online violations, withoutallowing censorship or control using internetservice providers (ISPs).Disillusionment is good when it generatesawareness. Social resistance now involves buildingup nodes of trust, connected offline and online.Activists have started producing and collecting alternativestories in alternative languages. Socialnetworks can be the gear but never the engine ofsocial change. Technology needs to be understoodand learnt, activists need to own and control theircommunication infrastructure and, in this way, toconnect better and in a safer way. Without guaranteeingprivate conversation, emerging local groupswill remain sporadic and fragile. The final stage ofBosnia and Herzegovina’s social resistance is thepublic acceptance of humanist and secular positions,and the authentic protection of freedom ofexpression of the LGBTQ community. 19 So, to becontinued...Action steps• There is no technology that can work for socialactivism if people are not ready to take risks andstand for their opinions, and to defend humanrights and freedom.• Socially engaged ICT geeks should be strategicallyplaced when there is a need for a quickresponse in setting up online tools and services.• It is important to always use tools which peoplealready know, share and understand.• It is important to be aware of existing technologyand to adapt it. Updates in local languageson “how to” use the tools and “tips and tricks”for online activists are necessary.• Privacy and security information sheets are necessaryto prevent misuse or damage to activists’reputations and causes.• The creation of a common, shared communicationinfrastructure and networks database thatcan be used on demand is needed.• Encourage informal meetings of ICT geek andgrassroots and social activists, as well as informalmeetings on online content, including theuse of stereotypes and inflammatory language. n18 Media Plan Institute (2010) Op. cit.19 See the ILGA Rainbow Europe Map and Index (May 2011) at www.ilga-europe.org/home/publications/reports_and_other_materials/rainbow_map_and_index_2011 and www.pulsdemokratije.ba/index.php?l=bs&id=117090 / Global Information Society Watch


BRAZILFrom a cyber crime law to an internetcivil rights frameworkGPoPAI-USPPablo Ortelladowww.gpopai.usp.brIntroductionIn 2007 a law establishing penalties for cybercrimes was on the verge of being approved in theBrazilian Senate. The bill had been discussed inCongress for eight years, but it was significantly alteredat the last stages of the legislative process inorder to include provisions of the European Conventionon Cybercrime. With such changes – activistsargued – the government would criminalise everydaypractices of consumers and would open the wayfor criminalising file sharing.Civil society activists and academics startedpressurising senators to change the proposed law.As the campaign gathered momentum it turned intoa massive campaign against criminal law being appliedin the context of the internet and a positivepush for a civil rights framework for the internet.After activists managed to persuade Brazilian PresidentLuiz Inácio Lula da Silva of the importance ofa rights framework for the internet, the Braziliangovernment set up a model participatory processfor drafting the legislation, which is now ready to bedebated in Congress.Early legislative processOn 24 February 1999 Deputy Luiz Piauhylino submittedthe proposed law on cyber crime (PL 84/1999) 1to the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house of theBrazilian Congress). The bill established criminalpenalties for damage to computer data, unauthorisedaccess to a computer or computer network, unauthoriseduse of data, the introduction of malware andpublishing of pornography without warning. On 5 November2003, after four years of legislative processes,the bill, with minor alterations, 2 was approved by theChamber of Deputies and subsequently submittedfor further approval by the Senate. Nearly three yearsof additional legislative processes ensued in the1 www.camara.gov.br/proposicoesWeb/prop_mostrarintegra?codteor=284461&filename=Tramitacao-PL+84/19992 www.camara.gov.br/proposicoesWeb/prop_mostrarintegra?codteor=284469&filename=Tramitacao-PL+84/1999Senate. In June 2006, an opposition Social Democratsenator, Eduardo Azeredo, proposed an amendment 3incorporating provisions in accordance with the EuropeanConvention on Cybercrime 4 – a convention towhich Brazil was not a signatory. The amendmentscreated broad definitions for the crimes, which couldresult in criminalising trivial things like unlockingmobile phones or making backup copies of DVDs.It could also oblige internet service providers (ISPs)to identify users and log all internet connections inBrazil, opening the way for the criminalisation of filesharing.The change to the legislation was backed by acoalition of strong corporate and state interests,including the Brazilian Federation of Banks (FEBRA-BAN), which wanted stronger criminal sanctions tofight bank fraud; police organisations and publicprosecutors who wanted identification and logs tohelp investigative work; and the copyright industrywhich wanted a way to identify users, as well ascriminal penalties, to combat “piracy”.After the amendments were included in the bill,civil society groups and academic experts grew concernedwith the potentially negative outcomes of theproposed legislation and became involved in the processby opening up discussions with senators fromthe ruling Workers’ Party. In 2007, Senator AluizioMercadante of the Workers’ Party began negotiationswith Senator Azeredo to incorporate minor changesthat civil society was demanding. In June-July 2008, anew version of the legislation was agreed on by SocialDemocrat and Workers’ Party senators. 5 But becausethe bill had been further amended it had to be onceagain approved in the Chamber of Deputies.Civil society campaign againstthe cyber crime billFour days before the amended bill was to be voted onagain in the Senate, university professors André Lemosand Sergio Amadeu and internet activist João Caribé3 www.safernet.org.br/site/sites/default/files/PLS_Azeredo-CCJversao-protolocada-em-20-06-2006-1.pdf4 conventions.coe.int/Treaty/en/Treaties/Html/185.htm5 www6.senado.gov.br/diarios/BuscaDiario?tipDiario=1&datDiario=26/06/2008&paginaDireta=23637brazil / 91


launched a petition asking for senators to veto theproposed legislation. 6 One week after it was launched,the petition gathered nearly 30,000 signatures, withthis number growing as the campaign evolved (it hadgathered some 160,000 signatures by July 2011).The debate became so polarised that the BrazilianMinistry of Justice intervened in order to workon a compromise between supporters of strongercriminal penalties and advocates for more freedomon the internet. NGOs and academic groups, such asthe Getúlio Vargas Foundation’s Centre for Technologyand Society 7 and the University of São Paulo’sResearch Group on Public Policies for Access to Information(GPoPAI), 8 produced technical studies thatwere sent both to the Ministry of Justice and the Congresshighlighting the negative effects of the bill andasking for it to be stopped. Mainstream media gavebroad coverage to the controversy – turning whatwas on the face of it a sectoral concern into a majorpolitical topic polarising Brazil’s two largest politicalparties. In 2008 and 2009, industry, civil society andpolice institutions organised seminars all over thecountry, and Congress called for several public hearings.The topic was so controversial that even thoughit had been discussed in Congress for ten years, ithad not been settled (and remains unresolved at thetime of writing this article – August 2011).From a criminal law to a civilrights frameworkA significant twist in the debate occurred whenProfessor Ronaldo Lemos from the Getúlio VargasFoundation published an article 9 arguing that a civilregulatory framework had to precede a criminalframework for the internet. Slowly, the idea that civillaw must precede criminal law gained support andbecame part of the demands of activists opposingthe cyber crime bill. Lemos’ idea was that we neededa regulatory framework – that is, regulation of theinternet services provided to customers which isespecially clear on civil liability. However, activistsexpanded the idea to include a civil rights framework– a change probably inspired by discussions at theInternet Governance Forum on a Charter of Human6 Lemos, A., Amadeu, S. and Caribé, J. (2008) Pelo veto ao projetode cibercrimes: em defesa da liberdade e do progresso doconhecimento na Internet brasileira. www.petitiononline.com/veto2008/petition.html7 Centro de Tecnologia e Sociedade (2008) Comentários e Sugestõessobre o Projeto de Lei de Crimes Eletrônicos. www.culturalivre.org.br/artigos/estudo_CTS_FGV_PL_crimes_eletronicos.pdf8 Grupo de Pesquisa em Políticas Públicas para o Acesso àInformação (2008) Carta ao Ministro da Justiça. www.gpopai.usp.br/wiki/images/f/ff/Contribuicao_pl.pdf9 Lemos, R. (2007) Internet brasileira precisa de marco regulatóriocivil, UOL, 25 May. tecnologia.uol.com.br/ultnot/2007/05/22/ult4213u98.jhtmRights and Principles for the Internet. 10 The demandbecame an integral part of the campaign and foundits decisive moment at the 10th International FreeSoftware Forum (FISL) that took place in Porto Alegrein July 2009. 11 FISL is an annual free software forum,similar to Linux World, although significantly morepolitical. At the tenth forum, organisers decided toplace the threats to a free internet at the core of theproceedings. Both President Lula and Chief of StaffDilma Rousseff (now the president of Brazil) spokeat the closing conference of the event. In his speech,Lula criticised the cyber crime bill as a threat to freedomof information and said that his governmentwould be willing to do whatever was necessary tocorrect the situation, including changing civil regulation.12 The Ministry of Justice promptly reacted tothe remark by starting a process to build a civil rightsframework for the internet in October 2009.The public consultationfor the civil rights frameworkThe Ministry of Justice decided that the publicconsultation process should follow the open andparticipatory nature of the internet, and so opted fora three-step process. First, it commissioned a comparativestudy of civil regulations of the internet and,based on experiences in other countries, it came outwith a systematic list of topics that the civil rightsframework should encompass. This list 13 was then putout for public consultation for a period of 45 days, andposted to a website which allowed free comment andinput, including suggestions for the removal or additionof clauses. Comment was unmoderated and didnot require logging in. More than 800 contributionswere received during this phase of the consultation.The contributions were then consolidated and adraft revised text was published 14 for further publicdiscussion and comment. An additional 1,168contributions were received by May 2010. Publicdebate spilled over onto blogs, into public seminarsand the press – which itself followed the debateclosely. The process, given its openness and participatorynature, was so successful that it quicklybecame an international benchmark for participatoryand transparent law making. 1510 For more information, see the website of the Internet Rights andPrinciples Coalition at: internetrightsandprinciples.org11 fisl.softwarelivre.org/10/www12 The full speech is available on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqULQ5Yv3vw&feature=related13 culturadigital.br/marcocivil/consulta14 culturadigital.br/marcocivil/debate15 It has since then been adapted to other law-making processessuch as the reform of copyright law.92 / Global Information Society Watch


Current state of affairsand the new legislative agendaAs of August 2011, both the cyber crime bill and thecivil rights framework proposal have re-emerged aspublic topics for debate and discussion. A wave ofhacker attacks on government websites in July 2011and the fact that the civil rights framework is aboutto be sent to Congress reignited the controversy.Because the cyber crime bill was still consideredexcessive, Deputy Paulo Teixeira called for publicconsultation on an alternative cyber crime law. 16 Thedraft consisted of a cyber crime law which was muchmore limited in its reach, and much more practical.Civil society campaigners and government officialsare now rebuilding their legislative agenda in orderto defend the joint approval of the civil rights frameworkand the new cyber crime bill. If both proposalsare approved, the experience would stand out as amodel of democratic process in which strong civilsociety mobilisation succeeded in defeating powerfulcorporate and state interests, and securing apublic-interest legal framework.Action stepsGiven the context of the above discussion, the advocacyfocus areas for civil society appear clear:• Work towards the approval of the civil rightsframework for the internet.• Work towards rejecting Senator Eduardo Azeredo’scyber crime bill.• Work towards the approval of Deputy PauloTeixeira’s alternative cyber crime bill. n16 edemocracia.camara.gov.br/web/seguranca-da-internet/wikilegis/-/wiki/Projeto_de_Lei_Alternativo/In%C3%ADciobrazil / 93


BULGARIAIs freedom of expression and associationon the net working on the street?BlueLink FoundationVera Staevskawww.bluelink.netIntroductionWith global and national analysts emphasising agrowing number of human rights violations in Bulgariain 2010, it is no surprise that online activists aresounding the alarm that human rights are similarlynot well protected online. Ethnic discrimination,police violence, the detention of asylum seekers,repression on freedom of speech and surveillance,pressure over media and personal communication,political pressure on the judiciary system, childabuse and anti-gay and lesbian aggression are thekey human rights violations according to severalinstitutions. Amnesty International, 1 the EuropeanUnion (EU) Fundamental Rights Agency, 2 the UnitedStates (US) Department of State 3 and the BulgarianHelsinki Committee have identified negativedevelopments in all major spheres of human rightsprotection compared to previous years.With regard to human rights on the internet inBulgaria, this report will focus on two aspects offreedom of expression and association online:• Discursive dominance of hate speech in onlineactivism that raises several questions: Is thisfreedom not used to violate the rights of vulnerablegroups? Is civil society too weak to preventundemocratic forces from exploiting online freedom?And if this is so, do we need this right tobe checked and regulated?• The Bulgarian perspective of the internet as abasic human right (the right to access vs. theright to privacy).Policy and political backgroundIn recent years Bulgaria’s continuous transition to a“normal” country in the Western mould has been accompaniedby the growing resentment of its citizensover the failed promise of democracy. The dominantmodel is one of paralegal, post-communist “elites”in power with little cultural capital, but exerting aneconomic power that is the result of shady dealsduring the privatisation of state property. The “normalisation”of the state regime is currently goingthrough what can be called a “feudal” stage withcrime bosses having political impact. This stage hasshown the general public that the Bulgarian transformationhas been manifestly undemocratic andhas failed the promise of liberal development andcivic rights. The ideas connected to Western-typedemocracies have consequently been losing theirappeal, and “human rights” and “civil society” arewidely perceived as ideologemes that veil corruptpractices of stealing EU and international fundswith no effect on the average Bulgarian’s life. Onlinediscourses of hate and virtual communities basedon intolerance are now striking, given that manyused to assume that the internet was a tool to fightoppression.At the same time, authentic movements for socialchange come up against this paradigm of statecontrol, which is being reinforced by capitalist monopolies.The pressure for elites on free speechthat is a result of the political economy is evident indigital rights violations – both through illegal surveillanceand official attempts at introducing legislationto grant the state control of internet communication.This paradigm of state control is specific to Bulgariadue to economic monopolies being closelyintertwined with political power and the shadyprivatisation of prior communist-state properties.However, its discourse benefits from the WesternEuropean model of capitalism, which also imposesstate control over internet consumption due to producerconcerns over the free use of their products– a concern which the Western democracies explainas protecting copyright and stemming from theneed for protection against piracy and cyber crime.Though broadband access has been a basic right inFinland since 2009, 4 EU policies stress child protectionand commercial rights rather than free access toonline communication, as the debates 5 around the1 www.amnesty.org/en/region/bulgaria/report-20102 fra.europa.eu/fraWebsite/attachments/AR_2010-conf-edition_en.pdf3 www.state.gov/documents/organization/160182.pdf4 articles.cnn.com/2009-10-15/tech/finland.internet.rights_1_internet-access-fast-internet-megabit?_s=PM:TECH5 www.edri.org/files/EDRi_ecommerceresponse_101105.pdf; www.edri.org/files/shadow_drd_report_110417.pdf94 / Global Information Society Watch


E‐Commerce Directive (2000/31/EC) and the DataRetention Directive (2006/24/EC) show.And even as the EU secures measures aimed atonline privacy and anonymity of retained data, nationallegislation can easily bypass this to securelegal state surveillance, as has been the case inBulgaria. 6Freedom of expression and associationonline used to violate the rightsof vulnerable groups and to promotehate speechA wave of racism and homophobia can be observedonline in Bulgaria, as tolerance becomes associatedwith state and international support for Romaand homosexuals. This support is felt as “positivediscrimination” – discrimination that grants Romaspecific goods that are not accessible to others andthus neglects the needs of the majority. And – ridiculously– spontaneously formed online civic groupsare very often formed in reaction to the overly politicalcorrectness and thus, for intrinsically non-civicgoals – for example, the extermination of minoritiesin different forms.On the other hand, traditional civic rightsmovements have gone online too. Though onlineactivism seems to be the fashion and a lot of online“profiles” are adorned with affiliations to internetcauses in defence of human rights, fewer participantsare seen at offline meetings and protests thathave the actual weight when attempting to changeofficial policies.In fact, extremist online groups are meetingmore frequently offline than online social activists.While social researchers point out the growingnumber of Facebook groups and causes in supportof neo-fascism, reminiscent of Hitler’s treatment ofminorities, and protest against social policies supportingthe long-term unemployment of Roma, 7offline incidents show the neo-Nazis do act in accordancewith their claims. In the summer of 2010two cases of violence emphasised the fact that theproblem of intolerance is not a dormant or discursiveone any more.On 4 June 2010 a meeting was organised insupport of human rights of Asian immigrants inBulgaria. A group of several young people headedfor the meeting were stalked in a public transport6 store.aip-bg.org//publications/ann_rep_eng/08.pdf7 balkans.blog.lemonde.fr/2011/02/21/sur-facebookaussi-on-naime-pas-les-roms;www.julianpopov.com/main_page.html?fb_1383111_anch=9636455; www.dnevnik.bg/analizi/2010/01/26/848230_ekaterina_i_iskreno_sujaliava_za_hitler; www.capital.bg/politika_i_ikonomika/bulgaria/2010/10/12/974755_edna_po-razlichna_kauzatram and publicly beaten up with metal posts byfifteen neo-Nazis. The human rights meeting itselfwas attended by only 100 participants. Anothercase in line with growing racism is the group beatingof Roma by neo-Nazis in close proximity tothe Presidency building in central Sofia on 11 June2010. A murder case of a boy, beaten to death ina park, happened in 2008 – and was only solvedin June 2010 when the police arrested a group ofyoungsters who said they beat the boy because he“looked like a gay”.Of course, civic reaction to these stories anda growing number of online protests againstxenophobic aggression marked the end of 2010– including responses from new human rightsprotection groups, 8 statements by the BulgarianHelsinki Committee 9 and the Bulgarian Greens, 10and a well-attended flash mob in the centre ofSofia, protesting human rights violations andaggression. 11However, the tendency towards intolerance andaggression is not checked and is the most popularcause in Bulgarian Facebook life. Opposition to theattempt to legalise state control of online content,including from bloggers and online activists, hasamounted to some 5,700 signatures online, 12 whilepeople who have declared online that they refuseto pay taxes for non-paying Roma citizens totalsome 20,841. Extreme groups declaring that “Romashould be turned into soap”, or making similarstatements, are created and deleted daily.In 2011 hate speech flourished in reaction toa street murder by the driver of a crime boss whohad been linked for years to political corruptionand cited as a “Roma king”. Online and offlineprotests against “Roma crime” began, and callsfor the “protection of Bulgarians against Roma”have flourished. 13 Attempts to review the crime aspart of political-criminal monopolies in Bulgariahave been ignored in favour of an ethnic perspectiveon the case. Several big cities have witnessedstreet rallies against “tsiganisation” 14 and Romacrime.8 stopnazi-bg.blogspot.com/2011/02/25022011.html9 e-vestnik.bg/928410 www.zelenite.bg/305911 nookofselene.wordpress.com/2010/06/11/anti-nazi-protest12 www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=35739558552013 english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2011/09/201192653812872853.html; www.turkishweekly.net/news/124179/170-arrested-in-bulgaria-after-second-39-romaprotests-39-night.html14 This term is becoming very popular in Bulgaria. It comes from“tsigane” the polite everyday word for “Roma” (“tsigane” =“gypsy”). “Tsiganisation” is used to indicate that the society ischanging from a “Bulgarian” to a “tsigane” society.bulgaria / 95


At the same time, social networks are becomingthe playground of users “deleting” friendships onthe basis of support for or opposition to hate speechgroups and causes. 15 Attempts to clarify that thecrime had no ethnic character and to bring the issueback to a crime of politically protected classes andcorruption of police practice 16 are almost unheard,and largely regarded as yet another dismissal of thecitizens’ rights of ethnic Bulgarians.However, the case has provoked official reactionagainst hate speech, with an emphasis onhate speech on the internet. This official responseis needed, since a lot of the street aggressionagainst Roma was initiated on Facebook and onlineforums. Bulgarian Chief Prosecutor Boris Velchevhas ordered that the prosecution of hate crimes beintensified, which should have been current policepractice if Bulgarian law was abided by anyway. 17According to Articles 162 and 163 of the CriminalCode, hate speech and provocation of aggressionin written or oral form, including online communication,is a criminal offence, subject to a fine of BGN5,000 to 10,000 (approx. EUR 2,500 to 5,000) andincarceration of two to four years.Online media and forums should cooperate withpolice to enforce the illegality of online hate speech.However, prosecution against hate speech is oftenopposed on the grounds of the right of freedom ofexpression when specific cases are investigated,and priorities between these different human rightsare never clearly set. According to the BulgarianConstitutional Court, freedom of speech should begranted to all kinds of ideas, including shocking andoffensive ones. Because of this Bulgaria still needspublic debate and regulation of freedom of speechand its limitations in cases when other basic humanrights are concerned.The Bulgarian perspective on the internetas a basic human right: The right to accessvs. the right to privacySince 2010 the world has been celebrating thepower of the internet as a tool for mass protestmovements (in Egypt, Libya, etc.) and has subsequentlypleaded the guarantee of access to internetaction as a basic right. However, Bulgaria still suffersfrom self-censorship in online communicationand passive activism of internet users – mainlydue to internet privacy issues and legal and illegalstate surveillance. In a broader perspective, the EUcontext of the right to access is fighting a powerfulcounterforce that argues the necessity of stateintervention for internet security. This paradigmpresumes the internet is intrinsically a tool for cybercrime and violating others’ rights (e.g. piracyand child abuse).As pointed out in the Bulgaria country reports inGISWatch 2009 and 2010, 18 Bulgaria has been witnessinga state strategy to legalise the traditionalpractice of surveillance over private communication,including online communication. Since 2010this has been continued. As an NGO called Accessto Information Programme pointed out in its annualreport, 19 we are again witnessing attempts to passthe draft bill to the Electronic Communications Act(ECA), which(…) aimed to provide the Ministry of Interiorwith unauthorized direct electronic access tothe communication data retained by providersof electronic services (…) i.e. informationon who, where, when and with whom one haswritten or spoken by electronic means (throughmobile phones or the internet). (...) [Since May2010] the ECA provides for two categories ofaccess to traffic data. One is the data used bythe security services for the purposes of theiroperational activities, and another is the accessof the prosecutors and investigative servicesfor the purpose of specific criminal proceeding.The two types of access are treated differently– the first one requires a court warrant and thesecond not. Thus, the standard for securing therights of individuals is lower than before the2010 amendments to the ECA. 20Given this background, Bulgaria’s concern withinternet rights is quite different from the surgingglobal cry for securing internet access as atool for human rights movements. Whatever thecountry-specific debates and consequences, socialuprisings in North Africa and the Middle East since2010 have been fought online as much as in thestreets. Oppression has been seen to fight back bystopping internet access. In reaction, in June 2011,the UN declared internet access a basic humanright. 21 However, in Bulgaria the struggle is not tosecure access to internet communication but ratherto secure the right for this communication to be15 globalvoicesonline.org/2011/09/25/bulgaria-clashes-betweenroma-people-and-ethnic-bulgarians-in-katunitsa16 stopnazi-bg.org/declarations/73-konfliktat-v-katunica-ne-eetnicheski17 www.dnevnik.bg/bulgaria/2011/09/27/1164246_koga_ezikut_na_omrazata_e_prestuplenie18 www.giswatch.org/en/2009 and www.giswatch.org/en/201019 store.aip-bg.org /publications/ann_rep_eng/2010.pdf20 Ibid., p. 19.21 www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/17session/A.HRC.17.27_en.pdf96 / Global Information Society Watch


free. Since surveillance results in censorship andmore commonly in self-censorship, the efforts ofBulgarian activists have been focused on ensuringlegislation that enforces online privacy. This digitalactivism is not fighting for offline change, but forthe tools that might some day help bring it about.Ironically, nobody would think of denying anyoneinternet access in Bulgaria, largely because it isfar from the active online causes and communitiesthat result in offline protests and change as seenelsewhere.The official Bulgarian discourses – and for thatmatter EU discourses – stress security and consumptionon the internet rather than freedom and socialbonding. The national one due to political oppression,the EU one due to the commercialisation ofpolicies. The result in Bulgaria is a relatively hightechnological society where information and communicationstechnologies (ICTs) are only passively used.The passivity of virtual activism has often beenlamented. The fact that online campaigning and freeexpression and association on the net have no or insufficientoffline impact is well known. However, ananalysis is needed on why some societies (arguablyEgypt) do and some (e.g. Bulgaria) do not achieveoffline social change by means of online campaigningand the free expression and association that theinternet provides.In this context Bulgaria continues to be marked byfighting for the right to allow online activism but notpractising it yet, and, as mentioned, the right to accessto the internet has never been denied. One reason isperhaps that this is the characteristic of consumptionorientedsocieties where social goals are not prioritiesfor the individual – that is, the characteristics of societieswhere social bonds are weaker.One interpretation for the Bulgarian casecould also be that, similar to other post-socialistsocieties, Bulgaria is experiencing a rise of individualistic,hedonistic attitudes to technology. This isa result of an erroneous vision of post-totalitariantransition focused on capitalism and consumption,rather than democracy, civil liberties, or public participationin governance and decision making. Onthe one hand, the internet has proven to be a powerfultool for civic activism and collective work – thecivil sector of the 21st century cannot do withoutonline collaboration. But on the other hand, withinan individualistic culture, there is a “dark side” tothe world wide web that facilitates a post-modernhedonism and undermines collective social links.And that is why public pressure for legislation thatsecures online activism is very weak and limited tothe very few activists who were the first to take upthe cause of digital rights in Bulgaria.ConclusionsThe growing tiredness of democracy is threateningto bring extremist aggression to the centre of Bulgarianpublic norms. Online communication staysvirtual when defending human rights, but spillsover onto the street when violating them. In thiscontext, digital activists need more support fromhuman rights NGOs and workers, in order to secureprivacy rights online and to join forces in using ICTsto reinforce weak community links and democraticvalues.Action steps• Besides protests against state surveillance ofonline communication there is a need for formalregulations to limit violations of human rightsonline, in whatever form that violation occurs(writing, images, video, etc.).• Digital rights advocacy should be combinedwith the concrete development of ICT tools thatpractising human rights activists can use to popularise“active” online activism – that is, toolsthat help to create a political effect offline. Goodpractices that are inspired by activist platformsused locally and abroad and slowly encouragesupporters to go beyond the “like” functioninclude spasigorata.net (online civic alerts onforest crime), sofia.urbanotopia.eu (online civicalerts on urban problems), fairelections.eu (onlinecivic alerts on election fraud), and vote.bluelink.net (an online election mechanism forinternal selection of NGO representatives forgovernmental committees).• NGOs need to push state institutions intoproviding spaces for online consultation andservices that help citizens exercise their rights.Some of the platforms cited above are examplesof how civil society groups can start a servicethat should be provided through e‐government,and then push the government to follow up andsupport the piloted e‐tool. nbulgaria / 97


CAMEROONThe internet and mobile technology in social resistanceand public demonstrationsPROTEGE QVSylvie Siyam, Serge Daho and Emmanuel Bikobowww.protegeqv.orgIntroductionCameroon is a central African country with a populationestimated at just over 19 million in 2009. 1According to International TelecommunicationUnion (ITU) figures, the country had 750,000 internetusers as of June 2010; this means 3.9% of thepopulation and a penetration rate of 4%. 2 Since 6November 1982, Cameroon has been under theleadership of President Paul Biya.After the troubled period of 1990-1992, duringwhich the opposition staged huge civil unrest ralliesto force the head of state out of power – called“Opérations Villes Mortes” (Operation Dead Citiesor Ghost Towns) – the country enjoyed a decade ofrelative stability. However, this came to an end inFebruary 2008, when riots over food prices (latercalled “hunger riots”) erupted in several cities, withinfrastructures ransacked, cars and vehicles smashed,shops burnt down and many deaths reported.Since the hunger riots, 23 February has beenthe day in the year when discontent Cameroonianstake to the streets to demonstrate or to commemoratethe February 2008 martyrs.Echoing what happened in Tunisia and in Egypt,this year’s demonstrations were to be different,according to the hopes and aspirations of protestorganisers. During the weeks before the Februarydemonstrations, they announced that this year wasthe start of Cameroon’s “Egypt-style” revolt: “AfterEgypt, Cameroon next” was a message that spreadthroughout the internet and on flyers. There werecalls for a popular peaceful revolution and for PresidentPaul Biya to step down.Cameroonian authorities reacted by suspendingMTN mobile Twitter service 3 for security reasons. Infact, the government had grown increasingly waryof the role Twitter and other social networks couldplay in sparking an Egypt- or Tunisia-style uprising.Policy and political contextSince Cameroon achieved independence and assertedits sovereignty at the international level, itssuccessive constitutions have proclaimed its people’scommitment to human rights as set out in thecharter of the United Nations, the Universal Declarationof Human Rights, and the African Charter onHuman and People’s Rights.It is therefore fitting that the current Constitutionof 18 January 1996, amended in April 2008,grants constitutional status to all international legalinstruments duly ratified by Cameroon, giving themprecedence over domestic legislation.At the national level, the preamble to theConstitution declares the Cameroonian people’scommitment to the following values and principleswhich are guaranteed to all citizens, without distinctionbased on sex or race, amongst others:• The freedom of communication, expression andthe press• The freedom of assembly and of association.Numerous institutions and laws deal with thefreedom of expression and communication in ourcountry. These include, to name just a few:• The National Commission on Human Rights andFreedoms created by Biya in February 1992.This governmental commission has conducteda number of investigations into human rightsabuses and has been involved in training officialsin matters of human rights. 4• Telecommunication Law No 98/014 of 14 July1998, which regulates telecommunications, butdoes not deal with internet access.• Law No 90/052 of 19 December 1999 on socialcommunication.• Law No 2010/012 of 21 December 2010 on cybersecurity and cyber crime.These guarantees, while important, are deficientbecause there appear to be no provisions which limithow and when these freedoms can be restricted.1 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cameroon2 www.internetworldstats.com3 MTN, a mobile telephony company, is the only service provideroffering access to Twitter in Cameroon.4 United States Department of State (1999) Country Reports onHuman Rights Practices for 1998, Washington.98 / Global Information Society Watch


The suspension of MTN’s Twitter service from 8to 18 March 2011 came as a violation of both Article19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rightsand the freedom of communication guaranteed innational legislation. It also prompted fears of anattempt by the Cameroonian authorities to suppressthe use of social networks, which had playeda crucial role in the political unrest in the Arabworld. Speaking on behalf of the government, TchiromaBakary, the minister of communication andgovernment spokesman, told the Agence FrancePresse that it was the government’s job to protectthe nation.How significant is the internetin social protest in Cameroon?Some opposition political parties, associated withcertain figures of civil society in the diaspora,launched a series of messages commemorating theFebruary 2008 events using printed leaflets and acampaign blog called the Collective of Democraticand Patriotic Organisations of Cameroonians inthe Diaspora (CODE). 5 The Facebook page of writerAlain Patrice Nganang 6 and SMS text messageswere also used. An event was planned during whathad become known as “martyrs’ week”. This startedmodestly on the due date, 23 February 2011.Protesters in Douala and in Yaoundé were quicklyoutnumbered by police. Cameroonian authoritieswere on a high alert over possible riots and floodedthe two major cities with armed police and gendarmescontrolling major access roads, centralsquares and government buildings. Vehicles enteringthe cities were stopped and checked. The troopsmonitored any unforeseen gathering of people thatcould form the nucleus of a protest, asking them todisperse.Protesters found a difficult environment partlydue to the massive police presence, and also becausemost of the calls for Cameroonians to stagean “Egypt-like” revolution indeed had come fromthe diaspora, with even independent media in Cameroongiving protests calls little attention and mainopposition figures remaining silent. Many Cameroonianstherefore felt the initiative was not fromwithin the country and disconnected from local realities.Outside the cities of Douala and Yaoundé,there were no reports of protests.Besides this massive deployment of troopson the streets, the government blocked MTN’sTwitter service for almost ten days. This raiseda fundamental question: Was the internet power5 lecode.canalblog.com6 www.cause.com/causes/387444enough to threaten our government? As a communicationmedium unique in its kind, and unlikeany other medium before, the internet allowsindividuals to express their ideas and opinionsdirectly to a world audience and easily to eachother. This power to give and receive information,so central to any conception of democracy, providesa vital connection between the internet andhuman rights and could be considered a threat torepressive regimes. 7Because of this, the blocking of MTN’s Twitterservice can be seen as a human rights violationby Cameroonian authorities. Reporters WithoutBorders condemned the lack of transparency surroundingthe block and feared its implications foronline freedom of expression in Cameroon. It said:“We hope the blocking of Twitter via SMS is nota prelude to other kinds of censorship of mobilephone services or tighter controls on the internet.Everything suggests that the authorities are tryingto stop microblogging. We deplore the apparentreadiness to impose censorship for the least reason,especially when the target is the peacefulexpression of opinions.” 8Yet social networks do not have many users inCameroon. Facebook, for example, is used by only1.5% of the population (176,666 Facebook userson 31 December 2010; a 4% penetration rate in thecountry according to ITU figures). 9 Only around 50people were affected by the suspension of MTN’sTwitter service – so was it worth blocking it?According to John Clarke, 10 in order to makea case for disobeying the law as a significant elementof social mobilisation, it is necessary toestablish three things. First, you have to demonstratethat the society you propose to challengeis very seriously unequal and unjust. If the grievancedoes not rise to this standard, there is littlebasis for taking defiant action. Second, you haveto show that the state structure and laws of thissame society serve, in a fundamental fashion, toperpetuate the injustices you are opposing. Third,beyond demonstrating a deep degree of unfairness,you have to show that the historical recordand the present situation would suggest thatdefying the rules of society offers the distinct possibilityof success.7 Centre for Democracy and Technology (2000) TheInternet and Human Rights: An Overview. www.cdt.org/international/000105humanrights.shtml8 www.ifex.org/cameroon/2011/03/25/twitter_blocked9 www.internetworldstats.com10 Clarke, J. (2003) Social Resistance and the Disturbing of the Peace.www.ohlj.ca/archive/articles/41_23_clarke.pdfcameroon / 99


Were these issues combined in Cameroon’scase? Yet Bakary attacked the protest organiserssaying they wanted to “destroy the nation”.ConclusionArticle 19 of the Universal Declaration of HumanRights states: “Everyone has the right to freedom ofopinion and expression; this right includes freedomto hold opinions without interference and to seek,receive, and impart information and ideas throughany media, and regardless of frontiers.” Therefore,no matter what the means, government restrictionson speech or access to the speech of others violatebasic freedom of expression protections.Though we have to acknowledge that fewthings could be more threatening to some regimesthan access to and use of a medium that knows noboundaries and is very hard to control, protectingfreedom of expression on the internet is crucialbecause free expression is the foundation of democracy,essential to the individual’s pursuit ofhappiness and a tool that provides protection forother fundamental human rights.It may have been that the government’s responseto the protests was an anxiety about foreigninfluence in local affairs – including the influence ofCameroonians abroad. The internet is yet to be usedas the most effective means for communicating humanrights or to expose human rights violations.Online campaigns inside Cameroon were accompaniedby print campaigns, as a matter of necessity.And activists used a website run by exiled Camerooniansto urge their fellow countrymen to learn fromthe revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt.Action stepsA number of steps should be taken to address theconcerns described above:• Policies that limit censorship of online communicationshould be formulated.• Law No. 90/052 of 19 December 1999 on socialcommunication should be amended to take intoaccount the internet.• The legislation setting up the National Commissionon Human Rights and Freedoms shouldbe reformed to conform to the UN principlesrelating to the status of national institutions toguarantee its independence. 11• Citizens are not mere consumers of content, butalso creators of content on the internet. Takenas an analogy, activists should not only use theinternet to call for protest, but also to formulateideas that can contribute constructively to thedevelopment of a country. n11 UN General Assembly resolution 48/134 of December 1993, annex.100 / Global Information Society Watch


CHINAThe internet: China’s fourth estateDanweiJeremy Goldkornwww.danwei.orgIntroductionChina’s investigative journalists and a small groupof news publications have become increasinglybold over the last decade. But the internet is nowthe most powerful force in China’s emerging rightsmovements, the exposure of abuses of power, freedomof expression and the development of a realcivil society. Emboldened by several high-profilecases of injustices brought to light by online activism,concerned citizens and reporters are taking tosocial media to air their grievances and attract publicityto their cases.The official response usually includes repressionof information. The Chinese government continuesto operate the world’s most extensive censorshipapparatus, affecting both traditional media and theinternet. Because of this and other factors, not all citizengrievances or activist and journalist campaignsare successfully exposed on the internet.Nonetheless, the huge numbers of Chinese citizensonline – more than 450 million people at thetime of writing – and the blazing speed with whichsocial media spread certain kinds of informationmean that news about breaking events can no longerbe hidden by the authorities.To understand how the internet is changingchallenges to the abuse of power and social resistancein China, it is useful to look at two events thattook place in late 2010 and July 2011:• “My dad is Li Gang” – a fatal hit-and-run accidentby a well-connected young man who wasexposed online in October 2010• The Wenzhou high-speed railway disaster on 23July 2011.Precedent: The brick factory slave childrenPrecedents were set many years before the “My dadis Li Gang” scandal broke on the Chinese internet.The watershed moment was perhaps the 2007 exposureof a brick kiln run using slave labour.In June 2007, an internet user posted a letterto a Chinese internet forum appealing for help. Theauthors of the letter were some of the parents ofmore than 400 children who had been kidnappedand forced to work as slaves in a brick factoryin Shanxi province. After finding out where theirchildren were imprisoned, the group of parentsattempted to rescue their children, but were preventedby security guards and local police workingin cahoots with the brick factory’s owners.Within a week of publishing their appeal for helponline, the affair became a cause célèbre, and theShanxi provincial government shut down the factoryand liberated the children. The nationwide scandalerupted online first, driven by citizen anger, whilethe traditional news media had to play catch-up. Thefirst traditional media to report on the case were themore commercial and independent local news organisations,but within a week of the scandal breakingonline, even the highly controlled central governmentnews organisations such as Xinhua News Agencywere forced to publish stories about it.This pattern has been repeated many timessince 2007: an outrage of some kind occurs; citizenspost text, photos or videos about it on theinternet; the postings are forwarded virally; andonly then do the traditional media catch up and report,usually followed by government action. Oncethe public outcry has been appeased, censorshipusually steps up again, and many of the internetpostings about it disappear.Case 1: My dad is Li GangThe “My dad is Li Gang” case followed the samepattern. Baoding is a city of more than 1.5 millionpeople in north China’s Hebei province. On 16 October2010, a 22-year-old man named Li Qimingwas drunk and driving his Volkswagen Magotandown a street inside the campus of Hebei Universityin Baoding to take his girlfriend back to herdormitory.Li drove into two rollerblading university students,Chen Xiaofeng (20) and Zhang Jingjing (19).Chen died soon afterwards and Zhang was seriouslyinjured. Li ignored the injured students anddrove away. Before he left the university grounds,some campus security guards tried to stop him, buthe screamed out of his car window, “Sue me if youdare! My dad is Li Gang!” and drove off.CHINA / 101


Li Gang was the deputy director of the Baodingpublic security bureau (i.e. police authority) in Beishidistrict, where Hebei University is located.Li Qiming was not pursued or arrested after theincident, even when Chen died of her injuries thenext day. Some bystanders had seen the accidentand Li’s escape and complained of it to local newsmedia and on the internet. But nothing happenedto Li, and there was evidence to suggest a cover-upwas orchestrated to keep the news out of the media.The police did not investigate.Some students who had witnessed the accidentcontinued to post about it online. In particular, theyfocused on Li’s words, “My dad is Li Gang.” Fourdays after the accident, a blogger organised anonline competition which required entrants to usethe phrase “My dad is Li Gang” in a poem writtenin classical Chinese style. There were hundreds ofsubmissions and thousands of users voted for theirfavourite poem.The phrase became an internet meme: photoshoppedimages and spoof videos of George W.Bush and other famous figures appeared using “Mydad is Li Gang” to signify arrogance, corruption anda lack of decency.By 20 October, the “My dad is Li Gang” casewas famous and newspapers started reporting onthe case. On 22 October, Li Qiming appeared onthe country’s most highly censored and conservativemedia platform: the state-owned broadcasterCCTV’s news channel. He wept and apologised forhis deeds, but if anything the apology further enragedhis online critics.There were two important factors behind thestrong online reaction to the Li Gang case. Firstly,the catch phrase “My dad is Li Gang”, which rollsoff the tongue in Chinese (wo ba shi Li Gang), madethe case memorable and inspired all kinds of darklyhumorous creativity.Secondly, there is a growing resentment felt byordinary young Chinese people about the conspicuouswealth gap that now exists in China betweena tiny privileged elite and the rest of the country.This is clearly expressed in the Chinese online slangfor the children of the rich and powerful: fu er dai(literally second-generation rich) and guan er dai(second generation of government officials). Bycontrast, many internet users identify themselvesas pimin – rabble (or literally “buttocks people”). 1Li Qiming’s expensive car and his confidence thathe could escape even being questioned after a fatal1 “Pi” literally means buttocks or “arse”; “min” means people.Rabble is probably the best translation to convey the sense of theword, but does not have the connotations of rudeness and slang.The phrase could also be translated as “ordinary bums”.accident that he caused made him a perfect symbolof the fu er dai and guan er dai, and the pimin roseup in rebellion online.As the anger seemed to be directed against thesystem, not just Li Qiming, government censorshipefforts stepped up. The story was scrubbedfrom some news websites. In the last few days ofOctober, directives from government propagandaorganisations, leaked onto the internet, ordered themedia to stop “hyping” the Li Gang case. Li Qimingremained at liberty.But the stink over Hebei University and Li Qimingwould not go away, partly because people continuedto circulate fresh information about the victims and LiQiming, and viciously funny “My dad is Li Gang” jokes.Despite restricted media coverage and aperception that the authorities were reluctant to investigatethe case properly, Li Qiming was arrestedin January 2011, and sentenced to six years in jailand a large fine at his trial at the end of that month.Li remains in jail, and “My dad is Li Gang” remainsa popular catch phrase on the Chineseinternet.Case 2: The 23 July Wenzhou high-speedrail crashJust after 8 p.m. on a Saturday night, 23 July 2011,a bullet train on one of China’s new high-speed railwaylines smashed into the back of another trainthat had stalled on the tracks.At 8:47 p.m., a passenger on the stalled trainwith the pseudonym Yangjuan Quanyang tweetedfrom her Sina Weibo microblog: “Help, the trainD301 is derailed just ahead of South Wenzhou Station,passengers are crying and we cannot find anytrain crew, please help us!”Since its launch in summer 2009, the TwitterlikeWeibo, operated by established news portalSina.com, has become one of China’s most popularweb services and a powerful tool for the exposureand viral spread of information. Weibo played alarge role in the aftermath of the Wenzhou crash.Late into Saturday night when most journalistsand government information minders were sleeping,news of the crash circulated on Weibo. YangjuanQuanyang’s tweet was widely cited by media as thetweet that broke news of the crash.By Sunday, the official death toll was above 30and officials were blaming the accident on a lightningstrike, an explanation that did not satisfy anoutraged citizenry on the internet.Claims emerged in news reports and on the internetthat the rescue effort had stopped after only fivehours of work. As much as ten hours after that, the finalsurvivor was rescued, a two-and-a-half-year-old girl.102 / Global Information Society Watch


Even worse, on Monday, eye witnesses postedphotos and video to the internet that appeared toshow some of the wrecked train carriages beingburied, less than 48 hours after the accident.One video showed a carriage being pulled fromthe railway viaduct. What looks like a dead body appearsto fall out of a window to the ground. It lookedlike evidence was being covered up and nobodybelieved that a thorough investigation could bemade in such a short amount of time. A Ministry ofRailways spokesperson told the media that the carriageswere being buried because of marshy groundunderneath the viaduct, saying that they needed asolid platform for rescue equipment. He concludedhis statement with the words, “Whether you believeit or not, I believe it,” which quickly became an internetmeme and, again, the source of darkly criticaljokes.The initial official explanation of the cause of theaccident – that the first train was struck by lighting –was widely criticised on the internet and it fed intoan already toxic public opinion of China’s railwayauthorities. In the first half of the year, as the highspeedrail project was being hyped by foreign mediaand hailed as a glorious achievement of the ChineseCommunist Party, doubts started to emerge.In February, Minister of Railways Liu Zhijun lost hisjob and an investigation began into charges of corruption.Some media organisations and bloggersreported tales of massive corruption: huge bribesand kickbacks, and stories that Liu used some of hisill-gotten gains to keep eighteen mistresses in a lifeof luxury. There were suggestions that quality wassacrificed for speed and that some of the corruptionin the Ministry of Railways meant that inferior constructionmaterials were used to allow officials toembezzle the money they saved.The combination of public suspicions about therailway authorities and the poor handling of therescue emboldened journalists and editors. In theweek after the accident, small news magazines,websites, newspapers, and even the normallyconservative CCTV News produced investigativereports and highly critical commentary. Even theCommunist Party mouthpiece newspaper The People’sDaily said in an editorial that China should notpursue “blood-stained GDP” – that growth shouldnot take precedence over people’s lives.The period of openness did not last long: eightdays after the accident, news of the accident andits investigation disappeared from newspaper frontpages. Propaganda organisations began warningnews media of consequences for failing to toe thenew line, which amounted to “keep quiet, don’t investigateand use only authorised reports.”Two poems from the “My dadis Li Gang” online protests, with theirimplied classical poetry referencesThe final couplet from the Tang Dynastypoem “Seeing [my friend] Xinjian Off atLotus Tower”, a sad poem about two friendsparting:洛 阳 亲 友 如 相 问一 片 冰 心 在 玉 壶If my friend at Luoyang asks of me, you mayanswer: “He’s keeping his pure heart and affectionin a jade vase, forever.”Li Gang version:洛 阳 亲 友 如 相 问就 说 我 爸 是 李 刚If my friend at Luoyang asks of me, you mayanswer: “My dad is Li Gang.”The philosopher Mencius (Mengzi in Chinese,372-289 B.C.) said:君 子 穷 则 独 善 其 身达 则 兼 善 天 下If a gentleman is poor, he does good worksin solitude; if he is rich, his work is for thegood of the whole world.Li Gang version:穷 则 独 善 其 身富 则 开 车 撞 人If a gentleman is poor, he does good worksin solitude; if he is rich, he drives his car intopeople.There is no doubt that the blitz of media andinternet reporting on the accident will result in amore thorough investigation. But it remains to beseen how transparent the authorities will be aboutthe results.ConclusionsThe Li Gang and Wenzhou train crash cases illustratehow the internet is allowing Chinese citizensand activists to expose abuses of power – but notall such cases will captivate the public, and the resultsare mixed, depending on official sensitivity tothe case.CHINA / 103


A key factor in most successful cases is thatthe wrongdoing has some resonance with China’sinternet demographic, which is largely made up ofunder-40s with middle-class aspirations. In the twocases discussed here, resentment about the behaviourof the privileged elite and frustration with a trainsystem that has been held up as a national achievementwere key in inspiring a strong online response.The two cases above can be contrasted withattempts by online activists to organise a “JasmineRevolution” along the lines of the Egyptianand Tunisian uprisings, which failed to elicit a responsefrom the Chinese public and only resultedin a crackdown on activists, lawyers and journalists.The key difference is that the Jasmine Revolutioncalls had no concrete goals, nor did theyattempt to redress a specific wrong, but rather tostart a movement challenging the political system.Not only do such movements cause much harsherrepression and censorship from the authorities,they do not generate a sympathetic response fromordinary people on the internet.Action stepsThe following key points are useful learning experiencesfor any civil society action planned for theinternet:• Publicising a grievance or a cause in China iscomplex. However, the internet has become thekey tool for this type of communication, and theWeibo service is currently the most active anduseful method.• Calls to investigate a specific case of wrongdoing,especially when it involves commonresentments, are more likely to be heard. Abstracttargets and calls to change the politicalsystem do not go anywhere.• Eye-witness accounts, photographic and videoevidence, particularly of violent or fatal events,are the most likely materials to attract citizeninterest. n104 / Global Information Society Watch


colombiaSocial mobilisation for the defence of digital rightsand against the “Lleras Act”ColnodoLilian Chamorro Rojaswww.colnodo.apc.orgIntroductionThe governmental interest to control the use of theinternet has become a reality in some countriesthrough the introduction of controversial laws suchas the Sinde and Hadopi Laws in Spain and France, 1respectively, or laws introduced – albeit with publicconsensus – in Chile and Canada. Internationalorganisations have warned about the danger ofrestricting access to the internet without carefulconsideration of the implications, given the relevancethe internet has for democracy and people’srights. 2The Colombian government has submitted a billas part of the preconditions to sign the Free TradeAgreement (FTA) with the United States (US), knownas the Lleras Bill. It has been widely criticised bymany sectors of society because it goes againstbasic rights such as the freedom of expression andcivil and political rights. The response from thesesectors has been to organise a campaign againstthe bill using the internet and the media.Policy and political backgroundThe protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) hasbeen an ongoing issue related to trade, at the nationaland international level. In Colombia this issue hasbeen discussed in the National Council for Social andEconomic Policy (CONPES) 3 plans and documents onintellectual property for 2008-2010. 4 According tomany sectors these ignore the new uses and trendsof digital media, such as free software and free licencesamong others, and only address traditionalentertainment and cultural media. 5Likewise, in the present government’s NationalDevelopment Plan, intellectual property is definedas strategically necessary to promote innovation inthe country and essential to negotiate and establishinternational trade agreements – therefore the needto make the required adjustments to the law. 6In the FTA with the US there is a chapter on IPRwith an annexed letter on the responsibility of internetservice providers (ISPs) to fulfil the function ofprotecting IPR. 7As a response to this requirement included inthe FTA, on 4 April 2011, the Colombian governmentsubmitted Bill No. 241 of 2011, better known as theLleras Bill. This bill aims to regulate the responsibilityfor infractions of the law regarding copyrightand related rights on internet. Many sectors haveopposed the bill, especially those that have beenworking for the promotion of Creative Commonslicensing and GPL (General Public License), amongothers.At the same time, a joint declaration on freedomof expression and opinion on the internet issued byrepresentatives of the United Nations (UN), the Organizationfor Security and Co‐operation in Europe(OSCE), the Organization of American States (OAS)and the African Commission on Human and People’sRights (ACHPR) has contributed with strong argumentsfor the defence of citizens’ digital rights. 8Challenging the control of the internetOn 4 April 2011, Minister of the Interior and JusticeGerman Vargas Lleras tweeted the following on hisTwitter account @German_Vargas: “Let me tell youthat today we have submitted the bill on copyrights.No more piracy on the internet. Authors, singers,composers are supporting us.” 9Soon his message was retweeted and peoplereacted either with alarm 10 or jubilation. 11 The bill1 alt1040.com/2011/01/ley-francesa-antidescargas-ley-sinde2 Joint Declaration on Freedom of Expression and the Internet.www.cidh.oas.org/relatoria/showarticle.asp?artID=849&lID=13 CONPES is the body responsible for formulating economic policy inColombia. For more information see: www.eltiempo.com/archivo/documento/MAM-2218214 www.derechodeautor.gov.co/htm/Planeacion/Audiencias%20Publicas/2008cp3533.pdf5 equinoxio.org/destacado/carta-abierta-conpes-plan-accionsistema-propiedad-intelectual-26476 National Development Plan 2010-2014: “Prosperity for All”,Executive Summary. www.dnp.gov.co/PORTALWEB/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=4-J9V-FE2pI%3d&tabid=12387 www.tlc.gov.co/eContent/newsDetail.asp?id=5023&IDCompany=37&Profile=8 http://www.cidh.oas.org/relatoria/showarticle.asp?artID=849&lID=29 twitter.com/#!/German_Vargas/status/5496621796177920110 twitter.com/#!/ppco/status/5496780821117337711 twitter.com/#!/Juliana_M_L/status/55086053769490434colombia / 105


was soon shared on the net. 12 In less than 24 hoursnet surfers had started the hashtag #leylleras 13 toexchange information on the subject. Despite theefforts of Vargas Lleras and Senator Roy Barreras(who had submitted the bill) to popularise the tag#leyderechosdeautor (#copyrightlaw), the hashtag#leylleras became widely popular and the billbecame known as the Lleras Bill by the media andother social networks. 14Bill 241 is defined as the bill “[b]y which responsibilityfor infractions against copyright andrelated rights is regulated”. Vargas Lleras warnedin his blog: “Those who continue to support piracy,now beware! From now on, the law will punish themwith prison – and severely – if Congress passes thebill.” 15 The bill will punish ISPs and internet usersby blocking or banning content or by cancelling internetaccounts. Likewise there will be changes tothe penal code, among other controversial issues. 16It is not surprising that people and groups workingon issues such as free culture, free softwareand freedom of speech on the internet – who knewabout similar processes in Spain and France 17 – becameworried and began to meet virtually and faceto face to discuss the bill and organise campaigns.One of these meetings took place in Bogota.Carolina Botero, one of the supporters of CreativeCommons in Colombia, got together with free softwareactivists for the first time to discuss the bill.Given her involvement in promoting “copyleft” 18in the country, Botero was up to date on lawsconcerning copyright, was in contact with the ColombianCopyright Office (DNDA) and knew aboutthe government initiative to legislate on the issue. 19However, she had been expecting wide consultationon the bill and the involvement of citizens in thisconsultation. When Carolina and others realisedthe bill was submitted without any consultation 20they started a review of the bill and invited otherpeople and groups to join in. Ultimately, the group12 twitter.com/#!/Legal_TIC/status/5501242977564262413 twitter.com/#!/carobotero/status/5535927898224230514 equinoxio.org/estancias/reacciones-contra-la-ley-lleras-11065 andwww.delicious.com/knowledgefactory/leylleras?page=20, citedin www.enter.co/otros/la-transformacion-de-la-industria-culturalprimer-debate-sobre-leylleras15 germanvargasllerasmij.blogspot.com/2011/04/se-regulan-losderechos-de-autor-en.html16 Colombian Congress Bill No. 241 “By which responsibility forinfractions against copyright and related rights is regulated”.17 The Sinde Law in Spain and Hadopi Law in France.18 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyleft19 Audio available at: aumana.typepad.com/el_complejo_de_prometeo/2011/01/director-nacional-de-derechos-de-autorcuenta-lo-que-nos-espera-en-el-2011-en-pi-en-colombia.html20 www.openbusinesslatinamerica.org/wp/2011/06/18/leyllerascronica-de-una-polemica-social-anunciadaRedPaTo2 (Net for All) was created, and accordingto Freddy Pulido from RedPaTo2, 21 it is opento all members of the public – artists, academics,scholars, technicians and lawyers, among others.RedPaTo2 aims for the drafting of a consensualbill with the participation of all citizens. To do so,they are working on the internet and meeting faceto face, 22 campaigning in social networks and themedia, informing the public, and making alternativeproposals to the Lleras Bill.Likewise, there is also a group called ReCrea, 23formed by professionals – mainly artists and contentcreators – whose goal is the promotion of cultureand education in Colombia. Its main objective is tomake remixing of content legal by proposing theinclusion of an article in the bill. 24 This would enablereproduction without payment and/or requirethe user to obtain the permission of authors to usetheir cultural, scientific and medical work, as well asfragments of protected materials, mentioning thesource, title and author and making sure that thefinal product is used for non-profit purposes.Other movements with more political purposes,such as the recently created Partido Pirata deColombia 25 (Pirate Party of Colombia), have alsoexpressed their views on the bill and are generatingcontent regarding the bill on blogs and socialnetworks. 26The group Anonymous, known in several countriesof the world for their protests and distributeddenial of services (DDoS) attacks, has also takenaction against the Colombian government andsenators involved in passing the bill. They have attackedColombian President Juan Manuel Santos’Facebook profile and the Twitter account of formerpresident Alvaro Uribe. 27 In an interview given to themagazine Enter, specialising in technology in Colombia,Anonymous declared they want to spreadinformation about the Lleras Bill in the media and tothe general public. 28 Likewise, in an interview givento the newspaper El Tiempo, they explained in detailtheir reasons for rejecting the bill. 2921 Interview on 4 July 2011.22 Blog: redpatodos.co/blog; wiki: redpatodos.co/wiki; email list:lists.redpatodos.co/listinfo.cgi/general-redpatodos.co;Twitter: @RedPaTo2; identi.ca: identi.ca/tag/leyllera23 www.recrea.co/sobre-recrea24 www.recrea.co/comunicado/propuesta-recrea25 www.soypirata.org26 On Twitter @ppco and on Facebook at es-es.facebook.com/pirataco?sk=wall27 alt1040.com/2011/08/anonymous-inicia-ataque-contra-elgobierno-de-colombia28 www.enter.co/internet/anonymous-habla-sobre-detenciones-enespana-ley-lleras-y-onda-larga29 www.infografiando.com/2011/04/entrevista-de-anonymouscolombia-el.html106 / Global Information Society Watch


There are other groups that have contributedto the discussion on blogs, networks and audio andvideo platforms. 30 The media have also contributed tothe discussion by presenting different points of view. 31It is necessary to pause a moment to understandin more detail what has prompted this movement,given that the discussion is not limited to the articlesof the law, but that the movement’s foundationwas laid before the tweet of Minister Vargas Lleras.Whereas the government’s goal through the CON-PES documents, the National Development Planand the FTA has been to strengthen intellectualproperty and copyright, surfers have been usingand promoting virtual tools to freely exchange, copyand co-create intellectual creation. “Here we are allco-creators,” said Alejandra Bonnet, a member ofReCrea, in one of the talks organised in the Senate.32 The bill served as a catalyst for these personsto gather around a theme. While not all groups usethe same strategies, and there are points of disagreementamong them, in the comments made onarticles of the bill there are common elements.One of the points of contention for critics of thebill is that judges will be excluded from the act ofcensoring, and an ISP can simply block content thatis identified by an author or creator as infringingthe law. This, as Carolina Botero explains, “changesthe presumption of innocence, and puts at risk thedue process of law and rights such as the freedomof expression and opinion, with disproportionatesentences for the alleged offenders, not only inthe process but also in the suggested contractualprovisions for the ISPs.” 33 According to Juan CarlosMonroy of DNDA, the legal possibility of blockingcontent is already in place in the law, and the billaims for the “detection and blocking of content”without a judge’s sentence given that the justicesystem does not have the infrastructure required toimplement the law. 34Another point of contention is the violation ofthe right to privacy, given that the bill allows passingon information about the alleged offender withoutdue process. 35 Likewise, the possibility of preventingpeople who break the law more than once fromaccessing the internet is considered a violation oflaws already in place. Here, according to UN Special30 www.netvibes.com/hiperterminal#LeyLleras31 www.enter.co/search/leylleras?t=c32 www.enter.co/internet/internautas-hablaron-con-los-ponentes-dela-leylleras33 www.openbusinesslatinamerica.org/wp/2011/06/18/leyllerascronica-de-una-polemica-social-anunciada34 Conversatorio de Ley Lleras realizado en el Campus Party, Bogota,2011.35 www.openbusinesslatinamerica.org/wp/2011/06/18/leyllerascronica-de-una-polemica-social-anunciadaRapporteur Frank de la Rue, the bill violates Article19 of the International Covenant on Political and CivilRights, which stipulates the right of all individualsto seek, receive and impart information and ideas. 36Both defenders and critics of the bill are inagreement that it is a copy of the Digital MilleniumCopyright Act (DMCA), which was adopted in 1998in the US, 37 and that it does not take into accountthe deficiencies of the law in Colombia regardingmodern technologies or the fact that Colombia belongsto the Inter-American Commission on HumanRights where “all dispositions on civil rights mustbe submitted to a judicial process.” 38These groups have carried out several actionsaimed at modifying the bill. 39 Social mobilisationhas led Congress to organise discussion forums onthe bill. The social movements have also organisedmeetings and invited people to discuss the issues.A session in Congress that was seen by more than2,000 people on the internet all over the countrywas unprecedented – with viewers tweeting theircomments. 40Some senators have listened to the objections.One of the senators opposing the bill organised severalmeetings aimed at sharing information. 41 Thegovernment’s proposed dialogues on the bill 42 havenot been accepted by the social movements, giventhat they have no impact at the level of Congresswhere the bill has been discussed. 43RedPaTo2 has submitted alternative modelsto the bill based on Chilean and Canadian laws,and expressed well-founded objections to someof the articles, such as the need to include exceptionsfor disabled people, among others. Likewise,it petitioned Congress to make the process moretransparent and to work on consensus building indrafting the bill. 44In order to be approved, the bill has to pass fourstages. The first one – in the First Commission of the36 www.enter.co/internet/onu-da-otro-golpe-a-leyes-antidescargas37 www.enter.co/internet/%C2%BFpara-quien-legislamos-segundodebate-inspirado-por-leylleras38 Contribution made by Lorenzo Villegas, solicitor for GoogleColombia, during the debate on the Lleras Bill in Congress. www.ustream.tv/recorded/14950504#utm_campaign=unknown&utm_source=14950504&utm_medium=social39 RedPaTo2 submitted an open letter with 2,300 digital signaturesbefore the debate of the bill. See: redpatodos.co/blog/ley-lleras-aprimer-debate40 www.elespectador.com/opinion/columna-277957-librecultura-elproceso-legislativo-leylleras41 redpatodos.co/blog/y-ahora-que42 Like the blog derechodeautor.wordpress.com launched on 6 Aprilafter the debate on social networks had begun.43 www.karisma.org.co/carobotero/index.php/2011/04/12/participar-en-leylleras-una-cuestion-de-fondo-y-de-forma44 redpatodos.co/blog/comentarios-juridicos-ponencia-primerdebate-ley-llerascolombia / 107


Senate – was already passed with seven votes in favourand three against, with some modifications tothe articles but not the substantial ones expectedby the activists. 45 This proves the urgency the governmenthas in passing the bill instead of reachinga consensus.The debate is not over yet. There are still threestages left before the bill is passed, and socialmovements have not given up the hope of securinga law that protects authors’ copyrights and also therights of internet users.ConclusionsThe mobilisation that the Lleras Bill has generatedhas shown the social changes brought about by theinternet, not only regarding copyrights and intellectualproperty, but also regarding digital rights andcitizens’ participation in democracies.On the one hand there are the industries andpeople that support and defend the traditional useof artistic and intellectual creations, and advocatefor tools and content created to be protected bycopyright. On the other hand, there are those whohave found ways to access information that waspreviously inaccessible and, as they point out, theyhave transformed themselves from mere consumersto creative producers, generating new ways ofcreating and distributing their work. Therefore, it isimportant to consider both the needs of copyrightholders and the need to have access to knowledgeand information, which is a basic element in thepromotion of culture and education. It is also importantto highlight that what we are looking for isnot the suppression of any of the alternatives of culturalcreation, such as Creative Commons, but thesimultaneous recognition of alternative models ofcultural creation that have arisen in the digital era.It is obvious that there is no consensus regardingdigital rights and their impact on humanrights. While governments are trying to controlthe internet, users are trying to defend freedom ofexpression and the information it provides. In thisregard, the UN and other international organisations,in their declarations on human rights and theinternet, have taken a big step forward by providingguidance to lead the discussion on key themes suchas the freedom of expression, censorship and internetneutrality, among others.Finally, this situation shows the changes thatare beginning to take place in our democracies.The internet is a space that has allowed people toshare, discuss and make proposals, something thathas taken many governments by surprise. However,as Pulido points out, there is a lack of real participationbeyond discussing or sharing information– therefore the need to get people involved in legislativematters.Action stepsConsidering the mobilisation that has taken placearound the Lleras Bill, and the shared experiencesof some of the actors involved, it is possible to identifythe following actions:• Share and disseminate information.• Convene stakeholders to analyse and tackle theissue. Find people who can translate the jargoninto something understandable for the generalpublic.• Get together in an organised manner. Definecommon objectives and the strategies that follow,with clear and agreed rules.• Assemble a group of trusted people to carryout the activities – again, with clear and agreedrules.• Search for appropriate technological tools toshare information in a team, appointing peoplefor administrative matters. For example,RedPaTo2 has chosen several ways for communicating,such as a blog to publish pressreleases and documents, using micro-bloggingtools such as Twitter and identi.ca, and usingEtherPad 46 for creating documents in a group,among others.• Establish contact with the media and, if needed,with legislators supporting the mobilisation ofpeople.• Keep the topic in the spotlight by publishing informationand organising virtual and non-virtualforums and debates.• Participate in all the spaces in which the issue isdebated or solved.• Submit proposals to actors responsible for thedecision making, as well as the general public.• Support the process by broadcasting thesessions and debates of legislators and by publishingall related documents. n45 www.lasillavacia.com/historia/la-leylleras-un-proyecto-que-poneen-jaque-al-congreso-2525546 ietherpad.com108 / Global Information Society Watch


CONGO, REPUBLIC OFViolating privacy online in the CongoAZUR DéveloppementRomeo Mbengouwww.azurdev.orgIntroductionThe internet is revolutionising social, economic,cultural and political life across the world. It hasbrought an avalanche of opportunities to its millionsof users, and has become a tool that we cannotdo without; almost all services, administrative orotherwise, depend upon it either directly or indirectly.It also contributes positively to human rightsin countries like our own, especially with regard tofreedom of opinion and expression as set out inArticle 19 of the Universal Declaration of HumanRights and Article 19 of the Constitution of Congo.However, measures to prevent the abuse ofthe internet are lacking, and the absence of thesemeasures impacts negatively on human rights.There are many reasons for this, including thepublic’s ignorance regarding its rights and how todemand them. There is also an absence of specificlaws defining and punishing certain online violationsof rights.In this report we present some cases of humanrights infringements, in particular those that relateto invasion of privacy on the internet.Political and legislative contextThe internet is governed by various laws that regulateinformation and communications technologies(ICTs) in the Congo. These include a 2001 law onfreedom of information and communication; a2009 law regulating the electronic communicationssector; another law from 2009 which sets upa regulatory agency for the sector; and Decree No.2010-554 (adopted in July 2010) which requires subscribersto landline and mobile telephone servicesto register with their identity documents, and dealswith the storing of electronic communication databy service providers.It is important to emphasise that this legalframework establishes and guarantees freedom ofaccess to sources of information through the internet(Article 174 of the 2001 law, Article 3 of the2009 law on electronic communications) and, byextension, freedom of expression. However, its limitationsregarding the protection of privacy and ofpersonal data should be noted. In this environment,besides criminal activity, the invasion of privacy iscommon practice.This situation is exacerbated by the fact thatmany in the Congo are new to the internet – and it isbecoming more popular. There is a widespread lackof awareness of online rights and security, and littlelegal knowledge amongst the general population.In such a context, it is no surprise to note seriousviolations of human rights.The violation of privacy on the internetThe following two cases were widely reported.Case 1This involves the director of a well-known companyin Brazzaville, the capital, and one of his secretaries,who were away on work together in an Africancountry. They were both married and were havingan affair.During their trip they photographed their sexualencounters and uploaded them onto the director’slaptop. When the director returned to Brazzaville,his laptop encountered a problem and he handedit in to be repaired. In the course of his work, themaintenance technician discovered the file containingthe images of the director and his secretary. Thetechnician, under the pretext that he would not havebeen paid by the director, circulated the images byemail. These very intimate and somewhat pornographicimages, which showed the faces of the two,were circulated to hundreds of email addresses.Case 2In a similar vein, the second case involves a youngwoman who was raped in the Mansimou districtclose to the Djoue River in a suburb of Brazzaville.She was photographed while unconscious. The imageof the young woman stripped almost naked wassent to hundreds of people via email. The womanherself may never have known that her picture wascirculated online and the perpetrator never cared.Situations like this arise regularly but are notreported; and the victims are not even aware thatthey have rights which they can demand. These twoRepublic of Congo / 109


stories highlight the weakness in the regulation:public awareness.The respect of the right to privacyamongst individualsNowadays technology puts powerful surveillancetools in the hands of individuals – for example, amobile telephone equipped with a camera and internetconnection, or digital cameras, which can beused to invade the privacy of others.On the other hand, the November 2009 law onelectronic communications and the 2010 decree onidentification of subscribers show that the state hasseemingly unlimited power to invade the privacy ofits citizens in the interest of security.There are no precise descriptions of situationswhich justify intrusions of privacy by the state in thedecree. It seems that the state can access personaldata under any pretext without the consent of theindividual concerned, who can do nothing to stop itfrom happening.The general public’s poor understandingof ICT issuesMany people do not know that the publication ofimages in contexts such as those described aboveconstitutes a serious infringement of their right toprivacy, and that no one has the right to publishthese images without the consent of the people involved.For various cultural reasons, it seems thatpeople are not concerned about the protection ofprivacy on the internet.There are lawsuits about defamation involvingtraditional forms of libel (particularly involving printand broadcasting media), but there are almost nocases of legal action for people whose privacy is invadedon the internet.Roger Bouka, executive director of the Congolesehuman rights watchdog OCDH, says that:We believe that the dignity of all human beingsshould be respected, and it is not right for peopleto violate the privacy of another person. Atthe very least we believe that measures aimedat the protection of the individual, their privacyand their physical and moral integrity on the internetare necessary.What happens is this: due to the fact these technologiesare new and therefore not yet fully understood bythe general public, people are still only interested inthe advantages of the internet and are not concernedabout the damage the internet can do in society.Many of the people interviewed for this reportrecognised that the protection of personal privacyon the internet is still a worrying issue in the Congo,which in part is explained by the lack of stringentregulations.The violation of people’s privacy on the internetis also to an extent synonymous with violence, asSylvie Niombo, executive director of AZUR Développement,points out:There is an intersection between the violenceperpetrated against women and young girls andthe manipulation of the use of information andcommunication technologies. A person forwardingemails which explicitly talk of or allude toviolence incites violence in exactly the sameway as publishing private images of a young girlor woman. This is the case when it comes to thecirculation of images showing women committingadultery – this is like being lynched nakedin public on the internet.There have been cases reported of violence againstwomen and young girls after their partners, husbandsor fathers have read private email messages.Cases of this sort are discussed in the issue paperon the use of ICTs and perpetration of violenceagainst women and young girls in the Congo, writtenby Niombo in 2009 and published online by theWomen’s Networking Support Programme of theAssociation for Progressive Communications (APCWNSP). 1A large majority of the people interviewed in thisstudy think that the general public is very unawareof these sorts of privacy issues. The general publichas a poor understanding of the risks and theirrights in relation to the handling of their personalinformation. “There are currently no laws relating tothe protection of private information that explicitlyguarantee respect and sensitivity in the handling ofpersonal data. However, such legal protection andrights are only useful to people who are aware oftheir existence and know how to use them to theiradvantage,” says Davy Silou, an IT consultant.The lack of awareness also explains the lackof stringent regulations relating to the protectionof private information. Alain Ndalla, director ofnew technologies at the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications,admits that a large part of thetelecommunications sector is not regulated. Hestates that a series of measures are in the processof being introduced in order to guarantee betterprotection of individuals on the internet. He highlightedthat “texts on cyber security and cyber1 www.genderit.org/content/violence-against-women-andinformation-communication-technologies-congo-country-report110 / Global Information Society Watch


crime will be made available to users of ICTs and willtherefore protect the consumers and users. Punitivemeasures will also be put in place to punish thosewho commit acts of internet crime.”Internet regulations do not sufficientlyprotect human rightsOne must recognise that in the Congo the applicablelaw on privacy generally falls under Article 9 ofthe French Civil Code, which is not the result of aCongolese legislative process and does not takeinto account the reality of the local situation, inparticular the general public’s illiteracy and lack ofaccess to ICTs.Although the law that was brought into effectin 2009 makes provisions for the protection of theprivacy of internet users, it does not provide precisedescriptions of what we mean by privacy on theinternet and the measures guaranteeing its protection.Article 124 of the law stipulates that “onlinecommunication between members of the public isfree. The exercise of this freedom can only be limitedif it violates respect for human dignity, freedomand other people’s property.”With such legislative and regulatory imprecision,victims of privacy violations are to an extentdisarmed. In both cases highlighted earlier in thisreport, the victims have not sought reparations.In addition to this legislative and regulatory imprecision,the judicial authorities and police forceshave a poor record of investigating and prosecutingacts that infringe people’s dignity on the internet.Very few in the police force or even judiciary are wellinformed on the types of internet crime that affectCongolese citizens: this is in part because thesecrimes are not reported. However, there is also aneed to reinforce the capacities of the judiciary andpolice.It is also important to note that the generalslowness of legal proceedings make the public reluctantto pursue legal action against infringementsof their dignity, as they have little confidence thattheir case will be pursued..The problem of ICT governance in the Congocannot be ignored.The government, the private sector and civil societymust commit to increased investment in thefield of the protection of personal privacy on theinternet. This is all the more important given thehigh number of people – the majority of them youngadolescents – with mobile phones in the Congo, andwith increased numbers accessing the internet atinternet cafés.ConclusionThis report has highlighted several problems linkedto the internet and human rights. If the governmentis in the process of enabling the development of atrue information society, it is clear that in the Congothe balance between the individual’s freedom of expressionand the protection of human rights still hasnot been found.This is explained by the absence of adequateregulation of the issue of privacy as well as a lack ofpublic awareness of the risks linked to ICTs.It is therefore imperative that all the partiesinvolved (NGOs on ICTs and human rights, the governmentand international organisations) furthercommit themselves to actions that will lead to theprotection of privacy and human rights in general.Action stepsIn order to improve the protection of privacy andpersonal information on the internet, it is necessarythat certain measures be taken by differentstakeholders.Civil society• It is necessary that NGOs working on ICTs launchpublicity campaigns on the various kinds of privacyand personal information violations and thelegal measures that can be taken to redress them.• A collaborative effort between various NGOsworking on ICTs and human rights is necessaryin order to encourage the authorities to adoptmore proactive measures that protect humanrights on the internet.• Increased cooperation between the judiciaryand police force and organisations working onICTs and human rights is necessary.Government• It is necessary that the authorities adopt lawsthat adequately protect human rights on theinternet.• Members of the judiciary and police administrationneed to be educated on the issues relatingto the protection of human rights on the internet.International organisations• International organisations should make morefinancial contributions to public awarenesscampaigns on the use of ICTs and individual privacyrights. nRepublic of Congo / 111


costa ricaICTs and environmental activism in Costa RicaSulá BatsúKemly Camachowww.sulabatsu.comIntroductionThe Costa Rica report for GISWatch 2011 is based on aglobal problem: the exploitation of natural resourcesby international companies in the poorest countriesin the world. At the moment, natural resources arescarce and very valuable. At the same time, they areoften located in remote regions where the most excludedsocial groups are situated. Natural resourceshave been part of the culture and daily life of thecommunities living in these geographical locations.Excluded populations have fewer opportunitiesfor education, health, employment and other socialrights. As a consequence, these social groups havefewer opportunities to access information and tovoice their feelings and visions. They suffer an importantinformation gap, which is partly the resultof the digital divide.In addition, there is a disconnect betweenrural areas and urban areas. Decisions as to theexploitation of natural resources by internationalcompanies are made in the urban areas and are implementedin the rural areas after no consultationwith communities, and no information to supporttheir implementation or regarding their social andeconomic consequences.Social movements against miningCutris in San Carlos is situated on the northern CostaRican border. This is a protected rainforest areaand is the habitat of endangered species such asyellow almond trees, green macaws and manatees.Despite this restriction, in 2008 the former government,led by Oscar Arias, gave the Canadian InfinitoGold Company the concession for mining gold inover 300 hectares of this region in order to extractone million tons over ten years. The opencast miningoperation – known as the Crucitas gold miningproject – would have created an 85-metre pit andprovoked serious environmental impacts.Amongst other things, the mining operationswere to involve the use of cyanide, a highly toxicsubstance which would be transported by land andby sea, creating dangers not only for Costa Ricabut for the entire region along the transport route.The health of families and workers was expectedto be seriously impacted by the mine, while technicalstudies demonstrated the inevitable danger foraquifers.Different expert studies from institutions likethe University of Costa Rica and national and internationalenvironmental organisations like AIDA 1also showed the environmental, economic and socialdangers posed by the Crucitas mining project.The Arias government, despite having promotedits “Peace With Nature” programme, declared theproject to be in the public interest and of nationalimportance.The Infinito Gold Company has always disputedarguments related to the environmentalconsequences of the mining operation. Theycounter-argued that the project would generate employmentin a region where people do not have anyother opportunities and promised to reforest thedevastated area. They never accepted the danger ofthe opencast mining.This case is relevant because despite the declarationof public interest, the government’s supportand the important investment made by the CanadianInfinito Gold Company to promote the project,a social resistance movement at the national levelhas halted the Crucitas gold mining operation. AnAdministrative Court has not only annulled the concessiongranted to the Infinito Gold Company, buthas also ordered it to pay for environmental damagealready caused. Furthermore, it recommendedputting now ex-president Arias on trial for declaringthe project in the public interest despite thefact that it would have a negative impact on theenvironment and people. Subsequently, the CostaRican government has declared a moratorium on allproposed opencast mining. This was an importantsuccess for popular movements in the country.The role of ICTs in environmental strugglesInformation and communications technologies(ICTs) – in particular social networks, email and mobilephones – have played a very important role in1 www.aidambiental.org112 / Global Information Society Watch


this social resistance movement. They facilitate thedissemination of citizen information, popular mobilisationand communication between multiple anddiverse social groups.The Cutris-San Carlos story shows four key elementsthat characterised the role of ICTs in theenvironmental social resistance movement:New media versus traditional mediaThe Infinito Gold Company made a substantial investmentin a campaign to promote the benefits ofgold exploitation in Crucitas. It used television, radioand newspapers in this campaign. It also set up anInfinito website 2 connected to social networks – butcould not generate active participation on the site.In contrast, social groups working against miningin Crucitas did not have enough resources to usethe mass media. Instead they used social networks,email lists and mobile phones to express their disagreementand mobilise public opposition. There is43.7% 3 internet penetration in Costa Rica, while34.28% 4 of the population are social network users,as compared to 95% television and 99% radio penetration.5 Despite this, the social mobilisation usingcomparatively low-cost ICTs was successful. ByJuly 2010, 70% of Costa Ricans were well informedabout the potential hazards of opencast mining inCrucitas and were against the project.The information shared on these networks wasdeveloped and updated constantly by citizens,without control or restriction. Very often it wasmore significant and effective than the informationproduced by traditional media. It became soinfluential that traditional large-scale media tried to“infiltrate” social networks, looking for up-to-dateinformation provided by social movements and circulatedamongst their networks.Online-offline linksThere is a reciprocal relationship between onlineand offline activities. Social resistance is basedon a permanent cycle where digital activities influencelocal actions and citizen action is followed uponline. Innovative strategies and solutions, collectivedecisions and collaborative analysis in digitalspaces used in local actions constitute the power ofsocial resistance.One good example is “La Marcha por la Vida”(The March for Life), 6 a walk from Crucitas to San2 www.infinito.co.cr3 www.internetworldstats.com/am/cr.htm4 www.socialbakers.com/facebook-statistics/costa-rica5 www.conicit.go.cr/documentos/costaricadigital.pdf6 www.fueradecrucitas.blogspot.comJosé in July and San José to Crucitas in August (some200 kilometres each way). The objective was to informand protest. The march was conceived andpopularised using Facebook, YouTube and email. Itbegan with only 45 people but participation grewduring the march itself and through using the internet.In the end it achieved national media coverageand was followed daily on Facebook, creating a “virtualmarch” with many expressions of support bothonline and offline.Graphics, videos, photos and relevant documentswere uploaded to digital spaces, some laterprinted on t-shirts and stickers, and used to informlive discussions and video forums, amongst otheractions. Community activities were also popularisedusing videos, photos and audio uploaded tothe internet, creating an online-offline dynamicwhich is crucial in creating a popular movement.Bridging the urban-rural gapOne importance of ICTs is their ability to connectrural and urban populations, specifically when itcomes to environmental protests. In general thereis a significant social gap between rural and urbanareas including a wide digital divide. Despite thisdivide, the protection of environmental resourcesconnects rural and urban interests, and ICTsstrengthen the communication of information betweenorganisations and people in both locations.Bloque Verde (Green Bloc), 7 an environmentalorganisation, uploaded examples of urban culture,such as dance, music and graffiti, expressing concernsabout natural resource exploitation and thethreats to rural life. At the same time, rural communitiesvoiced their visions using digital audio andimages on platforms such as Fuera de Crucitas (GetOut of Crucitas), 8 an active digital space createdby the community in San Carlos. The result was acontinuous exchange of knowledge and informationbetween people with a common cause in rural andurban areas.Mix of voices for information transparencyAnother key role of ICTs during the Crucitas social resistancewas to provide the Costa Rican people withvarying and different information from diverse actorswith multiple opinions: studies from academia,manifestos from civil society, political discussionsfrom the Legislative Assembly, international agreementssigned by the country, the position of theInfinito Company, as well as the rural community’sopinion.7 www.bloqueverde.blogspot.com8 www.fueradecrucitas.blogspot.comCosta Rica / 113


This included blogs such as “Ni una sola mina”(Not A Single Mine), 9 which guaranteed informationtransparency and diversity for citizen decisionmaking. Environmental organisations and the culturalsector also played an “infomediation” role,translating into different languages and choosingappropriate media to better communicate betweensocial actors and regions.The viral effect of ICTs also favours disclosure atthe international level. The process was, as a result,followed by various international media (albatv.org,laprensa.com, elnuevodiario.com), observatory institutes(conflictosmineros.net) and environmentalorganisations (humboldt.org.ni), mostly in LatinAmerica.This role was crucial in demonstrating the importanceof information sharing in allowing citizensto make informed decisions.Action steps• Create open spaces with appropriate ICTs toconnect with popular movements in a meaningfulway.• Prioritise infomediary roles to connect multiplesources of knowledge.• Remember offline spaces – not everything happensin the digital space.• Develop citizen capacities to use ICTs.• Prioritise digital audio, video and images formeaningful public impact.• Follow your collective feelings and do not centraliseprocesses – be open to any opinion andinformation. nConclusion• The use of social networks by itself does notdefine a social movement as inclusive and democratic,nor does it guarantee successful results.• Traditional media are losing their power to connectwith the public.• ICTs promote new communication and informationprocesses and through these can encouragenew forms of organisation and ways to produceknowledge. The essential part is the spirit andthe power of organising without organisations. 10• Mixed voices, multiple sources of knowledgeand diverse information are basic conditionsfor an informed public, a new interest in politicalparticipation and solid community decisionmaking. ICTs are playing a key role in facilitatingthese conditions.• Social resistance is based on a combination ofonline and offline spaces, interaction betweendifferent geographical areas and exchangethrough different social actors with differentlanguages. Infomediation and infomediatorsare key to facilitate communication in communitiesof diversity.9 www.niunasolamina.blogspot.com10 Shirky, C. (2008) Here Comes Everybody, The Penguin Press.114 / Global Information Society Watch


côte d’ivoireInternet-enabled citizen engagementduring the 2010 electionsnnenna.orgNnenna Nwakanmawww.nnenna.orgIntroductionAt the start if its independence in 1960, Côte d’Ivoirewas ruled by Félix Houphouët-Boigny, in a mannerdescribed as “authoritarian and paternal”. In the 33years of his rule, Côte d’Ivoire enjoyed relative economicand social stability as well as growth, with itseconomic capital, Abidjan, becoming what is knownas the “Paris of Africa”. On his death in 1993, Houphouët-Boignywas succeeded by Aimé Henri KonanBédié, who was ousted from power by a militarycoup on Christmas Eve in 1999. General Robert Guei,the head of the military junta, managed to organisea presidential election, albeit amid civil crisis, whichsaw Laurent Gbagbo come into power in 2000. However,it would be another decade before electionswould be held again, sparking civil unrest.2010, the long-awaited electionsand the “ivoire-info-techpreneurs”The 2010 presidential elections were five years overdue.Several postponements had ended up galvanisingordinary citizens into civil action. In Côte d’Ivoire, presidentialelections are the first in a series of elections.They are followed by legislative, regional and finally,municipal elections. The presidential elections are carriedby a simple majority – by a candidate winning 50%of all valid votes plus one. In the case of no clear winner,a second round is organised as a run-off for thetwo candidates with the highest number of votes.The government had coupled voter registrationwith a national identification process. This meantthat a maximum number of voters were expected.At the end of the initial phase of registration,5,784,490 voters were cleared for the process. Anotherfeature of the elections was the number ofpresidential hopefuls. There were fourteen in all,including a woman, a comedian, a human rightsactivist and a farmer. The state-run national broadcasterindicated that each of the candidates wasgoing to “face the nation” for 90 minutes and answerquestions. A face-to-face live debate was alsoscheduled for the two run-off candidates.Voter mobilisation moved from the streets online.Gbagbo launched a much-hyped website. His majorchallenger, Allasane Dramane Ouattara, launched histoo, which was radio and TV enabled. Then followedthe YouTube channels, the Facebook groups and theTwitter accounts, with politicians maximising the potentialof online media interventions.Wonzomai, the Ivorian version of UshahidiWonzomai – meaning “witness” in Beté, the majorlanguage in the western part of the country – wasthe first internet-enabled citizen engagement initiativedealing with election issues. 1 It allowedindividuals to report diverse incidents, from trafficconditions, fraud and security, to voting conditions,as well as to share official government information.Citizens could call, text, send email or use the Twitterhashtag to report incidents, which were thenmapped.#CIV2010 – Côte d’Ivoire onlineIn the middle of October 2010, immediately afterthe launch of Wonzomai, the Twitter hash tag#CIV2010 was launched. Its aim was to engagecitizens on Twitter on all election issues. #CIV2010allowed voters to track candidates, post pictures,analyse TV debates, campaign for votes, report issuesand much more. #CIV2010 users chose not toobey the government injunction to not publish thefirst round of election results, since the injunctionspecifically focused on national and foreign mediain Côte d’Ivoire. As a result, many of the #CIV2010users felt they were not obliged to respect this.The first leg of the presidential elections wentrelatively well and was declared peaceful across theworld. This gave more impetus to the “ivoire-infotechpreneurs”.They started meeting regularly onFriday evenings for drinks, forging friendships andcomradeship. Then came the famous presidentialface-to-face debate between Gbagbo and Ouattara.Once the debate was officially set for Thursday 25November, the web went into a frenzy. It was goingto be the first debate of its kind – the very first –in the recent history of the nation. The capacity ofthe live web stream of the national broadcaster was1 www.wonzomai.comCÔTE D’IVOIRE / 115


increased to cater for more viewers. Those threehours were going to see the most viewers in the historyof Ivorian TV.Shocker!About ten hours before the debate, the online platformwas shut down. Viewers were required to paya monthly or quarterly subscription for access.#CIV2010 took up the issue. Citizens pay for public TValready and, by law, access to the state broadcastercould not be restricted online. Especially not on sucha day! The TV officials said they were not aware of thechanges and that the board of the broadcaster hadnot been informed. In three hours, the ivoire-infotechpreneurswere able to track down the fraudsterresponsible for the shutdown. He was an employeeof the broadcaster’s web solutions provider. They reportedhis acts, informing the national broadcastingauthority and the office of the prime minister. The nationalTV channel came back online for free after fourhours of intense internet-enabled activism!The debate lasted three hours and nine minutes.Every word was live-tweeted. Every question, everygesture. #CIV2010 users were doing direct translationof the presidential candidates’ commentsstraight into English – in the same way the officialresults of the first round of presidential electionswere live-tweeted. Beginning from the Thursday ofthe live debate to the time of this report, #CIV2010has been in the Top 10 Trending Twitter Topics in theFrench language.When crises set inAfter waiting for run-off results for three sleeplessnights, ivoire-info-techpreneurs knew danger wasahead. And the crises certainly came. The IndependentElectoral Commission announced AllasaneDramane Ouattara winner of the polls. The ConstitutionalCouncil overrode the results of the Commissionand gave victory to incumbent president Gbagbo.Each “president” held to his victory, formed a cabinet,and was intent on exercising power. The internationalcommunity aligned itself with the Electoral Commissionand held the challenger as victorious.By this time #CIV2010 had established itself asthe “other country” – a cyber country that offered aparallel expression of people’s rights and needs. Allstakeholders were using the hashtag. The two presidentialcamps were there, their propaganda too.Violence erupted. As clashes raged on the streetsof Abidjan, details could be read on Twitter minutesafter events unfolded. Photos, numbers, reports,eye-witness accounts! The international media wasshut down, and Twitter became the “official” mediaplatform for Côte d’Ivoire.Managing the humanitarian crisesWith the outbreak of post-electoral violence, citizenmobilisation took a different turn. While informationbattles were raging on #CIV2010, the need forhumanitarian aid and support loomed large. Privatevehicles had been snatched by armed combatants,banks had closed their doors, cash flow was meagreand medication for the sick was dwindling. Thencame the curfew, which started at midnight and onlyended at six in the morning. There was an unprecedentedbreakdown of the social system. As if all ofthat was not enough, mobile phone text messaging(SMS) services went down too. Movement was limited,phone calls down to the minimum, hunger waseverywhere and the number of people hospitalisedincreased. At this time, gas stations had closed,shops too. Some hospitals ran out of medication,public transport was non-existent and heavy gunfirecould be heard even before the curfew started!The ivoire-info-techpreneurs decided to use theWonzomai solidarity platform and weave in a kindof internet-enabled emergency centre. MédecinsSans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), the RedCross, and the United Nations were the only internationalorganisations offering help in the countryat the time. The solution to this was the CIVSOCIALproject. 2 The project consisted of six different hubs:• A call centre in Accra, staffed by volunteers• #CIVSOCIAL and #CIVAUTO hashtags on Twitter• A website with a fundraising component 3• A Facebook group• A Blackberry group• A Skype groupAll of the above functioned 24/7. Emergency messagespoured in. In the first days, cases were mainlyfrom wounded people who needed care, sick peoplewho needed medication, pregnant women whoneeded attention, and families who needed food.Since many people did not have airtime to makecalls and SMS services were down, they would“flash call” the centre, which would call the numberback. #CIVSOCIAL would then forward the messageto all of the six gateways listed above. Once a solutionwas found, it was relayed to the person in need.A quick list of resources was drawn up: pharmacies,available medication, clinics that could receivepatients, UN vehicles that could transport people,medical personnel willing to do consultations, pointswhere food could be bought, etc. Patients and doctorsmet via remote conferencing using the call centre2 civsocial.akendewa.org3 www.gofundme.com/civsocial116 / Global Information Society Watch


in Accra. A husband helped his pregnant wife deliverher baby relying on a doctor’s instructions via a conferencecall! At the height of the crises, the mobiletelecommunication companies joined #CIVSOCIAL,donating airtime to allow for basic calls. Internet serviceproviders also joined the effort, offering two weeksof free internet access to allow #CIVSOCIAL to continueits work. International media helped, publishinginterviews and calling for donations. In less than 72hours, the project raised well over USD 4,000.The war on PayPalAt a time when #CIVSOCIAL had peaked, anotherdrama reared its head. PayPal France would notrelease the donated money. One of the ivoire-infotechpreneurs,whose PayPal France account wasused as an emergency measure, was told that inFrance you cannot use a personal account to receivea public donation. The information was shared withthe Skype “situation room” and, in one sitting, the#CIVSOCIAL group decided to take the war to PayPal.A formal online petition was launched and in lessthan 24 hours over 1,000 signatures were received insupport, each signature triggering a tweet! Bloggersfollowed, and the international media were happy toreport on the crisis. PayPal reacted swiftly and thefunds were cleared. The ivoire-info-techpreneur actuallyreceived a hand-written note and a digital photoframe from PayPal as a peace offering!At the time of this report, the daily sound ofgunfire has died down considerably: one camp hasapparently won the war and the country is now pickingup the pieces. Nonetheless, stolen cars have yetto be returned and #CIVAUTO is still functional, andbeing used to track the stolen cars and to deal withother vehicle-related issues, such as those thatwere abandoned. The call centre has been discontinued,and the ivoire-info-techpreneurs are nowusing #CIVNEXT to track and monitor the next stepsafter the crises, while #CIV2010 still remains as aninformation and political propaganda platform.Moving forward: Lessons, trendsand conclusionsCitizen mobilisation on Twitterhas earned respectUndoubtedly, the huge mobilisation of citizens on Facebookand Twitter has earned respect for the citizensthemselves. At one point in time, even the G8 countrieshad officials posted to follow #CIV2010. Officialcommunications from France, China, the EuropeanUnion and the United States on Côte d’Ivoire were allposted on Twitter using the #CIV2010 hash tag. Recently,Prime Minister Soro Guillaume, after asking hisadvisor Alain Logbognon to engage citizens on Twitterand on #CIV2010, signed up himself as @Boghota andhas held serious discussions with citizens on Twitter.Online humanitarian actions are translatingto concrete offline activitiesThe number of offline cases solved by internetenabledmobilisation before, during and after theCôte d’Ivoire crises is significant. Lives were saved.People in France donated clothing and medicationthrough #CIVSOCIAL which was then flown down toAbidjan. Recently, a blood donation drive was alsoorganised in support of the wounded in the war.Concerted coordinated actionto (re)claim rightsIt was of particular interest to note that citizen internetenabledmobilisation is a realisation of the coordinatedpower of the people. The case of PayPal was one inwhich the ivoire-info-techpreneurs felt that “this is a warwe can win, so we must fight it,” with striking success.Increase in web activism and greater useof social mediaBefore #CIV2010, web activism and social media weremore or less a domain for the ivoire-info-techpreneurs.But the crises have given rise to increased webengagement with greater use of social media, particularlyTwitter. With the realisation of the power of socialmedia and networks, the country has learned thatthese platforms can become real citizen hubs and arecritical for policy makers, businesses and governance.As Côte d’Ivoire rises from the destructionbrought on by war, its citizens are looking forwardto a new and a better country. The internet will enablethem to monitor governance, keep engaged andmobilise for or against causes in the future. Twitterand Facebook have proved powerful, and ordinarycitizens have shown capacity.Action steps• Use informal face-to-face meetings to strategise,and to plan a tech hub for the country.• Use Twitter and Facebook as platforms for citizensto keep watch over policies and promisesmade by the government.• Promote increased citizen reporting on the legislativeand municipal elections in 2011.• Generate interest in social media amongst the newpolitical leaders. At the moment, Alain Logbognonis the new minister of youth, employment and civicservice. He sets time aside to interact on Twitter.The aim is to have more ministers do the same. nCÔTE D’IVOIRE / 117


croatiafighting for a free mediaZaMirNETDanijela Babicwww.zamirnet.hrIntroductionThe reorganisation of the Croatian media landscapebegan in the early 1990s, with the transition from thesocialist system to a democratic political system andliberal market economy. Yet building a legal environmentthat enables a free media given an authoritarianpast is a considerable undertaking. The criminalisationof journalistic work, including defamation andlibel laws, is generally considered to be a directthreat to media freedom. In 2011 the governmentproposed changes to the Criminal Code that includedsevere penalties for libel – even jail. At the sametime, gaps in the current legal system could be seenas attempts to silence civil society. For example, thenewly established Electronic Media Agency, 1 a regulatorybody in the field of electronic media, financesthe Fund for Promotion of Pluralism and Diversity ofElectronic Media with 0.5% of the total annual grossincome earned in the previous year by all media serviceproviders offering and engaging in radio and TVmedia services. However, websites – which are themain publication platforms for civil society organisations– cannot apply for money from this fund.Policy and political backgroundThe Constitution 2 of the Republic of Croatia guaranteesfreedom of expression and freedom of thepress. It bans censorship, and journalists are entitledto report and to access information. TheConstitution also guarantees the right of correctionif legal rights are violated by published news.The Croatian media are governed by the Law onMedia, 3 the Law on Electronic Media, 4 the Law onCroatian Radio-Television 5 and the Law on the Rightto Access Information. 6 The Law on Media as well as1 The Agency was established in 2009 based on the Law onElectronic Media (OG 153/09).2 OG 56/90, 135/97, 113/00, 28/01, 55/013 OG 163/03, 59/044 OG 153/095 OG 137/106 OG 172/03, 144/10, 37/11, 77/11the Law on Electronic Media reaffirm that freedom ofexpression and freedom of the media are guaranteed.The Law on Media also stipulates the obligation ofthe government to stimulate and protect the pluralismand diversity of media by financing programmesand interventions from the state budget. Concerningthe rules for civic journalism, the Law on ElectronicMedia regulates electronic publications and forbidshate speech as well as content that offends humandignity and contains immoral and pornographic contentor might seriously impair the physical, mental ormoral development of minors.The media are indirectly governed by theCriminal Code and Civil Code through provisions regardingdefamation and libel.Challenges to free media in CroatiaThe existence of a free and independent media isgenerally considered vital to democratic governance.In its recent history Croatia has experiencedmost of the problems that post-socialist states havefaced regarding the media: self-censorship, pressureby advertisers and political groups, threatsagainst journalists, especially investigative reporters,the crisis of the public broadcaster, the use ofhate and nationalist speech, etc. In the latest FreedomHouse report on press freedom, publishedin 2011, Croatia is tied with Burkina Faso in 85thplace on the global press freedom rankings (outof 196 states). 7 It gives the country a “partly free”status considering the legal, political and economicenvironment.Even though the legal framework ensuresfreedom of expression, political and corporatepressures can still be felt. For example, in February2009, Interior Minister Tomislav Karamarko broughta criminal case against journalist and blogger ZeljkoPeratovic for “disseminating information likely toupset the population,” after Peratovic accused himof obstructing an investigation into the death of awitness in a war crimes case. According to FreedomHouse, legal harassment against Peratovic continuedin 2010. 87 www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=251&year=20118 www.freedomhouse.org/inc/content/pubs/pfs/inc_country_detail.cfm?country=8021&year=2011&pf118 / Global Information Society Watch


In April 2010, Zagreb police searched the homeof famous blogger Marko Rakar and interrogatedhim after Rakar published a leaked list of registeredwar veterans on his blog. According to HumanRights Watch, “the government had resisted effortsto release the list, which civil society activists believecontains [the names of ] people fraudulentlyreceiving pensions as war veterans.” 9Moreover, the changes to the Criminal Code proposedin 2011 provide that a journalist found guiltyof libel could face imprisonment of up to a year, anda fine equalling half of the journalist’s annual wage.The example of blogger Damir Fintic, who hasbeen sentenced to prison for a comment publishedon his blog 10 back in 2005, underscores the potentialimpact of defamation and criminal libel lawson new media – especially when they are misusedby a government that feels threatened. The criticalcomment on his blog was related to a post aboutVukovar’s mayor Vladimir Stengl and his wife, andthe person commenting on his blog had writtencritically about circumstances in relation to a realestate purchase by the Strengl family. 11Prison sentences for libel were abolished in2006, but reappeared in the new proposal for legislativechange, causing strong reactions fromjournalists and international free press watchdogorganisations who argued that the governmentshould rely on civil rather than criminal remedies.Zdenko Duka, president of the Croatian JournalistsAssociation, warned that truth was not a defencefor libel charges under the proposal, and that journalistscould be subject to penalties for reportingitems judged not to be in the public interest.Eventually, the justice minister announced thatthe threat of jail will be removed from its draft lawon defamation and libel.In addition to the legal provisions explicitlytargeting certain media content, there is indirectinfluence that can be exercised by way of bothsubstantive rules and their application. There arecertain shortcomings in current media regulations,particularly in relation to the status of thenot-for-profit electronic publications of civil societyorganisations. The Electronic Media Agencykeeps the records of the providers of audio and audiovisualmedia services and services of electronicpublications. According to the Law on ElectronicMedia, the Agency is financed with 0.5% of the totalannual gross income earned in the previous year by9 www.hrw.org/world-report-2011/croatia10 www.vukovarac.net11 www.croatiablognews.com/croatian-first-european-blogger-to-goto-prisonall media service providers offering and engaging inaudio and audiovisual media services.In 2011 the Agency notified civil society organisationsrunning non-profit online newspapers thatthey are subject to that tax as well. As it came as asurprise, organisations could not have planned forsuch a cost within their budgets. Most of the nonprofitmedia are funded through grants under strictfinancial rules from donors, and with no incomefrom advertising mainly due to the lack of interestof the advertising industry. This means that everyextra tax that is not budgeted for affects the sustainabilityof civil society media.The Electronic Media Agency regulates TV andradio broadcasting but also manages the Fund forPromotion of Pluralism and Diversity of ElectronicMedia. The resources of the Fund are aimed atstimulating the production of programme contentpublished by electronic media (television and radio)at the local and regional level, which is of publicinterest and is of particular importance. However,online newspapers run by civil society organisationsare not eligible for these funds. Consideringthe fact that a concession is not available for onlinenewspapers run by civil society, the reason why notfor-profitorganisations should pay the operatingfee to the Agency is not clear.In an interview with Liderpress, 12 Damir Hajduk,a member of the Electronic Media Council, admittedthe mistake and announced a public discussionon the criteria to register the electronic media. Healso said that non-profit portals and blogs withseveral contributors will not be required to pay thefee – unless they publish media information aimedat a wider audience than they currently do(!). Thisexplanation caused additional confusion since accordingto the Law on Electronic Media, electronicpublications include edited websites and/or portalsrepublishing electronic versions of printed articlesin the press and/or media information available tothe general public anyway. The public discussion onthe criteria for the registry was held in March 2011and the deadline for paying the dues to the Agencywas May 2011. At the time of writing this report, 13the new version of the criteria for the registry wasnot available on the Agency’s website.At the same time some other legal norms are notimplemented properly in the country, as the MEDIA-DEM report on Croatia shows. 14 For example, Croatia12 www.liderpress.hr/Default.aspx?sid=12219313 2 September 201114 Popović, H., Bilić, P., Jelić, T. and Švob-Đokić, N. (2010) Media policiesand regulatory practices in a selected set of European countries, theEU and the Council of Europe: The case of Croatia, MEDIADEM. www.mediadem.eliamep.gr/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Croatia.pdfcroatia / 119


has a legal obligation to stimulate and protect pluralismand diversity of the media with support fromthe state budget. Since 2005 it was due to stimulatethe programmes of local and regional media, aswell as media intended to inform persons with specialneeds. It should have established new printedmedia, especially local and non-profit media, andsupported the media published by non-governmentalorganisations. Unfortunately the state failed tocarry out this obligation, according to the MEDIA-DEM report, due to a lack of money, as well as dueto the rather marginal public interest in this media.Although civil society online news portals cannotcompete with corporate news portals in termsof resources available for content production andthe number of visitors, they promote public interestsoften marginalised by the state or privatesector. Civil society online newspapers will not befrequently visited if they do not have the resourcesto provide a quality product on a daily basis. Eventhe leading Croatian commercial online newspaperscontain scarce news compared to advertisements,entertainment and lifestyle stories, as the publisherstry to survive the recession. The MEDIADEMreport noted that the political and economic crisisalso incites the political elites to strengthen their interestsin the media, and the media to rely more onpublic sources and funds. In this context independent,alternative and critical discourses are hard tomaintain, the report concludes.ConclusionsDemocracy requires a media system that providespeople with a wide range of opinion and analysis,facilitates debate and promotes the public accountabilityof the power holders.In the process of democratisation, the conceptof a legal enabling environment that supports afree and independent media is central. It is notonly about the particular laws, but the institutionalstructure which administers those laws, includingthe courts and regulatory agencies. During the negotiationson Croatia’s accession to the EuropeanUnion, the Croatian media legislation was assessedas fully harmonised with European media standardsand the acquis communautaire. 15 However, theinconsistencies of current legislation and practicesclearly show that legislative changes are not rootedin coherent media policy aimed at supporting a freeand independent media, but reflect a fast-changinginterplay of different influences and interests. Forinstance, media run by civil society organisationsseem to be neglected by the government when itcomes to the measures that encourage their productivity.On the other hand, they were not ignoredwhen legal instruments that repressed free speechwere applied.Action stepsAlthough the number of internet users is growingin Croatia and the media are being easily accessedonline, the involvement of citizens in onlinecontent production is low. In the context of a transitionalsociety where the level of consciousnessabout the value and functioning of free speech andits practice is low among the citizenry, this shouldnot be surprising. It should also not be forgottenthat in the 1990s, civil society activities wereviewed as dangerous when not in accordance withstate politics.Such circumstances require that civil societyorganisations, as well as professional journalistsassociations, educate the citizenry about the rolethat the independent media play in society. It isalso important to strengthen collaboration betweenprofessional journalists and civil society activists toinfluence the drafting of media legislation, so as toensure the freedom of public expression. n15 Wikipedia defines this as the “accumulated legislation, legal acts,court decisions which constitute the body of European Union law.”en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_acquis120 / Global Information Society Watch


ecuadorThe rescue of a president: The role of social mediain informing and mobilising citizens in national crisesIMAGINARRossana Flores and Hugo Carriónwww.imaginar.orgIntroductionSince October 2008, when the new EcuadorianConstitution was passed, the country has beenundergoing significant changes in its legislativeframework. In May 2009, the National Assembly(formerly the Congress) filed 293 new laws or legalamendments; and 24 months later, 68 of these newlaws or amendments had been passed.The new legislation has made changes in differentareas, such as education, justice, citizens’participation, and public administration. One of thelaws passed on 29 September 2010 was the OrganicLaw on Government Services which homologatedthe administration of the national police and armywith that of the civil public administration.The inadequate and insufficient dissemination ofthe contents of the law, in addition to the poor interpretationof the new laws by one sector of the police andarmy, led to police protests that initially seemed to befocused on the issue of wages, but that ended with theEcuadorian president’s kidnapping and an attemptedcoup. The results of the police protests that took placeon Thursday 30 September, now called “30S” by themedia, were unfortunate: eight casualties includingpolicemen, soldiers and civilians. The national police’simage was completely shattered and democracystaggered at a time when it seemed the phantom ofpresidential downfalls and moves to overthrow thegovernment had finally been banished from Ecuador.During the protests, information and communicationstechnologies (ICTs) played a key roleas alternative communication channels by transmittingthe course of events live and encouragingcitizen mobilisation.Regulatory contextOne of the main achievements in the new Constitutionis the incorporation of the right for allEcuadorians have to access to ICTs, as enshrinedin Article 16. A debate on communication, freedomof expression, and the ownership of the media washeld by the National Constituent Assembly, afterwhich the Communications Law was declared a prioritylaw that was to be issued immediately. Twoyears later, however, the debate is stagnant due tocompletely different positions on key matters.On one hand, the national government claimsthe citizens’ right to be informed. This administrationis known for its extensive use of quite efficientgovernment communication strategies, including aradio programme that is broadcast each Saturdaywhere the president talks about his activities. Thepresidency also uses Facebook efficiently and aTwitter account with around 70,000 followers, makingit the fourth most popular account in Ecuador,sharing honours with showbiz stars, singers andsportscasters. Furthermore, for the first time in ourcountry, so-called public media has been created– one public television channel, one public radiostation, and one public news agency.On the other hand, the opposition and groupsthat object to the government’s communication work,amongst other things, oppose government advertising,believing it is disproportionate compared to otheradvertising on media channels. They also object to thegovernment’s control of both public media and privatemedia channels that were seized due to unpaiddebts they held with several state banks. According tothe opposition, the private media outlets now in thehands of pro-government administrators, which theycall “confiscated media”, have unbalanced the communicationsequilibrium in the country.Police protests erupt…On 30 September 2010 Ecuador lived an unprecedentedepisode in favour of democracy. Thousandsof citizens filled the streets to protect the constitutionalorder by ensuring the will of the electoratewho had voted for President Rafael Correa.Since its return to democracy in 1978, Ecuadorhas lived through several incidents of politicalinstability that have ended in overthrowing constitutionallyelected presidents. From 1997 to 2006Ecuador had seven presidents, excluding a fleetingtriumvirate in 2000. These periods of instabilityhave taken place after massive demonstrations bycitizens who sought fundamental change in thecountry’s political management. Back in 2003,a citizen movement called “Los Forajidos” (Theecuador / 121


Outlaws), protesting with the cry of “All leave!”, notonly demanded that ex-President Lucio Gutiérrezstep down, but that all appointed politicians vacatetheir positions, showing the little credibility the politicalclass enjoyed.Since 2006, after the election of Correa, Ecuadorhas experienced stability. This in spite of the changesmade by the establishment of the ConstituentAssembly with full powers to issue a new Constitution,as well as the passing of a significant numberof laws, many of which affect private interests inmany sectors. After almost four years in office, Correastill enjoys a historic general admiration of thepeople.The police protests erupted after the passing ofthe new Organic Law on Government Services. Thislaw eliminated all bonuses and additional benefitsfor all government employees, including the policeand the military. On the morning of 30 September2010 the media reported on a police strike that wastaking place in Regimiento Quito, the National Policeheadquarters in the capital of Ecuador, wherethe strikers refused to work until the law passed thenight before was revoked.Immediately after learning about the strike,Correa went to the police headquarters to talk tothe demonstrators and, in his words, share theadvantages of the law. When he arrived, however,they greeted him with insults which led to aheated speech by Correa, after which he decidedto leave, since no dialogue was possible. Thedemonstrators blocked his exit and the situationturned violent: live images transmitted scenes ofaggression against the president, who started asphyxiatingwhen tear gas was used, before he wastaken to the police hospital which is next to thepolice headquarters.Confusion reigned in the country while the newsreported on thefts, looting and chaos throughoutthe country after almost the entire public forcesdecided to join the strike. The police who guardedthe National Assembly had taken over the buildingand stopped members from entering. The runwayof Mariscal Sucre Airport in Quito had also beenblocked by some members of the air force. The people’sattention, however, was focused on the newson the president’s situation.Around noon, Correa made a phone call to thepublic radio station and reported a coup against hisgovernment, and that he had been kidnapped andwas unable to leave the hospital. “Policemen aretrying to get into my room; if something happensto me, [I send] my endless love to my country andmy family, wherever they are,” he said. After thesewords, thousands of citizens gathered around thehospital and the Presidential Palace where the ministersand other public officials were organising thepresident’s rescue, as declared by Minister of ForeignAffairs Ricardo Patiño. The people, however,were violently and disproportionately attackedby the police when they tried to reach RegimientoQuito.Early in the afternoon, Correa electronicallysigned Executive Decree No. 488, which declared astate of exception, 1 and issued a world press releaseexplaining the situation in the country. This resultedin international support. After the decree wasissued, the government started an indefinite anduninterrupted national TV and radio transmission,and interrupted private radio and TV broadcastingto unify all the media around the official reports ofthe situation. The decree also authorised the armedforces’ mobilisation to protect citizen security.Police demands and violence rose whilethe president refused to revoke the approvedamendments. The Chief of the Armed Forces JointCommand, General Ernesto González, as well asthe high military command, reiterated their supportto the president, promised to restore thecountry’s stability, and requested the approvedlaw’s revision. However, official information sourcesdisregarded the armed forces’ demands for thelaw to be revised.Throughout the day, politicians opposing thegovernment disseminated statements supportingthe insurgents. The opposing members of the Assemblymet in a hotel and demanded amnesty forthe rebels. Counter-government demonstrators,gathered around the public media building, demandedthat their points of view be published.The national broadcasting of official news wasinterrupted at approximately 8:00 p.m. and theprivate media started transmitting the impressivemilitary assault executed in the environs of the policehospital, during which the police and the armyclashed. Correa was rescued by an elite army group,the Special Operations Group (GEO), and an elitepolice group, the Intervention and Rescue Group(GIR). Live TV broadcasts showed the president’sconvoy being fired upon.Some minutes later, from the Carondelet PresidentialPalace, Correa addressed the citizens whohad gathered in Plaza de la Independencia with aspeech describing that date as “one of the saddest”in his life and “without a doubt the saddest in hisalmost four years in office.”1 The state of exception restricts some civil rights, such as the freemovement of persons, etc.122 / Global Information Society Watch


figure 1.Daily reach of leading online publications (percentages)0.030.020.0120102011eluniverso.comelcomercio.com0.010.0080.0060.0040.002020102011ecuadorinmediato.comecuadorenvivo.comThe role of ICTs during the uprisingICTs played a decisive role in this specific affair bydemocratising access to information. The eventswere transmitted by traditional means, such as radioand TV, but also by the country’s major onlinenewspapers, which experienced a surge in traffic(as high as three times the normal). Most of theirwebsites crashed and were inaccessible during theentire day. The online newspaper ecuadorinmediato.comturned out to be a special case – it quicklymodified its format and was able to keep transmittinginformation. Other newspapers, such as Hoyand El Comercio, could only publish through Twitterbecause their conventional sites were no longeroperating.The graphs in Figure 1 illustrate the onlinetraffic for the main digital publications. The peakcorresponds to 30 September, when the highestrates in access to the internet in recent years wererecorded.The journalists and citizens who were inside thehospital used Twitter to report the events in detail. Accordingto the Twitter 2010 Year in Review report, 2 one#30S tweet from the Presidency was fifth amongstthe ten most “popular” tweets of the microbloggingnetwork worldwide. The Presidency’s official Twitteraccount 3 reported on the “30S” events, while hashtag#30S described the police crisis, becoming a hot topicand trend on Twitter that Thursday. 4 It is worth notingthat the Presidency’s Twitter account is fourth amongthe country’s most viewed accounts, with 70,000 followers(as of April 2011).2 yearinreview.Twitter.com/powerful-tweets3 Twitter.com/Presidencia_Ec4 Trending topics are the most popular keywords used in Twitter at agiven moment.ecuador / 123


The debate shifted to other social networks,including Facebook. According to statistics, around3.5 million Ecuadorians were Facebook membersin August 2011 (i.e. around 25% of the population)– for every one internet user, one is a Facebookmember. 5Mobile telephony kept relatives and friendsinformed and up to date concerning incidents thatwere taking place in different areas of the country.As would be expected, journalists also transmittedinformation to their respective media outlets usingmobile phones – many of these journalists and camerapeople were assaulted by the police.The electronically signed presidential decreeauthorised the armed forces’ mobilisation and thecontrol of information broadcast within the country,while private channels transmitted the news overseasvia the internet, and this situation influencedthe national chain’s interruption.The government’s use of ICTs enabled it toneutralise a potential coup and to secure internationalsupport and solidarity. By means of socialnetworks, the citizens mobilised to defend democracy.The information sought through the internetand the government’s national chain fractured themonopoly that the traditional media had held insimilar situations internationally in the past.ConclusionsSociety is unquestionably influenced by the people’saccess to new technologies. Although internetpenetration in Ecuador is still low, it is significantlyhigher than it was five years ago – in 2006 it wasbelow 5%, and by March 2011 this percentage hadincreased to four times that number.The combined use of ICTs enabled the presenceof more than one information channel. Throughmobile technology, access to internet and socialnetworks the citizens became information and newsproducers, which gave rise to a new type of journalismthat some sectors have called citizen, social orparticipative journalism.On the other hand, state regulations on thetraditional media do not always include the newtechnologies where coverage and disseminationpotential exceeds the national scope and opens thepossibility of accessing plural and diverse information.Real-time updating of information generatedby citizens and independent journalists is an invaluablesource that secures the citizens’ right to suchaccess.An innovative element was the government’suse of ICTs in times of crisis which facilitated itsdecision making in the most decisive moments.The executive decree’s electronic signature, mobilecommunication during the president’s kidnapping,and the Presidency’s communication throughTwitter were fundamental in keeping the country informedand reaching a solution to the conflict.Something that seems less innovative, butwhich was clear on 30 September, is that socialnetworks and SMS are used to organise even morethan to share media-related information. Onceagain, these technologies facilitated the citizens’immediate mobilisation.Action steps• Recommend that the government strive to increasebroadband internet penetration as away to access the means of communication andinformation.• Implement ways of direct communicationthrough the existing platforms between theleaders and the public and – along with this –recommend that the access of public officialsand authorities to social networks not be restrictedby means of technological tricks oradministrative provisions. A proper understandingof the benefits of social technology andadequate training could lead to the creative useof this technology in favour of democracy andparticipation.• Keep internet, social networks and otherweb applications away from the regulationsthat govern traditional media; and, in turn,promote neutrality in the network and its contentsas an essential principle of the rights tocommunication.• Establish social control mechanisms for themanagement and accountability of the informationgenerated by the media and thegovernment.• Recommend that the media develop contingencyplans for high information demand andincreased traffic in particular crisis situations toinsure the provision of continuous services.• Promote the development of ethical codes andprinciples for the exercise of citizen journalismas a way to insure information quality, accuracyand veracity. n5 According to Ministry of Telecommunications statistics, internetpenetration in Ecuador is 20%.124 / Global Information Society Watch


egyptEgypt’s 25 January Revolution: The role of the internet and mobiletechnology in social resistance and public demonstrationsArabDevLeila Hassaninwww.arabdev.orgIntroductionWere the internet and mobile technology the tippingpoint for Egypt’s 25 January Revolution? Internet andmobile-based social networks like Facebook, Twitter,blogs and YouTube have been common tools foractivism in Egypt for some time, as discussed in aprevious GISWatch country report. 1 Though as muchas they are tools for activists, they are also excellenttools for tracking and surveillance – an equally commonpractice by governments, the former Egyptianregime no exception.So what was the difference between thisrevolution and previous attempts that used informationand communications technologies (ICTs)to rally people to protest, especially attempts byyouth groups such as the 6th of April Movement,independent activists and bloggers, and workingprofessionals, be they journalists, lawyers or labourunionists? How did the revolution succeed despitenearly a week of internet, mobile, and in some areas,landline blackout?This report maintains that as much as the internetand mobile technologies are important tools, withouttheir broader amplification through more widespreadtraditional media like TV and newspapers and withouta strong trigger changing the perception of themasses, these ICT tools are only minimally effective.Despite connectivity blackouts, social resistance andpublic demonstrations continued in Egypt; and as weare seeing, also in other countries of the region.Policy and political contextThe Mubarak regime had strongly promoted thespread of ICTs in Egypt. Connectivity and the developmentof IT skills were a cornerstone of Egyptianeconomic development – even though this approachproved to be a two-edged sword with the rapid developmentof Web 2.0 applications that spread theuse of social networks, collaborative software, usergeneratedcontent, video sharing, and the like.1 www.giswatch.org/country-report/20/egyptBy 2005, the internet and mobile phones hadbecome common tools for political activism. By2008, the 6th of April Youth Movement Facebookpage became a rallying point for activists. YouTubeaired controversial footage. Twitter and mobiletext messaging (SMS) were the chosen tools to organisedemonstrations among core activists. Thegovernment responded by tightening control: thenotorious emergency law, imposed for 30 yearssince President Anwar Sadat’s murder in 1981, wasextended to online content and mobile use. In acontext of increasingly oppressive censorship targetingonline activists, it was common for them tobe harassed, arrested, and in cases, tortured.Mobile ownership became traceable. The stateestablished the National Agency for the Regulationof Audio and Visual Broadcasting (NARAVB),an enforcement body that engaged in the surveillanceof radio, satellite and website content. Asmuch as “venting” was allowed as part of a gesturetowards freedom of political expression, laws andtheir enforcement were used to squash any content(or public demonstrations) that were remotelyperceived as dangerous to the regime. 2 Resistanceremained, but it never translated into widespread,lasting mass demonstrations.A brave new change….With the uprisings in Tunisia in mid-December 2009,culminating in President Zine al-Abidine Ben Alifleeing from the country on 14 January, the unthinkablebecame reality: masses can uproot entrenched,authoritarian regimes, even in the Arab states. Traditionallythe wider public did not get involved inprotests; it was the domain of journalists, lawyers,human rights activists, and, in recent years, newclusters like “Kifaya” 3 and an increasingly secularyouth. Tunisia was the long-awaited trigger that unleashedthe flood of anger that had been building upfor decades in all strata of Egyptian society.In Tunisia, Facebook and Twitter were used toorganise revolts. The same had been happening in2 Ibid.3 Kifaya is an opposition movement that began in 2004. In Arabic itmeans “Enough”. Kifaya operates in urban areas, especially Cairoand Alexandria, embraces a multitude of political views, fromsocialist to Islamist, and pushes for regime change. It has beenbuilt on grassroots protests.egypt / 125


Egypt. The Egyptian government had been anticipatingprotests – normally they did not last more thana couple of days, but this time it proved to be different.After several days of small demonstrations,mass rallies throughout Egypt were organised forTuesday 25 January, the national holiday dedicatedto the police force. The brutal police force was themost hated symbol of the regime. The governmentdisrupted Twitter nationwide on the 25th in an attemptto dampen the protests. On the streets teargas and rubber bullets were used. Facebook, intermittentSMS and emails continued to function,but some internet-based tools and sites neededproxies.The national pride was ignited: with the successof the Tunisians’ revolt, Egyptians could only blamethemselves if they endured the Mubarak regime,especially as Ben Ali’s and Mubarak’s rule had manyparallels. The Twitter hashtags #Egypt and #Jan25were created and helped to consolidate tweets,updating the media worldwide as events unfolded.When protests continued into 27 January, the governmentshut down the internet completely shortlyafter midnight on the same day. The 28th was aFriday and mass riots were planned. The regimewas reaching measures it had never used before toblock communications: mobiles did not work anymoreand landlines were dead in several of Cairo’sdistricts.To circumvent the silence, the hashtag #Jan-25voices was created by Scott-Railton in Michiganto relay the messages he would get throughphone conversations with people in Egypt. 4 Forthe more tech-savvy, Telecomix 5 provided a dial-upconnection.By shutting down the internet and mobile communicationfor the public, 6 the Egyptian governmentset a precedent that had been inconceivable. Theblackout remained for five full days: from 12:30 a.m.early on 28 January to 2 February, when connectivitywas partially restored. This blackout reflected theregime’s belief that it was still dealing with a limitednumber of activists, and not a national uprising.Egyptians who were not on the streets – and theywere many – remained glued to their TV screens,following news minute by minute.Protests widened and got bloodier, especiallyin the Suez canal cities, Northern Sinai and Alexandria.Military troops were deployed on the streets4 Faris, S. (2011) Meet the Man Tweeting Egypt’s Voiceto the World, Time, 1 Feb. www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2045489,00.html5 www.telecomix.org6 Online accessibility was maintained for specific security units andthe military.on 28 January. This was the same day Mubarak announcedthe sacking of his cabinet. The internet andmobile blocking had no obvious effect on calmingthe demonstrations. A deep feeling of dissatisfactionreigned.Friday 28 January was a major rally day, the“Friday of Rage”. Fridays after prayers at noon hadbecome the spearhead of protests. More peoplejoined the demonstrations, among them leadingpublic figures. Police stations were set on fire.Mubarak “supporters” infiltrated Tahrir Square,stabbing people with knives, attacking them withsticks and rocks. The military let this happen,patrolling the peripheries of the rally without interveningon either side. On the evening of the sameday prisoners were freed in an attempt to createhavoc, increase crime and frighten people. GeneralMohammed El Batran, the head of prisons in Egypt,was fatally shot when he refused to obey the orderto let the criminals out on the streets. Chaos waseverywhere, protesters and the public were tense:there seemed to be no real protection from themilitary. The police forces had vanished from thestreets.From that Friday onwards neighbourhoodgroups had been formed by civilians. Each nightmen gathered under apartment buildings withweapons and sticks to protect their families and thestreets. People barely slept and started stocking upon essentials.On 1 February Mubarak declared that he was notgoing to run for re-election in September, a movemany had anticipated anyway due to his age andhealth status. The message was taken as a stallingtactic, especially as Mubarak’s son Gamal had beenpreparing to take over from his father. Mubarak’sspeech led to major protests around the country.Tahrir Square had its bloodiest day on 2 February,when thugs entered it on camels and horses attackingprotesters with sticks, petrol bombs and stones.Protesters, who had generally been peaceful untilthen, grabbed whatever they could get their handson to fight back. Three died and 1,500 were injured.During the early morning hours of 3 February,grenades and Molotov cocktails were thrown fromthe 6th October bridge surrounding Tahrir Square.Shots were fired from different parts around Tahrir,killing and injuring protesters staying overnight inthe square. The violence was intended to deter amass protest planned for Friday 4 February. Sincethe internet was up again, video clips began appearingon YouTube, and tweets were constantlypicked up by news agencies. Al Jazeera was oneof the most active and influential news agencies inEgypt, making it the target of forceful government126 / Global Information Society Watch


intimidation – especially as it was seen as the maininformation channel for the public.During all this time military tanks were circlingTahrir Square and were present in other major citiesin Egypt. The demonstrators had made it clear thatthey considered the military neutral, if not on theirside. To keep the military separate from the regimewas crucial for the continuation of the demonstrations.Yet the military’s position remained opaque.Protesters feared that they might be turning againstthem.It was clear that many protesters were willingto face death. On 4 February, Tahrir Square waspacked and people demanded that Mubarak stepdown unconditionally. The government respondedby changing the National Democratic Party’s leader.In Egypt the weekend is Friday and Saturday;Sunday is the first working day of the week. OnSunday 6 February, businesses, banks and workinglife resumed in Cairo. An eerie chasm was feltbetween the anti-government protesters and othersectors of society who were willing to accept thatthe regime was not going to give up, and wantedlife to return to normal. This trend abruptly changedwhen activist Wael Ghonim was interviewed live bythe Egyptian channel Dream TV on 7 February. Thiswas shortly after he was released from ten days ofsolitary detention, during which he had been blindfoldedthe whole time. His release and the sincerityof his interview infused the country with renewedvigour to fight.On 5 February WikiLeaks posted that Mubarak’swealth was estimated at around USD 70 billion. Thisnews was picked up by most media and aired onsatellite TV, incensing the masses. 7 From 9 Februarywork stopped at government and public institutions,and hundreds of thousands of union workers wenton strike across Egypt. The rallies were intense andthe army said that there would be changes comingsoon that the protesters would like. It was said thatMubarak was going to give his resignation speechon 10 February. He appeared on TV very late at nighton the 10th, but repeated that he was not going torun for president in September. He also stated thathe would remain president until then, although delegatinghis responsibilities to Vice President OmarSuleiman. The crowds went wild. There was an incrediblesense of frustration, disbelief and of havingbeen mocked. The Mubarak speech was so disconnectedfrom reality it hardly seemed true. What7 Though I found the strong reaction to the news a bit strange, asrumours about the Mubaraks’ and their cronies’ wealth were astaple in Egypt since the 1990s. It seems that seeing a clear figureof the alleged wealth at this junction in time was the last straw forthe masses.worried the people were the conflicting messagesthat were emerging from the government. What wasgoing on? Who was playing what game, and withwhom? Was the military co-opting the regime?The following day, Friday 11 February, masses ofpeople took to the streets. For the first time demonstrationsreached the presidential palace. Protestswere all over Egypt, drawing numbers not seen before.That evening Suleiman declared on TV thatthe High Council of the Armed Forces was takingover the responsibility of temporarily governing thecountry, and that Mubarak was stepping down. TheEgyptian revolution took eighteen days: events wereorganised and documented online, using mobilecommunication, and followed closely by the media.ConclusionsThat the internet and mobile technology had a strongrole in Egypt’s political change is indisputable. Butin a country where around 20% of the populationis connected to the internet, and with a 67% adultliteracy rate, there are limits to the outreach and influenceof online content and activism. The use ofTwitter is even more restricted as it needs a smartphone,a pricey piece of technology and service fora gross national income (GNI) per capita of USD2,070. 8 The events show that the intertwining ofonline, mobile and traditional media, especially TV,were crucial in sustaining mass revolts. Without TVpicking up the online and mobile messages, mostEgyptians would not have known what content wasbeing shared by a relative minority.Al Jazeera 9 was pivotal in relaying informationduring the Egyptian internet and mobile blackout,as were other satellite channels – Egyptians fromall strata of society use TV satellites widely. Citizenjournalism was extensively used and pickedup by the media, and often the visuals on YouTubewere more powerful than words. The ability to relayevents nearly instantaneously from all areas ofthe country through online and mobile technologygave the professional media incredibly rich, up-todatematerial, from the perspective of people on thestreet.Still, the capacity of governments to completelyblock internet and mobile access remains a problemthat needs to be addressed. In Egypt the governmenthad always maintained a close grip on ICTs,despite telecom liberalisation efforts. Liberalisationwas geared towards the financial benefits of anopen market, rather than the reality of centralised8 www.unicef.org/infobycountry/egypt_statistics.html9 english.aljazeera.netegypt / 127


control. 10 This control was facilitated by a limitednumber of internet service providers (ISPs) 11 that offeredthe country online and mobile access. Whenthe revolution came, the government simply declaredmartial rule, ordering the companies to cutoff their services to the public. Vodafone has beena much cited example. Because it has a broad clienteleand is headquartered in Paris, the assumptionwas that it should have maintained connectivityfor longer and not succumbed so readily to regimeorders.It seems from recent events that even traditionalmedia are not necessarily needed to keep socialmobilisation going once it is in full swing, as is beingseen in Libya, Syria and Yemen. The momentumis, instead, driven by the feeling in the bone marrowwhen the masses realise their power, when a retreatis impossible due to ingrained conviction, when thesense of right is fully awakened and when nationalpride is aroused.Action steps• Technical alternatives and solutions are neededto enable people to circumvent communicationsservices when they are blocked.• The ability to share online content throughmore traditional media so that a wider audienceis reached is necessary. In democracy massignorance could be fatal to the revolution’saspirations.• Visuals are often better than a thousand words.What is needed is a platform that can showevents in the way that YouTube does, but formillions without computers or mobiles, such asbillboards.• There is a need to educate children and youthon how to use the online and mobile platformsresponsibly, and how to follow reporting ethics.• There is a need to continue to make certain platformsmore user friendly and intuitive to growthe user base. The average user is not up to thetechnical skills and tinkering needed today touse many of the crucial online applications.• Internet and mobile use for emergency situationsshould be part of public training, in theway that first aid is.• There is a need to continue to push for conditionsthat provide internet access to the poor.Social networking sites rely on the use of expensivetechnology such as the smartphone that iscurrently marketed to higher income and higherskills customers only. n10 www.giswatch.org/en/country-report/civil-society-participation/egypt11 The main ISPs are Telecom Egypt, Vodafone, Etisalat Misr, LinkEgypt and Internet Egypt.128 / Global Information Society Watch


ethiopiaBuilding access as a human rightEthiopian Free and Open Source Software Network(EFOSSNET)Abebe Chekolabechekol@yahoo.comIntroductionEthiopia, the second fastest growing economy insub-Saharan Africa, 1 is expanding access to informationand communications technologies (ICTs), whichare regarded as one of the engines of its ambitiouseconomic growth plan, the Growth and TransformationPlan 2011-2015. Like many countries in Africa,the explosion of access to telecommunications serviceshas been most prominent in the mobile market.The mobile penetration rate increased from less than0.55% in 2005 to 4.89% in 2009. The expansion ofthe telecom sector has made record growth in thelast two years or so since telecom provider ETC wasrenamed Ethio Telecom following the takeover of itsmanagement by the French telecom provider Orange.In July 2011, Ethio Telecom announced that it had exceeded10 million mobile subscribers. The incumbentannounced that the total number of clients, includingfixed-line and internet subscribers, had reached 11.3million clients. 2However, other telecom segments have notdeveloped as quickly as the mobile business. Thepenetration rate of fixed-line subscribers, for example,increased from 0.82% in 2005 to 1.1% in 2009. 3Internet access across Ethiopia is also very low. Thepenetration rate in the country is one of the lowestin Africa, standing on the same footing as Liberiaat 0.5% in 2011. 4 But this penetration rate is slowlyincreasing as wireless broadband technology becomesmore established and prices fall.This report considers the progress achieved inthe telecom sector in Ethiopia and its impact on thesocioeconomic and political development of thecountry, with particular reference to the role of theinternet and mobile in the socio-political landscape.1 World Bank (2011) Global Economic Prospects 2011, The WorldBank, Washington, D.C.2 www.ethionet.et3 www.itu.int/ITU-D/ict/statistics4 www.internetworldstats.comPolicy and political backgroundThe role played by ICTs in the socioeconomic andpolitical development of the nation is well recognisedin the emphasis given to the sector in recentyears. Its significant contribution to GDP has beengrowing (for example, 1.38% in 2008). However, thesector remains a monopoly of the government withno clear sign of liberalisation in the near future. Asa result, the sector has not been exploited to its fullpotential in the last few years through diversifiedand value-added services.While the Constitution of the Federal DemocraticRepublic of Ethiopia guarantees freedom ofexpression and of the mass media, a number ofpeople argue that some of the recently enacted legislationcould potentially restrict such freedoms.The recently enacted legislation regarding accessto and dissemination of information is the Freedom ofthe Mass Media and Access to Information Proclamation(Proclamation No. 590/2008). This proclamation,in its Article 4 on Freedom of Mass Media, stipulatesthat “freedom of the mass media is constitutionallyguaranteed. Censorship in any form is prohibited.” Article12 of this proclamation on the Right of Access toInformation states that “all persons have the right toseek, obtain and communicate any information heldby public bodies, except as expressly provided for bythis Proclamation.” As stated in this article, this rightincludes access to information from any public bodyby means of “diskettes, floppies or any other electronicmode or through print-outs where such informationis stored in a computer or in any other device.”Furthermore, the Anti-Terrorism ProclamationNo. 620/2009 provides the executive organs– for instance, the National Intelligence and SecurityService – the power under court warrant togather or collect information, intercept or conductsurveillance of telephones, faxes, radio, the internet,electronic, postal and similar communications,and to enter into any premise in secret to enforcethat interception, or install or remove instrumentsenabling the interception.Key issuesOver the past five years, mobile and internet serviceshave made significant contributions to thesocioeconomic and political participation of theethiopia / 129


citizenry. In this regard, a couple of events can becited that can demonstrate such developments inthe country.One example in the context of social contributions,particularly by mobile service, is the useof RapidSMS in UNICEF’s work in supporting thedrought-affected areas in Ethiopia in 2008. Theimpact of this service was dramatic in that UNICEFEthiopia launched a massive food distribution programmeto supply the high-protein food Plumpy’nutto under-nourished children at more than 1,800feeding centres in the country. 5Previously, UNICEF monitored the distributionof food by sending a group of individuals who travelledto each feeding centre. The monitoring groupwrote down the amount of food that was receivedand distributed, and if more food was needed. Butthere had been a two-week to two-month delaybetween the collection of that data and analysis,which in turn delayed action. In a famine situation,each day can mean the difference between recoveryand starvation, or even death.With the use of RapidSMS, the delay was completelyeliminated. After a short period of training,monitors were able to enter information directlyinto their mobile phones as SMS messages. Thisdata would instantaneously appear on the serverand immediately be visualised as graphs showingpotential distribution problems and displayed ona map clearly showing where the problems were.The data, therefore, could be seen not only by thefield office, but by the regional office, supply divisionand even the headquarters, greatly improvingresponse coordination. The process of entering thedata into phones was also easier and more costeffective for the monitors themselves, leading toquick adoption of the technology. In this context,it is highly important to have accurate and timelydata to make decisions, so that where there areproblems, response can be quick, and resources effectivelyallocated to ultimately save lives. This is ahighly dramatic result of the use of mobile technologyin social services.Mobile technology has also been instrumentalfor the active participation of citizens in the recentpolitical history of the country. The denial of publicaccess to SMS by states is not new in the mobilearena. The SMS ban was enforced during the politicalunrest that followed the highly contentiousMay 2005 elections. At that time, the Ethiopiangovernment banned SMS because, it claimed, themain opposition party was exploiting it to organiseactivities during the elections – just as happens5 www.mobileactive.org/preventing-famine-mobileelsewhere. The opposition was particularly effectiveat using text messaging to mobilise its supportersand get them to the polling stations.When the election result was announced andsubsequently contested, the government movedquickly to shut down the SMS service to ensurethe opposition party could not use it again. 6 Theservice, which was interrupted in June 2005, wasrestored only after two years in September 2007.The restoration of the service improved the politicalspace and allowed for its use by different actorsfor socioeconomic development activities, as seenin the case of the RapidSMS service for humanitarianaid.However, mobile services have not developedfar beyond basic voice and limited data services.With the expansion of the currently limited 3G networkas well as integrated IP networks as a resultof Ethio Telecom’s NGN (next generation network)project being finalised and implemented, Ethio Telecomis able to provide data services (simple text/email messaging as well as internet and value-addedservices) in addition to basic mobile telephony.As a result we see a number of initiatives that havecontributed to the socioeconomic development ofthe country.The Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) isone recent success story. It provides IVR (interactivevoice response) and SMS-based mobile market informationdelivery to farmers and traders, avoidingthe information gap between the ends of the chain.Nevertheless, despite this potential for socioeconomicand political participation, the adoptionand use of the technologies has been slow. Anumber of factors could be contributing, includingthe illiteracy rate, the relative affordability of thetelecom services compared to the average income,and insufficient transfer of technology among professionalsand technology firms.The impact of the internet is lower compared tothe increasing penetration of mobile. Ethiopia, withthe second largest population in Africa, had only445,500 internet users in early 2011 with a penetrationrate of 0.5%. Given that broadband internet isunderpinning the fundamental rights of citizens in anumber of countries like Finland, providing accessto basic connectivity is of paramount importance ifcountries are to benefit from the global economy, andto participate in increasingly global political spaces.To bring isolated communities into the globalsocioeconomic landscape, a number of technologysolution providers have developed new technologies6 www.balancingact-africa.com/news/en/issue-no-374/telecoms/sms-ban-lifted-in-et/en130 / Global Information Society Watch


to facilitate communication and access to information.Nokia, for instance, recognises the impact ofilliteracy in this regard, and the launch of mobilehandsets with local language support in a numberof models by the company is a commendable start.And as much as technology providers make everyeffort to provide mobile operating systems as wellas software applications in local languages, it isalso in the interest of governments to open up theirtelecom networks to ensure the full participation ofcitizens in the information society – and in returnutilise the network’s full potential for their developmentgoals.ConclusionsIt is widely acknowledged that the internet is still inits infancy in Ethiopia. Access is limited and slow.Where broadband is available, it is typically veryexpensive – far beyond the financial means of themajority of Ethiopians. This is evident from the lownumber of fixed broadband internet subscribers,which stood at around 3,500 subscribers in 2009.The challenge for policy makers is to ensure thatnetworks are capable of delivering broadband internetaccess at affordable prices.To this end, the government has pledged to dedicate10% of its annual budget to the developmentand maintenance of telecom networks. 7 This effortwill hopefully improve the expansion of the networkand access to information and ICT services.As seen in the examples above, the role of theinternet and mobile in promoting the socioeconomicand political participation of the citizenry isof paramount importance.Currently, satellite internet is available to somelarge corporations, but individuals are not permittedto have private satellite connections. EthioTelecom also bans call back or use of modern technologysuch as voice over internet protocol (VoIP). 8Furthermore, like many countries in Africa, thenew ICTs are unequally distributed in Ethiopia, sothat to speak of a new communication revolutionis still something that must be interpreted withinspecific social perspectives. Seen in a broad perspectivethere can be little doubt that the mediaand the rise of new communication systems havecontributed to democratisation in many Africancountries – including Ethiopia, where at least ithas given some people access to information andalternative viewpoints and to channels in which toexpress their opinions and dissatisfaction.Action stepsGiven the low penetration of ICTs across the country,the role of multimedia community centres is important.These would serve to draw wide and newpopular sectors into a media environment.Low literacy levels and the dominance of international(especially English) rather than locallanguages on the internet serve to limit the use ofcomputers. These challenges are part of wider issuesof underdevelopment central to the role andfuture of communication policies. This includesconnectivity and capacity problems, content development,questions of costs, and unequal social andpolitical access.Today, access to high-tech communications isaccepted as integral to modern life. Communicationsystems are essential for commerce, culture andpolitics. More and more they are becoming a basisfor multifaceted development strategies. Given therole of media and communication for social changeand the full participation of citizens in the socioeconomicand political development of the country,all-inclusive and gender-sensitive ICT policy implementationis essential to build the informationsociety and benefit from the emerging informationand knowledge economies. n7 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_in_Ethiopia8 Adam, L. (2010) Ethiopia ICT Sector Performance Review2009/2010: Towards Evidence-based ICT Policy and Regulation.www.researchICTafrica.netethiopia / 131


franceConstitutional challenges to a free internetVECAMFrédéric Sultan (with La Quadrature du net) *vecam.orgIntroductionThe French Constitutional Council released its decision1 regarding the controversial LOPPSI bill on 10March 2011. Judges held that Article 4 of the bill,which allows the executive branch to censor theinternet under the pretext of fighting child pornography,is not contrary to the Constitution. In doing so,the constitutional court has failed to protect fundamentalfreedoms on the internet, and in particularfreedom of expression. Hope now lies with Europeaninstitutions, which are the only ones with the powerto prohibit or at least supervise administrative websiteblocking and its inherent risks of abuse.The LOPSSI law collated many repressivemeasures on vastly unrelated subjects. The ConstitutionalCouncil found itself caught out in thisstrategy. While it did strike down some of the mostshocking provisions, it left untouched those thatseemed less harmful or were proposed in the nameof noble goals, in spite of having a highly detrimentalimpact on civil liberties – such as the onesrelated to the internet.According to Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founderand spokesperson for La Quadrature du Net:This decision on Article 4 is a great disappointment.It is obvious that internet censorship will not helpsolve the child pornography problem in any way,as experiments in other countries have shown. 2After HADOPI’s 3 internet access suspensionmeasures, calls to ban WikiLeaks hosting andrecent talks against net neutrality, France is sidingwith the group of countries hostile to a freeinternet by adopting administrative filtering ofthe internet.”The following analysis is based on a legal studyon the screening measures published in 2009 by ateam of European lawyers. 4 It attempts to identify– given the European Convention on Human Rights(ECHR) and related case law – a number of safeguardsthat must govern any action involving thefreedom of communication on the internet. The reviewof arrangements for supervision of restrictionson fundamental freedoms in play shows that the administrationof internet filtering violates some basicprinciples of the rule of law.International law and the protectionof freedom of expression and communicationRespect for fundamental freedoms is the legal basisof democratic societies and the rule of law. Thehighest legal protections are granted to fundamentalfreedoms. These protections are enshrined inlaw but also in national constitutions and internationalinstruments, and it is traditional for judges toprotect each of these levels. The foundation of thisprotection is the idea that people who enjoy thesefreedoms must be protected, especially from anyinterference by the executive and the parliament. 5Measures to regulate online communicationsmay, depending on the various cases, violate one ormore fundamental freedoms protected by constitutionsand conventions:* This report is based on two articles by La Quadrature du net: Lefiltrage d’Internet viole l’État de droit, published 16 November 2010(minilien.fr/a0kwuy) and French Constitutional Council ValidatesInternet Censorship, published 11 March 2011 (minilien.fr/a0kwuz).These are licensed CC-BY-SA, and were reworked with the approvalof the original authors. Rewriting and translation by FrédéricSultan, VECAM.1 www.conseil-constitutionnel.fr/conseil-constitutionnel/francais/les-decisions/acces-par-date/decisions-depuis-1959/2011/2011-625-dc/decision-n-2011-625-dc-du-10-mars-2011.94924.html2 See the letter sent by ISPs and the Dutch Task Force on BlockingChild Pornography: www.bof.nl/2011/03/07/dutch-providersabandon-ineffective-web-bl...;similarly, Germany gave up onfiltering as its efficiency could not be proven: www.laquadrature.net/fr/loppsi-comment-lallemagne-a-renonce-a-la-...3 The French HADOPI law or Creation and Internet law (N°2009-669 of 12 June 2009), also referred to as the “law promoting thedistribution of creative works and the protection of rights on theinternet”, was introduced during 2009 as a means to control andregulate internet access and encourage compliance with copyrightlaws. HADOPI is the acronym of the government agency created toadminister it, the Haute Autorité pour la Diffusion des Œuvres et laProtection des Droits sur Internet.4 Callanan, C., Gercke, M., De Marco, E. and Dries-Ziekenheiner,H. (2009) Internet Blocking: Balancing Cybercrime Responses inDemocratic Societies, Aconite Internet Solutions. www.aconite.com/blocking/study5 Terré, F. (2005) Sur la notion de libertés et droits fondamentaux,in Cabrillac, R. et al. (eds) Libertés et droits fondamentaux, Dalloz,Paris, p. 195.132 / Global Information Society Watch


• The first of these is, of course, freedom ofexpression and communication, as these measuresprevent the transmission of informationand access to this information by the public.• The second is the right to respect for one’s privatelife and correspondence. Whatever thetechniques employed to intercept and blockthe offending content, private communicationswill be intercepted as well as criminalcommunications.In the ECHR, freedom of communication is protectedby Article 10, the second paragraph identifyingcases in which this freedom may be restricted if itwere to jeopardise “national security, territorialintegrity or public safety.” Measures are also necessary“for the prevention of disorder or crime, for theprotection of health or morals, for the protection ofthe reputation or rights of others, for preventing thedisclosure of information received in confidence, orfor maintaining the authority and impartiality of thejudiciary.” Article 8 of the ECHR, which asserts theright to respect for one’s private and family life, alsoprovides a framework if this freedom comes underquestion.Conditions on challenges to freedomof communication in European lawAs evidenced by the second paragraph of Article10, any questioning of fundamental freedomsprotected by the ECHR must meet a number of conditionsto be acceptable. With regard to freedom ofcommunication and the right to respect for one’sprivate life, such interference must, in addition tobeing required by law, pursue a goal called “legitimate”under the Convention, 6 and be “necessaryin a democratic society”. This last condition, whichlooks rather vague, seems to be the most importantin terms of interference with freedom of communication,including blocking communications orremoving content.As judges of the European Court of HumanRights (ECtHR) 7 had the opportunity to point out intheir jurisprudence, in a “society that wants to remaindemocratic”, the notion of “necessity” of theinterference implies that interference refers to “a6 Article 10 refers in particular to the protection of morals, theprotection of the reputation and the rights of others, theguarantee of the authority and impartiality of the judiciary, and theprevention of disorder and crime.7 The European Court of Human Rights is a supra-national court,established by the European Convention on Human Rights, whichprovides legal recourse of last resort for individuals who feel thattheir human rights have been violated by a contracting party to theConvention.pressing social need” 8 and is proportionate to thelegitimate aim pursued. 9Let us examine these two aspects:• One of the requirements attached to the pressingsocial need – for which the states have somediscretion while remaining dependent on thedecisions of the Court – implies that the restrictionof liberty ordered must meet this need. So,the measure must be effective.• Second, the measure must be proportionate tothe aim pursued. The Court has distinguishedseveral criteria to assess the proportionality of arestriction. With regard to the screening proceduresor removal of content, the Court will checkin particular if the purpose of the interferencecan be satisfactorily achieved by other meansless restrictive to rights.Are screening measures “a necessityin a democratic society”?Do screening measures meet the criteria of efficiencyand proportionality? Are they needed in a democraticsociety? To answer, we must obviously take into accountthe purpose (child protection or copyright, forexample) as well as technical solutions to prevent accessto litigious content. In the case where we seekto prevent access to child abuse content, which isundoubtedly the most pressing need that has beenargued to date to justify screening measures, thesemeasures have very different “legitimate aims” thatare included in paragraph 2 of Article 10 of the ECHR.These are the protection of morals and protection ofthe rights of others – especially children and sensitivepeople who may find such images extremely traumatic– and the prevention of crime and punishment.8 See for example ECtHR, 21 January 1999, Fressoz and Roire v. France,Grand Chamber. In this case, the satirical newspaper Canard enchainéhad published the tax forms of the head of a big company. The Courtconcluded that the culpability of the newspaper for revealing secretinformation violated freedom of expression and the freedom of thenewspaper to disseminate information by publishing a documentas proof. It particularly criticised the lack of social need: “The needfor any restriction on the exercise of freedom of expression must beconvincingly established.” cmiskp.echr.coe.int/tkp197/view.asp?item=1&portal=hbkm&action=htm ...9 See for example ECtHR, 26 April 1979, Sunday Times v. UK. “Article10-2 does not give the states an unlimited power of appreciation.In charge with the Commission to ensure compliance with theircommitments (Article 19), the Court has jurisdiction to rule on whethera ‘restriction’ or ‘penalty’ is reconcilable with freedom of expressionas enshrined in Article 10.” The national margin of appreciationgoes hand in hand with European supervision. It will be noted thatthe Constitutional Council employs similar words. See Decision No.2009-580 DC of 10 June 2009, paragraph 15: “Freedom of expressionand communication is all the more precious since its exercise is aprerequisite for democracy and a guarantee of respect for other rightsand freedoms, and damage to the exercise of this freedom must benecessary, appropriate and proportionate to the aim pursued.”france / 133


However, in each of these cases, technical problemswith the screening procedures suggest that they areneither effective nor proportionate.The availability of technical means to bypassscreening curtails the effectiveness of these measures.A well-known method, often used by politicaldissidents in authoritarian regimes, is, for example,to set up a proxy (or encrypted “tunnel”) to anothercomputer or server connected to the internet.The criminal networks engaged in the business ofchild abuse content have long developed distributionchannels impermeable to filtering techniques.Whether for prevention or suppression, filtering istotally ineffective in this regard.Proportionality of filtering measures is alsostrongly questioned because of their lack of accuracyin implementation. There is broad consensusamong experts who emphasise that no methodsto block access to content can eliminate the risk ofover-blocking perfectly legal sites. Several cases ofover-blocking have been identified. In the UnitedKingdom, Wikipedia, which is one of the busiestsites in the world, was blocked for almost threedays in late 2008 10 and blacklisted (secretly) by theInternet Watch Foundation (IWF), due to the publicationof the original album cover of Virgin Killerby the rock band Scorpions, released in 1976. Thecover shows a prepubescent girl posing naked. Becauseof these inevitable collateral effects, filteringis too dangerous compared to its objectives.Finally, when the ECtHR assesses the necessaryaction, it seeks to determine whether alternativemeasures that are less restrictive of the fundamentalfreedoms at stake can meet the pressing social need.From this point of view, other measures are more satisfyingthan the screening procedures. The first one isthat the removal of content from servers should be accompaniedby international cooperation. 11 (A negativeto this is that a study by two United States researchersshows that filtering has the effect of discouraging theactivation of international cooperation policies alreadyin existence.) 12 The second one is the possibility forusers (parents) to install monitoring systems on theircomputers to block access. These filtering systems, onthe edge of the network and much less intrusive, seemmore proportionate to the objective.10 Wikinews (2008) British ISPs restrict access to Wikipedia amid childpornography allegations, Wikinews, 7 December. en.wikinews.org/wiki/British_ISPs_restrict_access_to_Wikipedia_am...11 Before ordering the blocking of the AAARGH site, hosted in theUnited States, the French judge had asked the US court to removethe offending content servers, but it refused, citing the protectionof the First Amendment to the US Constitution .12 Moore, T. and Clayton, R. (2008) The Impact of Incentives on Noticeand Take-down, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge.www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rnc1/takedown.pdfThe procedural framework of attacks onfreedom of communication on the internet:The role of ordinary courtsDespite these factors, the French national legislaturedecided to address a pressing social need (the fightagainst child pornography) by restricting the freedomof online communication through content filtering.Article 4 of LOPPSI gives the executive power to deleteinformation circulating on the internet. Contraryto its decision on HADOPI, the Constitutional Councilhas approved the legislation authorising the administrativeauthority to order measures that conflictwith the freedom of online communication. The positionof the Constitutional Council seems to be to find,for each case, a balance between protecting freedomof communication and other fundamental rights.However, the traditional role assigned to the judicialauthorities in European law should disqualifythe competence of non-judicial entities to imposerestrictions of freedom of communication on theinternet, and this a fortiori when these measuresconflict with other fundamental rights, such as theright to respect for one’s private life.Three principles justify the exclusion of non-judicialauthorities when it comes to deciding on casesconcerning the restriction of freedom of expression:• The declaration of illegality The jurisdiction ofordinary courts is primarily because the judgealone can declare a situation the illegal abuseof freedom. In all liberal democracies, only thejudge has jurisdiction to establish the illegalityof content, situation or action.• The guarantees attached to any criminal chargeRestrictions on freedom of online communicationshould be accompanied by the guaranteeof a fair trial (Article 6 of the ECHR). 13 Indeed, anadministrative or judicial injunction of filtering,removing or blocking access to content, if it relatesto offences of a criminal nature, seems tobe a charge leading to the respect of guaranteesattached to fair trial, including the right to betried by an independent and impartial court. 1413 “[E]veryone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within areasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunalestablished by law.” Article 6-1 of the ECHR.14 It could be an administrative authority, but the guarantees of Article6 will apply. The European Court of Human Rights has acceptedthe validity of the method of administrative penalty under theEuropean Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,but recalled the need to comply with the requirements of Article 6(ECtHR, 21 February 1984, Oztürk v. FRG). Article 6 applies becausethe Court will consider administrative sanctions such as criminalcharges (ECtHR, 24 September 1997, Garyfallou AEBE v. Greece),or because they feel they relate to rights and obligations of a civilnature (ECtHR, 8 December 1999, Pellegrin v. France).134 / Global Information Society Watch


• Control of proportionality The control of proportionalityof measures intended to respondto an abuse of freedom of communication is afunction traditionally the responsibility of theordinary courts in democracies.The role of prior judicial authorityin monitoring violations of freedomof communication on the internetGiven these different observations (declaration ofillegality, the right to due process and control ofproportionality), the judge’s role in monitoring violationsof freedom of online communication seemsessential.Because of their ineffectiveness and their disproportionatenature, the screening proceduresproposed in LOPSSI do not seem able to meet Europeanstandards and should be discarded.Regarding the withdrawal of content, it seemsmore conceivable that the administrative authoritymay, for very serious offences, order a hosting providerto take down content. However, at this stage,concerned content will only be “potentially” illegaland the alleged offence needs to be prosecuted. 15Beyond these considerations, signatories to theECHR have discretion regarding the definition ofserious offences that can be subject to restrictionsof freedom on the part of the administrative authorityas a precaution. In reality, this is a choice of apolitical nature. In 2009, during the review of theTelecoms Package, 16 an amendment was made tothis law twice (“Amendment 138”) stating that onlythe judiciary should be able to impose restrictionson freedom of communication on the internet: 17It is regrettable that this principle has not been enshrinedin European Community law. It would haveallowed a rigorous defence of freedom of expressionand communication in France.Action stepsThe freedom offered by the internet, such as freecommunication and other fundamental rights, mustbe strictly protected by law. The main issues to assertin the context of LOPSSI should include:• A guarantee of the presumption of legality forany online publication• We must oppose the requirement for filteringonline content because it is disproportionate.• Citizens must be sufficiently informed of ordersto remove content, so that they can legally opposeit.• Citizens must be sufficiently informed if their accessto the internet is blocked, so that they canlegally oppose it.• The right to a fair trial must be guaranteed.• The government should not be able to imposesanctions that have the effect of restricting freedomwithout trial.• The opportunity to speak anonymously onlinemust be guaranteed. nNo restrictions may be imposed on fundamentalrights and freedoms of end users without a priorruling by the judicial authorities, notably underArticle 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rightsof the European Union on freedom of expressionand information, except when public safetyis threatened.15 See on this issue the proposal of La Quadrature du net as part ofthe consultancy on the European e-Commerce Directive.16 Package of five European Directives on the regulation ofcommunications networks and services.17 www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+IM-PRES...france / 135


indiaThe internet and the right to information in IndiaDigital Empowerment FoundationRitu Srivastava and Osama Manzardefindia.netIntroductionThe right to information is a basic human rightfor every citizen, and the internet is an effectivemedium to access information. The internet is consideredone of the most democratic forums, wherethe expression of one’s views knows few barriersand borders. But this does not mean that the freedomof speech and expression on the internet isabsolute and unrestricted.Transparency International’s 2010 Index ratesDenmark, New Zealand and Singapore the highestwhen it comes to granting their citizens the rightto information. 1 Finland became the first countryin the world to make access to the internet a legalright for all citizens in 2010, 2 and now the Netherlandshas followed suit. 3 Although it is one of theworld’s largest democracies, India is also one ofthe few countries where most state information lieswith governing bodies rather than being availablepublicly.In India, 70% of the population lives in 638,365villages, 4 represented by 245,525 panchayat offices,mostly located in the remotest regions ofthe country. However, rural India is not able to accessinformation due to a lack of infrastructure andmeans to do so. At the same time, many do notknow that they have a right to access information.According to the 2011 census, the literacy rate inIndia is just 64.32% – with illiteracy most prevalentin rural areas. This is the case even though thegovernment introduced the Right to Education Actin 2004, which promised free elementary and basiceducation to all children. Yet 35% of the populationis still illiterate, and only 15% of Indian studentsreach high school. Because of this it becomes more1 www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2010/results2 www.nytimes.com/2011/04/28/technology/28internet.html?_r=2&partner=rss&emc=rss3 www.rijksoverheid.nl/nieuws/2011/05/24/verhagen-gaattelecomwet-wijzigen-om-vrij-internet-te-garanderen.html4 censusindia.gov.in/Data_Products/Library/Post_Enumeration_link/No_of_Villages_link/no_villages.htmlimportant to provide them a medium to access informationin a way that they can understand.Advocating the need for a citizen’s basic right todemand information that affects their societal wellbeingand existence is a mandatory requirement ofany democratic society. And it is a citizen’s basicright in a democratic society to demand informationwhich is held by governing bodies who are electedby the people to serve the people.Because of this, movements like the NationalCampaign for People’s Right to Information, Savethe Right to Information and India Together havebeen advocating for the internet to be used to securethe right to information as a basic human right.Birth of the “right to information” in IndiaIt has been more than 60 years since India’s independence– but it is only since 1996 that the government’sstranglehold on freedom of information has been lessened.Prior to 1996, India was still burdened by thelegacy of the Official Secrets Act 1923, put in place bythe British government. This prohibited people fromgetting any information from government officials.The first step toward recognising the right to informationas a basic human right came in 1996 through theestablishment of the National Campaign for People’sRight to Information (NCPRI), 5 but it took almost a decadeto conceptualise the Right to Information (RTI) Actand to bring it into effect.The “right to information” campaign started asthe Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) movementin the early 1990s, which campaigned againstrampant corruption in the system. It was pushingfor transparency in the implementation of minimumwages in the remotest part of Rajasthan, one of thelargest states in India. The spirit of this movementinspired the citizens and administration in the country.The advocacy work done by MKSS gave rise tothe NCPRI, which set out to advocate for the right toinformation at the national level in 1996. Eventually,in 1999, then Union Minister for Urban DevelopmentRam Jethmalani 6 issued an administrative order thatenabled citizens to inspect and receive photocopies5 righttoinformation.info6 For more information on Ram Jethmalani see: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ram_Jethmalani136 / Global Information Society Watch


of files from his ministry. Disappointingly, the cabinetsecretary at the time did not approve this order,which led to the campaign gaining momentum. Thefirst national Freedom of Information Bill (2000)was introduced in Parliament in 2002. After a longstruggle by the MKSS and NCPRI campaigns, theRight to Information Act formally came into force on12 October 2005.Through this Act, the Constitution of India hasprovided both the right to privacy and freedom ofspeech and expression as fundamental rights, butone right cannot override the other.Regarding the use of information and communicationstechnologies (ICTs), the government statesin the RTI Act:Every public authority should provide as muchinformation to the public through various meansof communications so that the public has minimumneed to use the Act to obtain information.The internet being one of the most effectivemeans of communications, the information maybe posted on a website.Since independence, the RTI Act is probably one ofthe most influential laws that has been passed makingaccess to information a basic human right. ThisAct enables citizens to demand information not onlyfrom the government and public authorities, butalso gives power to citizens to access informationfrom anywhere in the world using the internet as atool to access the information.Despite the fact that the spirit of freedom of expressionis strong in India, it is still slow in makinggovernment information readily available, and governmentdecisions transparent. It is also not easyfor citizens to access information due to a lack ofinfrastructure or technological tools.Because of this some have advocated for the internetto be used to ensure the right to informationas a human right in India.Using the internet to ensure the rightto information in IndiaWith more than 100 million internet users as of December2010 (of whom 40 million use the internetvia mobile phones), India boasts the third highestnumber of internet users in the world. 7 Theinternet’s presence is reaching into every aspectof people’s lives in India: in education, learning,health and, in this case, in helping citizens exercisetheir right to information.7 www.trai.gov.in/WriteReadData/trai/upload/PressReleases/823/Press_Release_Mar-11.pdfThe internet revolution first made a substantialdifference in the lives of citizens when peasants,farmers and landholders of Rajasthan raised theirvoices demanding the ability to access land recordsdirectly through the internet. They were campaigningagainst rampant corruption and themanipulation of records that goes unabated in ruralareas marked by stark poverty and feudalism. In response,an initiative was launched by the Rajasthanstate government aiming to bring more accountabilityand transparency into the system of landrecords. The initiative enabled farmers to accesstheir land and revenue records online by selectingtheir tehsil 8 name, account and serial numbers,and paying a fixed amount to the manager of theinternet access point (such as a kiosk). Through thisproject, the state government helped 209 tehsils inthe 32 districts of the state, and digitised the jamabandis(land records) of 37,980 villages – as manyas 95,490 have been released. This initiative alsoreleased the revenue records of the period beforeApril 1996, resulting in around 62,000 pending casesbeing settled.The spirit of this movement inspired the Karnatakastate government to launch a project calledBhoomi in mid-1999, which aimed to digitise landand revenue records. The Bhoomi project digitised20 million rural land records of 6.7 millionlandowners through 177 government-owned andinternet-enabled kiosks in the state. Now, farmersand landowners are able to receive their records byproviding data such as ownership, tenancy, loans,nature of title, irrigation details, crops grown, etc.This small initiative helped farmers in many ways,from documenting crop loans and legal actions, tosecuring scholarships for school children.This project impacted on the whole country,leading the central government to initiate a national-levelDigitisation of Land Records project.The state governments involved include MadhyaPradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra.Under this initiative, landowners are able toaccess digitised copies of records of rights, alongwith property boundaries.This initiative formed the foundation of a nationwideproject aimed at allowing citizens to accessinformation. The Common Services Centres (CSC)programme was launched in 2006 with the goal ofsetting up 100,000 centres in rural areas across the8 A tehsil consists of a city or town that serves as its headquarters,possibly additional towns, and a number of villages. As an entityof local government, it exercises certain fiscal and administrativepower over the villages and municipalities within its jurisdiction.It is the ultimate executive agency for land records and relatedadministrative matters. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tehsilindia / 137


country. The project enabled rural citizens to accessreal-time information as well as various e‐governmentservices.The right to information is included in the Nationale‐Governance Plan (NeGP), which calls for theinternet to be used so that “all information coveringnon-strategic areas [is placed] in the public domainto enable citizens to challenge the data and engagedirectly in governance reform.” The Plan alsostrengthens the right to information by providingfor disclosure by governments in all non-strategicareas. All information should be digitally availableas it is not possible to fulfil this requirementthrough traditional paper-based processes.Another good example aimed at buildingtransparency between government and citizens isthe NREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural EmploymentGuarantee Act) programme in the stateof Andhra Pradesh. This enables hundreds of labourersto receive real-time information, includingtransactional information such as work done, wagespaid, and assets acquired. All this information ispublicly shared through the programme’s website.They are able to receive this information throughthe internet or with the help of community-basedorganisations that provide the information overtelephones.There is now widespread awareness that accessinginformation is a basic human right and thatthe internet can help in securing this right. Manyactivists have taken the cause to the next level anduse the power of social networking websites likeFace book and Twitter to spread awareness aboutthe right to information.One example was highlighted recently whenveteran social activist Anna Hazare began a hungerstrike, demanding the enactment of the Jan LokpalBill 9 that gives wider powers to the Ombudsmanto keep corruption in check. The protest began on5 April 2011. For four days Hazare’s fight againstcorruption spread like wildfire across the internetand he became the most “searched” person onthe Google India page. This was largely because ofsocial media websites like Facebook, Twitter andYouTube that played an important part in stitching anation of concerned citizens together. The 72-yearoldactivist became a worldwide celebrity on Twitterwith tweets that were pouring in every minute andwith more than 70,000 “likes” on Facebook. Thousandsof youth joined the campaign and supportedit in a non-violent way on Facebook and Twitter. Facebookpages such as “Mahatma Gandhi 2.0” and“India Against Corruption” reached over 145,000“likes” within a day. Within four days, Hazare’s nonviolentsocial movement impacted on the centralgovernment, which accepted all the demands of themovement.Another example is the CIC Online project, a keyinitiative of the Central Information Commission(CIC) and National Informatics Centre (NIC), underthe aegis of the NeGP. Now we are also able to filecomplaints online, 10 and check the status of appealswhen the right to information is denied. Effectively,CIC Online has institutionalised the convergence ofICTs with the Right to Information Act 2005.Although these particular examples haveshown the impact of the internet in realising theright to information as a basic human right in India,India has also failed in many ways due to a lack ofinfrastructure, or when citizens have been unableto utilise or access CSCs. The right to informationcould be successfully implemented if it could bedirectly correlated with a level of commitment withinthe state and central governments of both thepolitical and administrative bureaucrats. It is essentialthat immediate and wide-scale dissemination ofthe content of the RTI Act as well as assistance inimplementing the Act is provided to all concerned.The Act has also set down obligations on the stateand central governments for its implementation andfor setting up monitoring mechanisms.There is a requirement to implement the Actuniformly across the country. No doubt, uniform implementationof the Act will bring transparency togoverning bodies and authorities, which will be vitalfor the functioning of a vibrant democracy. It willcreate an environment of minimal corruption wheregovernments are accountable to the people. Thiscan be possible only when governing bodies andauthorities allow citizens to access their informationfrom anywhere and anytime. Because of this, itbecomes necessary to make internet access a basichuman right.Action stepsIn developing societies like India, ICTs play an importantrole in bringing disparate activist groupstogether. Some of the actions that could be takeninclude:• In order to remove the constraints on accessinginformation, it is important to push for universalaccess to ICT infrastructure and the availabilityof information on the internet.9 www.indiaagainstcorruption.org10 rti.india.gov.in/index.php138 / Global Information Society Watch


• In an era of Web 2.0, it is important to have freeand open models of knowledge creation thatensure protection against undue commercialinfluence over the free flow of information andknowledge.• Panchayat Offices can be used as RTI filing centresor can be internet-enabled and converted toPublic Citizen Offices (PCOs) where citizens canfile RTI applications. The RTI fee could either bebased on the rate of a call or decided by a PCOofficer.• In a country where the literacy rate is just 64%,and most are not able to use the internet, thereshould also be a way to utilise the power of mobiletechnology for the filing of RTI applications(for instance, using SMS).• There is a need to properly catalogue, index,and digitise government policies, applications,schemes, papers, announcements, etc. so thatthese records can be easily accessed.• Given globalisation, there is a trend towardsdeveloping worldwide restrictive intellectualproperty laws and practices and the coerciveimplementation of laws, often through technicalrestrictions. These need to be opposed.• Civil society needs to identify political contoursin the struggle for rights, democracy, equity andsocial justice, and in a way that enables them tocampaign effectively for people’s rights. nindia / 139


indonesiaDocumenting torture: The responsibilities of activistsEngageMedia Collective Inc.Alexandra Crosbywww.engagemedia.orgThe ways that human rights activists have employednew technologies have shaped the political upheavalsthat have punctuated Indonesia’s recent history.Probably the best-known example is the footage ofhuman rights abuses in East Timor during the late1990s, which was televised globally and becameone of the key factors in garnering internationalsupport for Timor-Leste’s independence. 1The experience of the 1998 political uprisingthat overthrew the Suharto regime also showedthe power of digital video in generating extensivesocio-political changes by mobilising people insupport of a new government. In the build-up tothe end of the regime, footage of the shootingsof Trisakti University students in Jakarta, much ofwhich was “amateur” footage, was broadcast ontelevision inside and outside Indonesia. Theseimages sparked sentiments of national solidarity,leading to mass student protests in several citiesacross Indonesia, denouncing the New Orderregime.However, today, without the same momentumof mass direct action on the streets that characterisedthe end of the 20th century in Indonesia, theways that video can be used to affect change aremore ambiguous. Realising that they cannot relyon the foreign press to expose humiliating humanrights violation cases, campaigners push their videosthrough other avenues – such as EngageMedia,YouTube and Facebook – where, instead of relyingon news corporation producers, activists can becomethe producers and distributors themselves.But in becoming more independent, their responsibilitiesalso shift, particularly when it comes tocontextualising video information.This report is concerned with what activists cando with video to improve the situation in West Papuaand Indonesia more broadly: to stop human1 KUNCI Cultural Studies Center and EngageMedia (2009) VideoActivism and Video Distribution in Indonesia. www.engagemedia.org/videochronicrights abuses, to bring perpetrators to justice, toprevent torture, and to end violence. Our approachis to compare the production and distribution ofvideos documenting incidents of abuse in order todeepen activist understanding of the mechanics ofonline distribution of video that has the purpose ofsocial change. This focuses on the work of Engage-Media as one organisation investing in making thisdistribution not only more effective, but more mindfuland secure.Human rights abuses in West Papuaand elsewhereIndonesia ratified the UN Convention Against Torturein 1998, the same year the brutality of the NewOrder regime was meant to end. However, the AsianHuman Rights Commission says, today “torture isin fact encouraged as a mean[s] of interrogationand intimidation by the police and the military.” 2Because military personnel enjoy special immunityfrom being tried in civilian courts, acts of torturecontinue to go unpunished.Amnesty International reports that in recentyears there have been a number of cases of intimidationand attacks against human rights defendersand journalists in Indonesia. Many of these caseshave occurred in the province of West Papua, given“special” autonomy by the Megawati governmentin 2001. West Papua is one of the least accessibleplaces in Indonesia and one of the richest in naturalresources.This report does not have the scope to cover thestruggle for self-determination in West Papua. Sufficeto say that allegations of torture in the regionare hardly new. Since it became part of Indonesia inthe 1960s, there has been both a resilient separatistmovement and a strong military presence. 3 AmnestyInternational has documented how victims and witnessesin Papua have few available legal remedies2 Asian Human Rights Commission (2010) Indonesia: Video of themilitary torturing indigenous Papuans surfaced, press release,17 October. www.humanrights.asia/news/press-releases/AHRC-PRL-021-20103 For background on the issues in West Papua, see Drooglever, P.(2009) An Act of Free Choice: Decolonisation and the Right to Self-Determination in West Papua, Oneworld Publications, Oxford.140 / Global Information Society Watch


to make complaints. 4 Perhaps more than anywhereelse in Indonesia, human rights violations in WestPapua have gone unchecked for decades.As recently as July 2010, Tama Satrya Langkun, aJakarta-based anti-corruption activist, was severelybeaten by unknown persons in an apparent moveto silence him. That same month, Ardiansyah Matra,a journalist covering corruption and illegal loggingin Papua, was found dead in the province. Despitepolice investigations, no one has yet been held accountablefor these attacks.Documenting tortureOn 30 May 2010, Indonesian military personneltortured Tunaliwor Kiwo, a Papuan farmer, and hisneighbour, using a number of methods, includingclamping their genitals, burning them with an iron rod,trying to suffocate them with plastic bags and pullingout their fingernails with pliers. The incident was recordedon a soldier’s mobile phone. The ten-minutetorture video was released to the public on 18 October2010, after being leaked to activists. The video wasdistributed on several websites including the AsianHuman Rights Commission (AHRC) site from Octoberand received international attention. Since then, theAHRC has reported attacks on their website alongwith the sites of several other groups who featured thetorture video, including Survival International, WestPapua Media Alerts, the Free West Papua Campaign,Friends of People Close To Nature and West PapuaUnite. The video also appeared on YouTube.Many questions arise from this incident, includingwhether or not this is part of a military culture in whichsuch actions are not considered criminal. Why woulda perpetrator want to take pictures of their crime? It ishard to believe that with the ease of upload/downloadtechnologies, a soldier would not understand howquickly a video such as this could be disseminated andcirculated. Wondering the same about the documentationsof abuses at Abu Ghraib, the great United States(US) philosopher Susan Sontag wrote that, ratherthan being trophies, these images are “inspired bythe vast repertory of pornographic imagery availableon the internet” and are evidence of the “increasingacceptance of brutality in American life.” 5 Perhaps the4 See the following reports: Amnesty International Papua Digest, January2011. www.amnesty.org.uk/uploads/documents/doc_21212.pdf; Openletter on unchecked police abuse in Nabire district, Papua (Index ASA21/024/2009), 30 November 2009. www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA21/024/2009/en; Unfinished business: Police accountability inIndonesia (Index ASA 21/013/2009), 24 June 2009. www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA21/013/2009/en; Amnesty International’s briefingto the UN Committee Against Torture (Index ASA 21/003/2008), 15 April2008. www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA21/003/2008/en5 Sontag, S. (2004) Regarding The Torture Of Others, New York TimesMagazine, 23 May.same could be said of the mainstreaming of violencein Indonesian life – perhaps this acceptance is, sadly,universal. The mutilation of genitals in the cases ofboth Abu Ghraib and Kiwo’s torture represents a violencethat seems intertwined with the sexualisationof victims’ bodies. 6 Clearly, video evidence of torturepresents ethical dilemmas, not only around how it ismade and released, but how it is watched and howthose who watch are implicated in the processes ofsocial change.Responding to the public attention around thetorture video, video testimony was produced byhuman rights activists in Jayawijaya. The video testimonywas an effort to provide more direct evidencefor the case and also to respond to some of the dilemmasmentioned above by contextualising theevent. It was passed along to the Papuan CustomaryCouncil – Dewan Adat Papua – and handed to HumanRights Watch. The interview was conducted in Lani(the language of the Jayawijaya region – Papua hasover 200 languages), which was later translated intoIndonesian by a Lani activist, and subtitled in bothIndonesian and English. In November, EngageMediareleased both videos of the testimony, one with Englishsubtitles, 7 one with Indonesian subtitles. 8Video testimony, as opposed to documentary,allows the victim to create his or her own narrative.But in order to be effective, to be able to circulatein the wider world, these narratives require a greatdeal of context. Translation and subtitling takeon renewed importance because they are part ofthe process of getting as close as possible to thevictim’s expression of events and making that expressionthe core of social change campaigns. Forsuch cases, EngageMedia is currently teaming upwith Universal Subtitles, an open source, onlinesystem that enables collaborative translation andsubtitling of video. The system can be accessed onthe Universal Subtitles website itself, and can alsobe used in concert with other video sites such asEngageMedia.org, tapping into already existing networksand communities. 96 Carby, H. (2004) A strange and bitter crop: the spectacle of torture,openDemocracy, 10 October. www.opendemocracy.net/mediaabu_ghraib/article_2149.jsp7 www.engagemedia.org/Members/dewanadatpapua/videos/kiwotestimony_rev_en.mp4/view8 www.engagemedia.org/Members/dewanadatpapua/videos/kiwitestimony_id/view9 The aims for this collaboration are to broaden access to criticalhuman rights and environmental stories from within Southeast Asia,increasing regional and international exposure; develop a SoutheastAsia network of volunteer translators and subtitlers of citizenmedia, human rights and environmental video content; enhance thecommunication between video advocates, campaigners and citizensin the region to develop shared understandings of the commonissues they face; and provide easy access to television stations andother websites to pick up and run non-native language content.INDONESIA / 141


Being sensitive to local languages is just oneof the practical challenges of using video in torturecases. “Given the previous cyber attacks,”says Enrico Aditjondro, EngageMedia’s Indonesiaeditor, “the decision to publish the testimony wasa calculated risk that required careful preparationto ensure the safety of all organisations and individualsinvolved.” As well as Universal Subtitles,EngageMedia teamed up with Human Rights Watchand others to urge the Indonesian government tomount a thorough, impartial and transparent investigationinto the episode. This collaborationis important in tracing the way video can be usedin concert with human rights campaigns in raisingpublic awareness and bringing about social change.The Indonesian government responded with arapid trial of the soldiers involved. The AHRC saysthe trial only came about after heavy national andinternational pressure, and the result does notprovide an adequate remedy for the gravity of thehuman rights violations. The perpetrators have notbeen charged with their actual crime and AHRC rejectsthis trial as a conclusion of the case. This isnot surprising, considering the track record of theIndonesian government in coming to terms with humanrights abuses, evident in other cases such asthe poisoning of human rights activist Munir Saidbin Thalib in September 2004, and the failure toconvict any of the generals accused of war crimes inEast Timor or Aceh.Aditjondro says EngageMedia learns from eachof these experiences, and continues to face similardilemmas, most recently concerning the publicationof what is known as the “Ahmadiyyah Video”.In February 2011, hundreds of villagers in Bantenprovince, west of Jakarta, were filmed marching to ahouse where twenty Ahmadis 10 had met. The videoshows three bloody bodies of Ahmadi men who hadbeen stripped, beaten and dragged from the houseto the ground outside. Police officers appear in thevideo, making no attempt to stop the killing, andscores of young men looked on, recording it withtheir mobile phones. 11EngageMedia and other independent mediachannels were immediately sent the footage bysome of those who recorded the incident. WhileEngageMedia decided against posting the videoon its site, journalist and human rights campaignerAndreas Harsono from Human Rights Watch usedhis own YouTube account to publish the video. Withinminutes, he received numerous death threats.After receiving over 100,000 hits, the video wasflagged and blocked. An anonymous uploader thenre-posted the complete video on YouTube where itwas still available at the time of writing, but viewersneed to sign in to see it, due to the graphic nature. 12Aditjondro says:For credibility and integrity, taking responsibilityfor videos like this is important when they goout in public. But such actions can also endangeradvocacy work and made people associatedto him [Harsono] vulnerable as well. The storyof Andreas Harsono helped activists realise thesecurity implications of doing digital campaigning,particularly those activists working in morerepressive environments such as West Papua.Aditjondro also says that EngageMedia, knowingthat the videos would be on YouTube, was more concernedwith contextualising the event, and posted anews story with links to the footage. 13 “Watching violencefor the sake of it doesn’t achieve anything,”he says.This incident, and the extrapolation of the torturevideo into Kiwo’s testimony, also point outsome of the responsibilities video makers and distributorshave to their subjects and how peoplewatch and interpret disturbing footage. While allactivists have the same aim of exposing violationsof human rights, not all campaigns take the samemeasures to make sure victims and their supportershave a voice and still remain secure.In the case of the video of the torture itself, wecannot know how this video got into activist hands,whether it was intentionally or accidentally leaked.But, having the infrastructure in place for distribution,what we do with these opportunities in a waythat is responsible and clear is a great challenge.This requires partnerships between technologistsand human rights agencies. More than ever before,these networks must operate with an unprecedentedlevel of security, speed and collaboration.10 Ahmadis, who practice the Ahmadiyya form of Islam, have beensubject to various forms of persecution since the movement’sinception in 1889. Ahmadiyya is a controversial religious minorityin Indonesia that rose sharply in the 2000s with a rise of Islamicfundamentalism. As of 2011, the sect faces widespread calls for atotal “ban” in Indonesia.11 Dewan, A. (2011) Why We Should Support Indonesian Schools,New Matilda, 16 February. newmatilda.com/2011/02/16/why-weshould-support-indonesian-schools12 www.youtube.com/verify_age?next_url=http%3A//www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DDWHzc8ZxRuQ%26feature%3Dplayer_embedded13 EngageMedia (2011) Ahmadiyah bloodied video leads to calls forrevoke of decree against religious minority, 14 February. www.engagemedia.org/Members/cikeusik/news/ahmadiyah-bloodiedvideo-leads-to-calls-for-revoke-of-decree-against-religious-minority142 / Global Information Society Watch


Concluding notesKiwo’s story and the ways video has been generatedfrom it tell us a great deal about the potentialof information and communications technologies(ICTs) for human rights and social resistance. Butthey also relay the limitations of online video activism.Without an approach that also supports victimsof human rights abuses in their day-to-day lives, intheir own languages, what good is such evidence?This report has focused on particular incidentsbecause of the repercussions on activist securityand because of the clear pressure they put on authorities.But this report concerned the impactof video in specific incidents. The story of humanrights in Papua and other places is far more complex.Infant mortality, sexual health, land rights,access to basic human needs all indicate a grimsituation for many indigenous people all over theworld. Yet these stories are unlikely to receive manyhits on YouTube. How can these issues also be integratedinto a different type of activism, one that canmove beyond the shock of violence shaming us intoa real world response?Perhaps more than any other medium, video hasthe power to reframe stories. Kiwo’s story is muchmore than a file viewed in browsers and copied overservers. Taking responsibility for how videos effectchange is about making them more than namelessimages of violence.Action stepsThe immediate action to be taken around this incidentis demanding the retrial of the soldiers whoperpetrated the torture of Kiwo and his neighbour.This requires ongoing support for local activists inWest Papua from regional and global networks.More broadly, activists need to:• Be informed. Listen, watch and read storiesfrom West Papua at www.engagemedia.org/taxonomy/countries/WP• Follow the AHRC campaign to end violence in WestPapua at www.humanrights.asia/countries/indonesia/end-violence-in-west-papua• Sign the petition opposing US cooperationwith Kopassus (the Indonesian Special ForcesCommand) at www.gopetition.com/petitions/dont-train-indonesias-deadly-kopassus.html• Consider security implications to filmmakersand witnesses when conducting video documentationof human rights violations• Download Video for Change: A How-To Guideon Using Video in Advocacy and Activism fromwww.witness.org• Visit Tactical Tech Security-in-a-Box at www.tacticaltech.org/securityinaboxnINDONESIA / 143


iranThe internet and civil resistance: Freedoms and state repressionArseh Sevom SchoolSohrab Razzaghiwww.3rdsphereschool.orgIntroductionIn recent years, the Iranian political-civil rightsmovement has used the internet as an importanttool for free access to and exchange of information.This has broken the government monopoly on newsmedia, expanded social networks, built capacityand empowered both citizens and activists. However,the government is alert to this potential, and haslaunched its own cyber war on activists. This reporthighlights the important but ambivalent role the internetplays in social resistance in Iran.The internet, human rights,and civil resistance in IranBlogs have played an important role in the socialstruggle and civic resistance of the Iranian people.Civil rights activists in Iran have depended onblogs more than any other tool for expanding socialnetworks, and engaging in civil resistance. Blogsoffer a vibrant field for challenging dominant ideologicaland theoretical assumptions, and for newsreporting on Iranian victims of human rights abuses.Writing blogs has given many Iranian men andwomen the ability to express their beliefs, demandsand interests without censorship. They can createtheir own “cyber identity” without fear of being discovered(with the concomitant consequences), andcan make their “hidden self” public.Blogs are one of the most important politicaladvantages progressive Iranians have in theinternet world. In the Iranian calendar year 1383(March 2004-March 2005), Iran ranked highest inthe number of blogs produced in the world – andalthough that ranking decreased slightly last year(2010), Iran is still one of the top ten blog-producingcountries in the world.The women’s movement in Iran was one of thefirst social movements to recognise the importanceand influence of the internet. Women activists usedthe internet as their most important tool in informationmedia for the purposes of advancing theirsocial struggle. Iranian women have always beenamongst the most marginalised groups in society,and because of this they have always been lookingfor opportunities to create alternative civic spaces,and exploiting those spaces for advancing Iranianwomen’s collective struggle. For them the internetquickly transformed into an alternative civic spacefor social resistance, in place of the many politicaland social spaces in which women did not have anddo not have much influence.The women’s movement was able to use the internetas a communications tool for spreading newsabout the conditions of Iranian women, breakingtaboos, and mobilising and organising women inprotests against anti-women legislation. The internetalso allowed the Iranian women’s movement theopportunity to connect with international women’smovements and coalitions and raise awarenessabout the plight of Iranian women within internationalcircles.One of the successful strategies for using theinternet in the social struggle has been the OneMillion Signatures Campaign for Changing the DiscriminatoryLaws against Women in Iran. In a shorttime, this campaign allowed Iranian women to shinelight on some of the limitations of Iranian society,while demonstrating their qualitatively different experiencein the world.In recent years, civic activists have createdcampaigns in cyberspace for human rights issues,victims of human rights abuses, and focusing onsingle-issue civic demands. The campaign againststoning is one such campaign. Here a group of humanrights activists wrote a letter addressed to theChief of the Judiciary demanding the nullification ofthe Stoning Law and circulated it online to gathersignatures. This letter presented brief reports ofpeople who were awaiting stoning sentences andexpressed the activists’ criticisms about stoningbeing in conflict with Shariah (Islamic law), Iraniancommon law, and international human rights laws.Other campaigns include: Opposition to theImprisonment of Students Involved in the 1999Tehran University Dormitory Attacks; DemandingFreedom for all Political Prisoners (presently 800political-civic activists are imprisoned); the CampaignAgainst Sakineh Ashtiani’s Stoning Sentence;the Campaign Against Execution; the Green ProtestCampaign; and the Campaign for Freedom of Assemblyand Association in Iran.144 / Global Information Society Watch


Censorship and the shutting down of websitesand blogs represent some of the major difficultiesthat civil resistance in cyberspace faces. Just as thegovernment censors and limits access to and theexchange of information between Iranian citizens,it continually employs new methods for filteringinternet use. In response, civic activists have inventednumerous methods for bypassing filtering.These include using filter “breaking” sites, proxies,exploiting alternative software, and Google caches,amongst others.Another act of resistance against the regime’spolicies, especially the Iranian “Cyber Army” attacks– essentially online “troops” sent to stiflecivil resistance – is the hacking of governmentsites and government-supported sites. In the lasttwo years, civil activists have attacked governmentsites such as the Islamic Republic of Iran Presidencysite, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) site,Fars News, Raja News, and many others – multipletimes. Through this method, they have expressedtheir protest against government policies andprogrammes.The Green Movement represented a qualitativelynew experience in using the internet tofurther social militancy and expand civil resistancein Iran. This movement emerged from the wombof a wider-based social movement, which we canlabel the movement for political-civil rights. Itsmost visible moment of civic resistance was on 12June 2009, the day of elections, when it took tothe streets, demanding: “Where is my vote?” Thismovement constituted a reaction to the governingmethods of Iran’s rulers, the imposition of a particularkind of existence, the widespread violationof human and civil rights, and corruption and disorganisationwithin Iranian society. It called for agovernment based on the rule of law, the expansionof democratic relationships, and a commitment tostandards and criteria of human rights and peacewithin Iranian society.By using the internet, this movement was ableto communicate the voices of Iranians to the outsideword. By using new forms of internet media asa political weapon, Green Movement activists successfullybrought the government’s legitimacy intoquestion, and dispelled the regime’s myths.Facebook, news websites and video exchangeson YouTube have been some of the main tools ofcivic activists in the political-social struggle againstgovernment deception and the widespread violationof human rights. For example, the video of themurder of “Neda Agha-Soltan” was first publishedon Facebook and shortly sent shockwaves acrossthe entire world.Another useful experience in using the internetfor civil resistance in Iran comes from the actions ofa group of youths who used it for resisting governmentpolicies and breaking cultural taboos. A groupof young boys and girls used Facebook to organisea public water gun fight at the Water and Fire Parkin Tehran. On the morning of Friday 29 July 2011, aconsiderably large group of people gathered at thepark, and some families came out with their childrenas well, to play with water guns and relish thejoy of being outside. However, the security forcesreacted forcefully and swiftly, stopping the eventand arresting a number of participants.Meanwhile, alongside the expansion of thepolitical-civil rights movement in Iran by using newcommunications tools to help democratise Iran, thefalse government has also attempted to use thesetools to solidify its rule and silence the Iranian people’scivil resistance.Policy and regulationIn 2009, a new political class was able to come topower by widely manipulating the tenth presidentialelections, with the full support of the military.These actions resulted in the formation of a garrisonstate, the expansion of populism in the societal andpolitical spheres, the renewed rise of ideologicaldiscourses, and the suppression of the middle classand cultural classes. During the past few years,this new political class in Iran has attempted tomake itself the sole power and independent actorin the fields of politics, society, economy and culturewithin Iranian society. It has also attempted tohave a determinant role in all fields of Iranian life,and to govern Iranian society based only upon itsideological and theoretical assumptions. Effectively,it wanted to occupy all civic spaces, preventingalternative discourses from politicising society, anddestroy all associations engaging in political resistance.The ultimate consequence of all of this wasthe obstruction and constriction of civil and politicalsociety, the limitation of political-civil freedoms,and the widespread violation of human rights in Iraniansociety.This new political class, in advancing its projectto homogenise Iranian society and social thought,has likewise attempted to promote and make dominanta culture of inertia and silence in Iran. It aimsto disrupt, obstruct and control access to and thefree exchange of information.The most important programmes that the Iraniangovernment has used to limit the people’s rightto access the internet, shut down communicationsand break up civil resistance in cyberspace includethe following:iran / 145


• Preventing the development of and investmentin internet infrastructure, despite the fact thatthe Fourth and Fifth Five-Year Social-EconomicDevelopment Plans (2005-2009 and 2010-2014)emphasise the need to develop and invest in internetinfrastructure.According to statistics presented by Iran’s NationalInternet Development ManagementCentre, by March 2011, 32.66% of Iran’s totalpopulation used the internet through variousmethods. In addition to dial-up internet, ADSLhas been introduced in the country, and nowwireless internet on the WiMAX platform isavailable. Based on a report by MATMA (NationalInternet Development Agency of theIslamic Republic of Iran), most internet users inthe country are GPRS subscribers, and use theirmobile phones to connect to the internet – constitutingmore than 41% of all internet users inIran.However, by the end of the Iranian year 1389(March 2011), 29% of all internet users in thecountry used dial-up telephone services toconnect to the internet. Because of legal limitationsfor residential users, who constitutea large portion of internet users, high-speedinternet bandwidth is only 128 kilobits per secondin Iran (equal to 8.12 bytes per second),and high-speed bandwidth is generally limited.In addition to limited speeds, the high cost ofhigh-speed internet and power instability canbe added to the difficulties that Iranians face. 1• Shutting down access to and the free exchangeof information and the obstruction of communicationnetworks. The government has frequentlyresorted to disrupting or reducing Iranian internetspeeds in the last two years – especiallyfrom 15-21 June 2009, and in the months followingthe 2009 elections. It is necessary to notethat the Iranian government is the main providerof internet services in Iran through the IranTelecommunications Company, and it can disruptor obstruct internet access and the freeflow of information at any time. In the year1388 (March 2010-March 2011), a majority stakein the ownership of the government-ownedtelecommunications company was given to theIranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.• Widespread filtering of sites and blogs is oneof the other actions the government has takento stifle civil resistance and prevent access to1 www.mehrnews.com/fa/newsdetail.aspx?NewsID=131042and free exchange of information during recentyears. Identifying “forbidden” pages and filteringthem occurs via multiple methods. Thecommon methods used are filtering based onIP addresses, domain names, page addresses,keywords and page content.For expanding the reach of filtering, Iranian officialsuse full-featured blocking software, whichhas been purchased from China and Russia. Thecriteria for identifying and blocking websitesare determined and announced by the “Committeefor Determining Examples of Criminal WebContent” comprised of representatives from thesecurity institutions. Censorship and filtering inIran happen through the main gateways, combinedwith the blocking of certain URLs. Iran isone of the ten countries named as “Enemies ofthe Internet” by Reporters Without Borders in2011. 2• Online attacks by the government’s CyberArmy is another strategy used to foil civil resistance.The identity of the Cyber Army wasat first unclear, until Ebrahim Jabbari, Commanderof the Iranian Revolutionary GuardCommittee (IRGC) Ali Ibn Abi Taleb GroundForces Regiment, announced on 20 May 2010,“Today, we witness that the IRGC has beensuccessful in founding a cyber army that isonly the second cyber army to exist in the entireworld.” 3 In May 2009, the public relationsoffice of the Revolutionary and Public Court ofTehran announced that, following a series ofcomplex intelligence operations, 30 peoplesuspected of participating in the group called“cyber wars” were arrested. This action followeda wave of attacks against anti-government websitesand blogs by the Iranian Cyber Army.Although the IRGC had clearly begun combatingwhat it viewed as “immoral sites” throughthe creation of GERDAB (the Centre for CombatingOrganised Cyber Crimes), the IRGC did notbegin confronting social-political media until adirective issued following the events of 12 June2009, and the emergence of the Iranian people’spolitical-civil rights movement. It appearsthat the IRGC, in addition to dominating all communicationsinfrastructures and informationnetworks in Iran, has direct responsibility forthe guidance and management of “cyber wars”within the Iranian government. In addition to theCyber Army, other institutions such as the IRGC2 march12.rsf.org/en3 english.farsnews.com/farsnews.php146 / Global Information Society Watch


Department of Cyber Defence and the SecurityPolice for the Exchange of Information (FATA)were also created in 2010. Alongside these institutions,“observational teams” and activitymonitoring centres that track internet users areworking hard, and the IRGC is making efforts torecruit hackers and computer security expertswith very high salaries and benefits.• Another of the government’s actions to fightthe “soft war” against cyber civil society wasthe allocation of a budget of 500 billion tomans(about USD 500 million) in the calendaryear 1389 (March 2010-2011) to the Basij, paramilitaryforces affiliated to the IRGC. The Basijhave attempted to conquer Iranian cyberspaceby producing pro-government content, usingpsychological warfare, and creating insecurityamongst Iranian social networks. In order toachieve their goal, namely, a “pure internet”,the government has recruited 8,000 Basijis forthis work. The Communications and InformationTechnology minister first brought up the idea ofa “pure internet” in 2010. The minister claimedthat within internet networks, “rogue elements”exist that have become a serious problem inreal-world communities, and, on that basis, thegovernment must protect the Iranian peoplefrom such harm. On 16 April 2011, the Deputyfor Supervision and Coordination in EconomicPolicies for the First Vice President announced,“The first halaal internet network, one that ispure from immoral websites, has been launchedinside Iran.” 4ConclusionThe experience of Iran shows that just as much asthe internet can be a productive tool for advancingdemocracy, human rights, and the political-civilrights movement, it can also be used in the serviceof authoritarian regimes, who use it to repress andidentify civil activists and consolidate their rule oversociety.Civil activists in Iran have used multiple methodsto protest in the last two years, ranging fromstreet demonstrations to online campaigns, blogging,producing and publishing video files usingmobile phones, writing graffiti on paper currency,and even hunger strikes in prison. The use of socialnetworks and the internet has played a veryimportant role in publishing pictures, videos andnews stories about protests, and helping individualsexpress personal opinions, reflecting the realityof events both inside Iran and in the broader world.In this respect, internet use has been an importantpolitical act.Nonetheless, the internet can also deplete theenergy of the opposition, and create artificial feelingsof satisfaction, the consequence of which isinaction in the real world of activism. The internethas also effectively turned the activist into a solitary,protesting computer user, fighting againstmultiple government computers. Meanwhile, aseveryone knows, “The revolution will never happenwithout revolutionary people.”Action stepsDespite all of their inherent limitations and challenges,the internet and cyberspace remain themost important tool for civil activists and thepolitical-civil rights movement for access to andexchange of information, organising, mobilising society,and democratising the nation.In response to the widespread governmentalprogrammes to limit and restrict access to theinternet, including its cyber war programme, animportant step is the development of software andeducating users in Iran in order to secure communicationamong social and political activists at homeand internationally. n4 www.tabnak.ir/fa/news/158720iran / 147


italyBlocking Italy’s “gag law”With the support of Centro NexaArturo Di Corinto and Giacomo Mazzonenexa.polito.it andwww.dicorinto.it/?s= internet+governanceIntroductionAfter many attempts to restrict freedom of expressionon the internet, the Italian government hasproposed a new anti-internet law, the so-called“gag law”. The proposed law will create a very specialsituation in the country, compared to the otherG7 economies.In Italy, 96.1% of households have a television,but only 47.3% are connected to the internet, 1suggesting how far Italy lags behind other G7countries. The digital divide impacts negativelyon the concrete possibilities of using the internetfor human rights. For instance, accordingto the Organisation for Economic Co-operationand Development (OECD), Italy shows the lowestbroadband penetration among G7 countries(20.5% in December 2009). The development ofinternet infrastructure suffers from a lack of investmentin technological improvement: according toemployers’ association Confindustria, 2 informationand communications technology (ICT) investmentrepresents less than 2% of Italy’s GDP; recently animportant public investment to overcome the digitaldivide (800 million euro) was first announcedand then stopped.By the end of 2008, broadband access wasavailable in almost 95.7% of Italy, but the statisticsdo not consider that most of this coverage comesfrom ADSL technology which presents technical difficultiesin interfacing with traditional copper phonelines. Fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) and fibre-to-thebusiness(FTTB) connections remain limited, whilethe majority of internet users currently use householdconnections with an average download speedof 3-4 Mbit/s. 3On top of the scarce internet infrastructure, informationand media literacy in Italy is limited. In2009, according to Confindustria, 38% of Italian1 www.istat.it2 www.confindustria.it3 www.sostariffe.ithouseholds had no computer literacy, and morethan half of the IT users were not able to performbasic operations such as using spreadsheets or zippingfiles.However, the recent success of mobile internetis opening new scenarios for the online world: ifmost 3G devices are still purchased by those whoare already IT literate, the booming industry ofsmartphones in a country where 90% are mobilephone users is introducing a new wave of users tothe internet.Political contextItaly’s president of the Council of Ministers, SilvioBerlusconi, is also a media tycoon, controlling directlyor indirectly five out of seven of the major TVchannels in the country. Because of this he is notinterested in helping to democratise mass communication.On the contrary, he fears that he may losecontrol over the production of information and audiovisualcontent.Since his first nomination at the head of thegovernment in 1994, the main priority of Berlusconihas been to consolidate and increase his controlover traditional media: television, press and publishingcompanies. In order to do so he had toviolate or ignore (or even repeal) a certain numberof safeguards that had existed in Italian laws andregulation, including the Constitution.In fact, the Italian Constitution – written justafter twenty years of fascist regime – recognisesfreedom of expression in its Article 21:(1) Everyone has the right to freely expressthoughts in speech, writing, and through othermeans of communication.(2) The press may not be controlled by the authoritiesor be censored.(3) Seizing media assets is permitted only byjudicial order stating the reason for the action,and only for offences expressly determined bythe press law or for violation of the obligationto identify the persons responsible for suchoffences.(4) In cases of absolute urgency where immediatejudicial intervention is impossible,periodicals may be seized by the judicial police,148 / Global Information Society Watch


who must immediately and in no case later than24 hours report the matter to the judiciary. If themeasure is not validated by the judiciary withinanother 24 hours, it is considered revoked andhas no effect.(5) The law may, through a general provision,order the disclosure of financial sources ofpublications.(6) Publications, performances, and otherexhibits offensive to public morality are prohibited.Measures of prevention and punishmentagainst violations are provided by law.The “gag law”…Italy represents an interesting case study foronline freedom of expression. It is a European democracythat has lived with the anomaly of a mediatycoon in power for ten out of the last seventeenyears. In fact, Berlusconi’s massive conflict of interestimpacts on the online world and is arguablyat the heart of Italy’s lack of internet infrastructuredevelopment.The Italian establishment’s hostility towards theinternet is translated into two main behaviours byBerlusconi’s power/political/media chain: eithernot developing any proactive policy to foster theonline word and build internet infrastructure withpublic resources, or proactively trying to “regulate”the e‐content sector and to undermine the public’sperception of the internet.Mainstream media and political leaders portraythe internet most often as a threat to avoid than asan opportunity to grasp. Its negative aspects areconstantly stressed, while the positive impact onfreedom of speech is generally underestimated.This is particularly striking when dealing with libeland privacy concerns. The internet is often accusedof spreading anxiety together with defamatory content,which in turn need to be blocked in some wayin order to respect human dignity and the right toprivacy.However, Berlusconi and the Italian establishmenthave (so far) not succeeded in having anyreal influence on freedom of expression online,and the web is now enjoying a comparativelybroader sense of pluralism and freedom. Theindirect and “soft” strategies attempting to undermineonline freedom of expression have so farbeen bypassed or ignored by users and e‐contentproducers.However, in 2010 newer, more aggressivestrategies were put forward by the anti-internet establishment,and denounced by observers such asthe Organization for Security and Co-operation inEurope (OSCE) Representative on Freedom of theMedia and Reporters Without Borders.After many attempts to restrict freedom ofexpression on the internet agora – the crusadesagainst peer-to-peer file sharing (P2P), anonymity,the right to oblivion – the Italian governmentintroduced a new anti-internet law. Called the“gag law” and also known as the Alfano Bill, it hasresulted in widespread opposition in Italy. Article29 of the proposed law for the first time imposesresponsibilities on online sites – including amateurones – that are equivalent to restrictions onthe press. In the case of defamatory comments,the proposal requires a right to reply within 48hours, obliging the blogger to correct news contentas required by the Italian Press Law of 1948,which provides for harsh penalties when this isnot done.While the proposal lists internet sites as part ofthe media obliged to provide this guarantee, criticssay that such a provision seems inappropriate forbloggers, amongst others who have no professionalor legal support and risk a huge fine if they do notcomply within the strict time limit. If implemented,such a measure will push most bloggers towardsself-censorship.This is probably the real aim of such a proposal,especially if we consider that all the cases thathave been raised as justifications for such a measurehave concerned Berlusconi and his sexualaffairs, his party’s scandals, or cases of organisedcrime suspected of being connected to politicalparties.Unlike formal media companies, bloggersand most informal websites are not in fact able toassess the merits of a request for correcting information.Typically this involves a complex chain ofprofessionals backed by a legal department. Thelaw, in short, is intimidating: politicians do notcare about correcting the blog of a sixteen-year-oldwritten on her bed and read only by a few friends.They are interested in what you write about themon Wikipedia.it.For all these reasons bloggers took to thestreets on 1 July 2010 in Rome, teaming up with theItalian Journalists Union and many civil rights associationsin an attempt to block the law.The protests and widespread commentary onthe law would not have been possible without aninformation campaign using, ironically, the internet.Some 240,000 signatures protesting the proposedlaw were collected on the site nobavaglio.it andanother 90,000 via Facebook. The protests receivedfurther exposure through the mainstream mediathat could not ignore the news.ITALY / 149


This attack is not isolated, but partof a general trend…In the last five years, the internet in Italy has beensubject to different legislative measures (or attemptedmeasures) aimed to introduce new setsof regulations restricting users’ rights to onlineinformation.For instance, the “Pisanu Decree”, justified as atemporary anti-terrorism measure after the attacksin the London underground in 2005, introduced theobligation for connectivity providers to secure administrativeauthorisation and to force those whoaccess the internet at Wi-Fi hotspots and in internetcafés to register with an ID document. The measurehas subsequently been extended by decree, withthe end result of curtailing the development of freeWi-Fi in Italy, an anomaly considering that countrieswith a high risk of terrorist attacks such as Israeland the United States have no such laws, and Wi-Fihotspots are widespread.The “Gentiloni Decree”, adopted in 2006,identified two main ways to block access to childpornography through domain name system (DNS)and internet protocol (IP) blocking. However, thisdoes not pay due attention to the common practiceof IP address sharing, which results in a potentialrisk of blackout for websites which share the sameIP address with illicit ones.In the few months preceding the announcementof the proposed “gag law”, two other legislativeinitiatives raised concerns among online freedomobservers. Firstly, the draft of a decree implementingthe European AVMS Directive 2007/65/CE (theso-called “Romani Decree”) extended part of televisionbroadcasting regulation to audiovisual contenton the internet, imposing unusual rules such as theobligation to obtain administrative authorisationfor audiovisual streaming and a stricter copyrightregime. Audiovisual producers and platforms,together with internet service providers (ISPs), expressedconcerns about the repercussions of sucha measure, given the possibility of being held liablefor e‐content hosted.Secondly, a similar concern was expressedin the aftermath of a case known as “Google vs.Vivi Down”, 4 in which the Milan Court found threeGoogle executives criminally liable for data protectionviolations under the Italian Privacy Codebecause of a video temporarily hosted on GoogleVideo. This case followed a large number of proposalsfrom MPs that sought to introduce specificpunishments for crimes committed on the internet.4 www.reuters.com/article/2010/02/24/us-italy-google-convictionidUSTRE61N2G520100224These concerns were met with government assurancesthat it would intervene soon with specificproposals – assurance which amounted to littlewhen the sentence on Google’s executives wasoverturned by the courts and defined as a judiciarymistake.ConclusionsThe internet allows new voices to enter debates byreducing the influence of gatekeepers and by allowingcitizen journalism to flourish. This is why thosewho seek to control traditional media organisationsare “enemies of the net”. It is also why the Italian internetcommunity has opposed the new “gag law”.Now that the grip of Berlusconi’s majority partyover the electorate seems to be becoming weaker,it is very likely that those in power will have lessmargin to manoeuvre in attempts to intervene andrestrict the freedom of the internet.In particular, the campaign over a referendumvote on 12 June 2011 has proved to the public andto the parties that control over traditional media isnot enough to manipulate an entire country and tohide the truth.The impact of the internet revolution on politicsis beginning to be felt in Italy. The role of social networksand the use of mobile phones in support ofcampaigns are already well established. Oppositionparties are now trying to use the same social mediamodel to counter the control Berlusconi and hispolitical allies have over traditional media in Italy:twelve million internet connections against five ofthe country’s TV networks! It will be interestingto see over the next months how this conflict willevolve and who will win in the end.Action stepsDue to the current situation in the country, in orderto produce real effects, actions need to intervenesimultaneously on various fronts and tackle severalproblems at the same time.The low rate of internet penetration, togetherwith the legislative attempts to limit online freedomof expression, will continue to threaten online pluralism.Because of this, action steps in the field ofenabling online freedom of expression and onlineaccess to information should be focused on tacklingthe issues hindering internet development:Infrastructure• Policy makers should push to eliminate the digitaldivide by introducing different technologicalstandards in order to spread broadband andwireless coverage.150 / Global Information Society Watch


Legislation• Internet actors need a legal framework for theinternet that is not just an extension of traditionalpress regulations.• Freedom of expression should be considered afundamental value embodied in the open andtransparent management of the infrastructureof the internet.Education• ICT and media literacy initiatives should beencouraged, in order to improve e‐knowledgeamongst the Italian population.Concerning the specific problems posed by the “gaglaw”, possible actions could consist of:• Monitoring the progression of the proposal inparliament• Updating information on campaign sites• Spreading the news amongst global networks• Educating Italian citizens about the importanceof freedom of expression on the internet andnot only in the traditional media (this still representsthe main focus of public attention). nITALY / 151


jamaicaSaving a prized Jamaican wilderness:Combining internet protests with local activismTelecommunications Policy and ManagementProgramme, University of the West IndiesHopeton S. Dunnmyspot.mona.uwi.edu/msb/biblioIntroductionThe Cockpit Country region in northwestern Jamaicahas immense historical and environmental importance.Sparsely populated by rural farmers, it isregarded by geographers as:[T]he largest remaining intact primary wet limestoneforest in Jamaica, and is the home to whatis likely to be the only viable population of theglobally endangered Giant Swallowtail Butterfly.Many of Jamaica’s threatened birds arefound there, including the endangered JamaicanBlackbird, and it is the habitat for 95% of Jamaica’sendemic Black-billed Parrot population. 1Its vast and varied vegetative cover is considered tohave significant medicinal importance. Additionally,the Cockpit area replenishes the aquifers of majorrivers such as the Black River, Great River, MarthaBrae, Montego River and Hector’s River. These riverssupply water to at least three of Jamaica’s fourteenparishes.Against that background, this Jamaica countryreport outlines and explains the role of the internet,alongside other traditional media forms, in theadvocacy and resistance of Jamaican lobbyists opposedto the government’s granting of licences forbauxite prospecting in the Cockpit Country region.Policy and political contextThough still in need of updating, Jamaica’s policyframeworks governing the information andcommunications technology (ICT) sector and theenvironment are steadily reaching global standards.In 2010, the government launched its new ICTpolicy, which takes into account relatively new developmentsin ICTs and digital convergence. Thereis a Telecommunications Act (2000), an Access toInformation Act (2002), the Electronic TransactionsAct (2007), Cybercrimes Act (2010), and aCopyright Act (1993), all which occur in a context1 www.cockpitcountry.org/factsheet.htmlof ample freedom of expression guaranteed by theConstitution. The main legislation underpinningenvironmental regulation is the Natural ResourcesConservation Authority Act (1991), which forms thebasis for the establishment of the Natural ResourcesConservation Authority (NRCA). In terms of theactual enforcement of the NRCA Act, the NationalEnvironmental Planning Agency (NEPA) has thelead responsibility.Among the varying functions of the NRCA is toadvise the minister on “matters of general policyrelating to the management, development, conservationand care of the environment.” 2 Additionally,Section 5 of the NRCA Act grants the minister powerover the NRCA. This ostensibly compromises the autonomyand impartiality of the NRCA. If this is so,then in instances where the government authoriseseconomic or social activity that may be deemed tohave a deleterious impact on the environment, civilsociety and activists may have to intervene in thepublic interest, since the NRCA can be overruledby the minister. The central challenge, however,concerns balancing the need for environmentalprotection and the need for economic developmentand expansion, which is the main prerogative of thepolitical directorate.Internet activism and human rightsIn December 2006, the Jamaican public was informedthat the minister of agriculture had granteda prospecting licence to the mining company Alcoa.This news was not of itself unusual, excepting thatthe particular prospecting licence would permit Alcoato explore for bauxite in the Cockpit Country,that area of significant national and internationalenvironmental significance so treasured by bothhistorians and environmentalists.Professor Michael Day, an international experton geomorphology, is quoted as saying:The Cockpit Country is the international typeexampleof cockpit karst landscape, and isrecognised world-wide as a unique and invaluablenatural heritage. In addition to itsiconic landscape status, it has great biological2 Natural Resources Conservation Authority Act of 1991, p. 4.www.nepa.gov.jm/legal/nrca_act_Ipart1.htm152 / Global Information Society Watch


significance and plays a critical role in maintainingregional groundwater supplies and riverdischarges. It is probably the only near-pristinekarst system remaining in the Caribbean. Additionally,the Cockpit Country has historical andcultural value as a hearth of resistance to colonialoccupation. 3Beyond just the environmental ramifications, it wasfelt that the government’s unilateral action violatedthe procedural rights of Jamaicans to be consultedand to be fully engaged in the process of determiningwhether the Cockpit Country area shouldbe mined for bauxite. These rights are entrenchedand guaranteed in the Universal Declaration ofHuman Rights (UDHR) and the Aarhus Conventionon Access to Information, Public Participationin Decision-Making and Access to Justice inEnvironmental Matters. The UDHR, while not explicitlyoutlining specific environmental rights, hassuccessfully established reasonable indicators ofthe link between human and environmental rightswhen it states in Article 25: “Everyone has the rightto a standard of living adequate for the health andwell-being of himself and of his family, includingfood, clothing, housing and medical care and necessarysocial services.” The term “including” mustbe qualified, since it suggests that the reference isnot an exhaustive listing of all factors that couldreasonably be construed as being critical to theadequacy of an individuals’ health and well-being,and could be further expanded to include the naturalenvironment.Despite Jamaica not being a signatory or partyto the Aarhus Convention, the provisions of the conventionbear direct relevance to the issue at hand.In Article 7, which deals with “Public ParticipationConcerning Plans, Programmes and Policies Relatingto the Environment”, the convention states:Each Party shall make appropriate practicaland/or other provisions for the public to participateduring the presentation of plans andprogrammes relating to the environment, withina transparent and fair framework, having providedthe necessary information to the public.(…) To the extent appropriate, each Party shallendeavour to provide opportunities for publicparticipation in preparation of policies relatingto the environment. 43 Cited in a letter from Wendy Lee to NRCA Chairman James Rawle,2 November 2006. www.jamaicancaves.org/NJCA_Cockpit-Country_Concerns.pdf4 Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participationin Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters(1998) www.unece.org/env/ppClearly, given the environmental and historicalsignificance and worth of the Cockpit Country tothe material well-being of Jamaicans, they had aprocedural right to be consulted in the process ofevaluating Alcoa’s application for the prospectinglicence. Civil society and environmental activistswere therefore forthright in their demonstrationand refutation of the government’s position. And,through this protest and advocacy, they succeededin forcing the government to withdraw the prospectinglicence and establish a process for consultationand wider stakeholder participation. But how andin what ways were the internet and other mediacrucial to the success of the campaign to save theJamaican Cockpit wilderness?Democratising access and the amplificationof grassroots voicesSince its emergence less than two decades ago, theinternet has given rise to a form of bottom-up grassrootspolitics among environmental advocates andconcerned citizens globally, including in Jamaicaand in the diaspora. This grassroots politics is characterisedby direct participation, self-organising andcommunity action. For instance, a “Cockpit Country.Org”website was launched which containeda “Save the Cockpit Country” online petition. Thewebsite was used as a central repository of informationabout the Cockpit Country, and containeddocuments such as letters to various stakeholdersand press releases. 5 Other mainstream media wereused, such as newspaper articles and letters to theeditor, but the new global media networks extendedthe reach of such local print inputs and helped overcomethe circulation bottlenecks involved in onlyrelying on traditional media forms. The internet wasable to galvanise, in a more systematic and widespreadway, support from a disparate number ofindividuals and groups in support of preserving theCockpit Country. For instance, in the online petition,there were comments from locally based individualsbut also Jamaicans and others living outside ofthe country, in such faraway countries as the Netherlandsand Poland.Clearly, unlike other traditional media platforms,the internet is proving and has proven to beamong the most effective media to influence publicpolicy and to also assert people’s right to be consultedon issues with an impact on their materialwell-being, ecosystems and historical heritage.Additionally, the Cockpit Country petition andadvocacy campaign lend support to the notion of5 www.cockpitcountry.orgjamaica / 153


the emerging “global citizen”: an individual whobelieves that by virtue of our global ecologicalinterconnectedness, one has the “right” tocomment and influence policy and decisions concerningthe environment in foreign jurisdictionswhen they may have implications for the entireglobal ecological system. An example here in thecontext of the Cockpit Country story is the concernthat many natural scientists have about thecontinued existence of the Giant Swallowtailbutterfly, the largest in the western hemisphere.This butterfly can be found only in two parts of theworld. It is for this reason that many natural scientistsin the Western hemisphere are also opposedto any form of mining in the Cockpit region. Clearly,these concerns and the articulation of them transcendjust the concerns of native Jamaicans, to thatof the global citizen, and these global expressionsof concern were enabled by use of the internet.Presence and prominenceFaced with limited resources, the leading activistsagainst mining in the Cockpit Country resortedto low-cost internet campaigns that provided apresence among their respective publics: otherinternational environmental advocates, governments,civil society and ordinary Jamaicans, bothin the country and in the diaspora. In addition tothe online activism, the internet was also used topost material about the groups’ offline activities,such as community consultation sessions, andscanned hardcopy petitions by residents of thearea against the proposed mining activities. Uploadingthese offline activities online was found toembolden others elsewhere in Jamaica to join inthe process and to lobby the government againstgiving the go ahead for the start of mining in theCockpit Country region.Public education and environmentalismBy far one of the most critical ways in which theinternet has been used in the struggle for humanrights in the Cockpit Country mining episode is thelevel of public education about the need for environmentalconservation it enabled. The main advocacywebsite, for instance, contains copious amountsof information about environmental organisationsand their work as well as key information aboutthe Cockpit Country and the need for its preservation.A large number of Jamaicans and others whohave visited the website have been exposed to theinformation about the critical need to preserve thenatural environment, and in particular the JamaicanCockpit Country.ConclusionsThrough this instance and others, the internet isbeing confirmed as a key tool in mobilising publicsupport for environmental, political and ethicalcauses. Through what are often called the “socialnetworks”, activists have been able to go well beyondthe social to make them political and advocacychannels that belie their innocuous designation.It is these channels on the internet that in recenttimes facilitated a successful uprising in Tunisiaand Egypt, and which continue to be used whereavailable to mobilise not just local but global publicopinion and support for specific causes. They havehelped to bring about transparency in many localesby virtue of ordinary citizens digitally capturingevents and activities that are illegal or contrary tothe tenets of the UDHR.In more general terms, the main way in which wesee the internet helping in securing human rights isthrough the empowerment of citizens to lobby fortheir procedural rights to be engaged and includedin policy discussions about issues that bear directrelevance to their history and livelihoods. At thesame time this global information channel can beused by governments to better consult their constituentson varying policy decisions, once accessto the internet is available to wide segments of thepopulation.However, despite the potential of the internet inenabling both substantive and procedural rights ofcitizens in Jamaica, and elsewhere, certain criticalaccess limitations remain. Digital divides persistbetween those Jamaicans living within the countryand those residing in the global industrial countries.Similarly, there is a persistent divide betweenthose Jamaicans who live in urban centres and thosewho reside in the poor rural communities borderingthe Cockpit Country. A 2011 study of Jamaican ICTindicators suggested that while individual internetaccess in all locations was 42%, only 16% ofJamaican households currently have access to theinternet. The study also showed that there was an18% differential in internet access in favour of thoseindividuals who live in urban centres over rural Jamaicanresidents. 6The internet was therefore useful in the CockpitCountry struggle, but mainly through its use by elitelobbyists and advocates, linking this new mediumwith traditional channels and information and advocacymethods. Any repeat of the mining scenario6 Dunn, H., Williams, R., Thomas, M. and Brown, A. (2011) CaribbeanBroadband and ICT Indicators Survey, Telecommunications Policy andManagement Programme, University of the West Indies, Jamaica.154 / Global Information Society Watch


in the Cockpit Country should see ordinary citizensbeing able to use new media in their own online environmentalcampaign. But whether this happens ornot will depend on strategic measures implementedto improve rural ICT access in Jamaica. In the meantime,the victory over Alcoa and the government ofJamaica remains a notable one, facilitated throughuse of the internet by those citizens with access tothis technology.Action stepsThe advocacy campaign to save the Cockpit Countryin Jamaica has thrown up some key action stepsthat must be taken by ICT and environmental activistnetworks. Some of these include:• Intensifying the lobby against any future attemptsto re-impose a mining licence fortransnational companies that would decimateprized historical and environmental resources.• Intensifying public education around both medialiteracy and environmental advocacy amongall sectors of the society.• Internet-based environmental and ICT activistsmust continue to develop innovative ways toachieve similar levels of influence using bothtraditional and new media forms; this may meanengaging more intensively in community activitiesand struggles and showcasing these online.• Public, private and civic measures to increaseeffective access to the internet by residents ofrural Jamaica, including those in the CockpitCountry region.• The potential of ICTs, in particular the internet,should be further explored for other beneficialuses and applications besides campaigningthrough a partnership between environmentalactivists, government and the community.• Together with the community, alternativesources of economic survival and growth forresidents of the Cockpit Country region shouldbe explored. njamaica / 155


japanIn the aftermath of the tsunamiInstitute for InfoSocionomics, Tama Universityand information Support pro bono Platform (iSPP)Izumi Aizuwww.ni.tama.ac.jp and www.ispp.jpIntroductionThe story that comes to my mind is, naturally, thethings we are facing right now: the earthquake,tsunami and their consequences, including but notlimited to the nuclear power station failure. Thisreport tracks the role of the internet and other communicationsservices during the disaster.Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear powerstation damageOn 11 March 2011 at 14:46 p.m., an unprecedentedearthquake hit the eastern half of Japan. In lessthan ten minutes, the first waves of a tsunami arrivedon a scale that no one in Japan ever dreamedof. The magnitude of the earthquake was first saidto be 8.4 and then changed into 9.0 on the Richterscale, the largest in the recorded history of Japanand the fourth highest in the world.The maximum reach of the tsunami was morethan 40 metres above sea level – at least three tofour times higher than most experts had anticipated.Successive waves of seawater washed awayalmost everything within one to six kilometres fromthe coastline, affecting over 30 cities and towns insix prefectures, spanning more than 500 kilometresalong the coastline. As of 5 August, the death tollhad reached 16,050-plus, and the number of missingmore than 7,780. A total of more than 23,800people were killed in the end, the highest loss fromany disaster since World War II in Japan.The tsunami also hit the Fukushima Daiichi nuclearpower station and destroyed the regular andemergency cooling systems. On 12 and 13 March,explosions occurred at three of the four units dueto the high temperature of the reactor’s core, anda huge amount of nuclear contaminants werereleased into the air. More than 200,000 citizens insidea 30-kilometre radius from the nuclear stationevacuated with bare minimum belongings, hopingto return within a few days. They were still in sheltersand temporary houses or staying with friendsand relatives after four months.Preparation was less than neededJapan is well known as the land of natural disasters,not only for earthquakes and tsunamis, but also typhoons,landslides and volcanic eruptions. All thesehappen frequently in any part of the archipelago.The central and local governments have disastermanagement divisions, armed with heavy equipmentand conducting regular exercises. We thoughtwe were prepared. Unfortunately, that was not thecase this time.To be fair, almost no one expected that anearthquake of this scale and magnitude would occur.There were predictions and warnings of a largeearthquake within the next 30 years, but most expectedless than 8.0 on the Richter scale. The Kobeearthquake in 1995, which killed more than 6,400citizens, had a magnitude of 7.3. Simply put, thepreparation was far less than needed.The role of the internet and ICTsfor disaster reliefInformation plays a critical role in organising rescue,relief and reconstruction work for all socialdisasters. The so-called Great East Japan Earthquakewas no exception. Yet the very informationbadly needed by the citizens in devastated areaswas not available in the aftermath.It is perhaps one of the first massive disastersthat hit a well-developed country equipped withbroadband and 3G mobile networks and other informationand communications technology (ICT)infrastructure and services. Many citizens wereusing the internet and smartphones in addition tothe conventional mass media such as TV and radiobroadcasting to find information or call for rescue.However, most telephone lines where inaccessible.Given the massive call demand from peopleimmediately after the quake, telephone operatorsblocked 90% of calls in the most devastated areas– a standard practice to ensure that critical connections,such as those used by emergency services,could be made. However, this also meant that manycitizens could not talk to their families and friendsfor hours, and even days in some areas.In coastal areas, the tsunami waves destroyedmost physical infrastructure – roads and railways,telephone and power lines and radio towers. These156 / Global Information Society Watch


areas became “information black holes” and thatcontinued for a week to a month or even longer.The government rescue team had 1,500 radioand satellite mobile phones and other communicationdevices. But these did not meet the demand forcommunication, and many could not be delivered tolocal governments, whose city halls and buildingshad been severely damaged or lost. Many peopletried to use Twitter, email via mobile phones, socialnetworks such as Facebook or Mixi (a popularservice in Japan) to ask to be rescued, for food,medicines or blankets – and some of these messagesreached people outside the affected areas whomanaged to provide the relief needed in time.Yet the actual usage of internet and ICTs in thedevastated areas was very low. The reconstructionwork on communications infrastructure started immediatelyafter the disaster, but the sheer amountof damage placed a heavy burden on the infrastructureproviders. The pace of reconstruction was slowcompared to the massive demand. There had beenlittle policy coordination framework among ICTplayers for disaster management despite Japan’sfrequent exposure to natural disasters.Many actors started voluntary information-sharingservices through the internet. Using Google,Yahoo and Mixi, lists of shelters and missing people,services that matched demand, and data onroads that were passable were set up. Teams wentto the affected sites and started to help set up accessfacilities in shelters or local government officesand schools. Most of this work was ad hoc.A number of concerned ICT professionals starteda voluntary and pro bono information support platformcalled iSPP, drawing on industry, governmentand civil society. This multi-stakeholder platformcoordinated and complemented official relief work.We asked ourselves, “What can the internet andICTs do for the victims there?” It was late, but wethought it was never too late.In early April, a number of iSPP members organiseda site visit to three prefectures to find outwhat kind of information and services were really inneed. We spoke with local citizens, government officialsand ICT professionals who were all seriouslyaffected by the disaster.The stories we heard were horrible, to put itlightly, especially in coastal cities. When we arrivedthere, we lost our voices. We just could not imaginewhat to say. Then, one finds oneself challenged. Youmust say something. You must act.After the visits, we identified several areas toorganise projects around:• Provide ICT solutions to recovery works – computers,communication devices and people.• Build common application programming interfaces(APIs) for informational support.• Facilitate information matching for relief work(goods and people).• Coordinate NGOs.• Support local government – coordinate withprefectural and central governments to restoretheir ICT services for victims and citizens.• Conduct a survey of people’s informationalbehaviour (how they use and disseminateinformation).To be frank, it was not easy to organise all of thiswork with limited resources. However, iSPP managedto develop some of the projects.Homes that were washed away and ended up at the foot of ahill where we stayed at my friend’s house. No search andrescue operation had been performed there yet after threeweeks, on 3 April 2011.A large ship landed 700 metres away from the pier(picture taken 3 April 2011). You can seethe same ship from a Google Earth photo:38°54’56.99”N, 141°34’51.10”EJAPAN / 157


figure 1.Availability of devices and services before and after the earthquake (%) N = 2,815100.087.290.791.280.081.375.078.582.560.063.667.571.254.768.666.766.657.446.652.842.347.140.037.520.00.00Before27.710.63319.57.75.925.97.1Within a few hours One week later One month later Three months later9.89.9TVInternet via PCMobile phoneRadioFixed phone (incl. payphone)SmartphoneSource: Survey on Information Behaviour, iSPP, July 2011How did people use ICT services duringthe severe disaster?There were mixed reports about the actual use of anddemand from people for the internet, mobile phones,Twitter and other social network services. In metropolitanTokyo and the surroundings, where the earthquakealso hit, shutting down most trains in the afternoonand evening, many people used mobile phones andthe internet: email, Twitter, Ustream, YouTube, Googleand Facebook. These were, we thought, mostly usedin the Tokyo area, but not in the heavily damaged anddevastated areas of the Tohoku region.Later, in early April, when we organised a fieldvisit to the Tohoku region, including the cities ofIwaki, Sendai, Natori and Kesen’numa, to see whatexactly happened, many people we met told usstories that were different to those we had heardin Tokyo, confirming our expectations. These weresome of their comments:“None of the digital or analogue media workedat all.”“Mobile phones were just useless. I tried to callmy family members to find out if they were okay.But it didn’t connect. When we got through,busy signals were the answers.”“Eventually we lost battery power. Since themain power lines were totally down for days, wecould not recharge the power, and so within afew hours, we lost it.”“TVs? Come on! When there is no electricity,how can you get to see the TV programmes?”“Twitter? Facebook? You are kidding! We weresimply not in that mode. Just stunned by thehorrible situation; watching the tsunami waves,could not do anything.”To be fair, all the stories, both about what happenedin Tokyo and what happened in Tohoku, were largelytrue. But they were just many tips of a large iceberg,we felt.A survey on people’s information behaviourBecause of this, a survey on people’s informationalbehaviour was carried out by iSPP in July. It was acombination of a web-based online questionnaire,which received 2,815 responses, and personal interviewswith 186 interviewees, both conductedwith respondents in the devastated areas. Thequestions were as follows:• Which tools and media were useful? Which werenot?158 / Global Information Society Watch


figure 2.Information sources people recognised as useful (%) N = 281590.080.070.060.050.040.030.020.010.00.0084.261.051.341.740.538.826.116.915.58.06.482.4TV79.125.224.229.724.8 Mobile24.524.518.9 20.6Email/SMS18.214.719.5 16.3 13.713.912 15.7Word13.511.212.211.28.6 11.4 of mouth6.47.24.59.13.57.75.86.62.54,864.766.161.2Internet53.052.448.738.844.047.9Newspaper32.136.732.430.2 RadioBefore Within a few hours One week later One month later Three months laterSource: Survey on Information Behaviour, iSPP, July 2011• Which information resources did affected peoplerely on?• Were there any differences given the differentlocations of the disaster?• Was internet or Twitter really useful?• What kind of lessons can we draw from this?The respondents were residents of three prefecturesin the Tohoku region: Iwate, Miyagi andFukushima. All have coastal areas where thetsunami hit heavily and inland areas where theearthquake hit badly, and people in Iwate especiallywere also exposed to the danger of the nuclearcontamination. There were 5.7 million residents inthese three prefectures.To our knowledge, this was the first attempt ata sizable survey conducted inside the devastatedareas in terms of finding out people’s informationalbehaviour.At the time of writing, we are still processingthe data and writing the full report, but some of theearly findings from the online survey have been releasedalready. Here is the summary.Information devices availableto affected peopleFirst, we asked which devices were actually availableto affected people. According to the 2,815people who responded to the online survey, a sharpdrop is seen in the usage of most communicationdevices right after the quake: only 37.5% said theycould use mobile phones, from 63.6% usage beforethe earthquake/tsunami hit them. Similarly, 33.4%could watch TV compared to 87.2% before the disaster,and 19.5% could use the internet comparedto 81.3% before the event. The only exception wasradio – 67.5% of respondents used a radio withina few hours after the quake, an increase of 20 percentagepoints over regular use.Up to one week after the earthquake, radio(75.0%) still remained the most available medium,while TVs (71.2%), mobile phones (54.7%) and internet(52.8%) showed good recovery, even thoughthey did not reach the level of availability before thequake.It is said that up to 72 hours is the most criticalperiod to save the lives of people affected by disasters.Yet as the survey shows, most informationchannels were not functioning sufficiently duringthis time. It was extremely difficult to determineJAPAN / 159


the exact degree of damage in the coastal areas,which span 600 kilometres. The police, army andfire and rescue departments all dispatched the firstemergency teams, but we knew that the communicationlines became more dysfunctional as youapproached the affected areas.It was only in late April, after more than a month,when most major telecommunication operators announcedthat the repair work on their trunk linesand telephone services was almost done.The results of this survey corresponded withthat: the use of most communication tools and serviceswas recovered between one to three monthsafter the quake.Useful information sourcesNext, we asked which information sources peopleactually recognised as useful. By informationsources, we meant not only TV, radio, internet andtelephones, but also newspapers, email and SMS,word of mouth, community notice boards, amateurCB radios, etc. We meant all forms of informationsources.Here again we found that 67.4% of the peoplein the devastated areas responded that radio wasmost useful within a period of several hours afterthe quake. This was followed by TV (32.1%) forthose who still had a power supply, and then “onesegment”digital broadcast TV (a TV service that canbe received from a mobile phone or car navigationdevices using butteries). This is a reflection of thefact that electricity was not available to many. Wordof mouth was ranked seventh, after newspapers.Internet services, newspapers, email, mobilephones and fixed-line phones were all under thelevel of usefulness before the quake.After a week, TV returned to first place followedby radio, the internet and newspapers.Action stepsMany people we interviewed emphasised theimportance of power supply in an emergency situation.As we have entered the digital age, almostall devices and services are designed to use electricpower. But that could become the major sourceof vulnerability once a large-scale natural disasterhits a technologically advanced society. ICTs canonly work when a sufficient supply of electricity isguaranteed.Of course, super-large-scale natural disasterssuch as the 9.0 earthquake or a massive tsunamicould destroy almost all manmade infrastructureand devices/equipment once it hits land. However,there are always areas outside the devastated areaswhere people could start to do rescue and reliefwork. They can bring in resources needed. Thistime, what we found was a lack of preparedness fororganising the rescue work using ICTs.Though we have benefited much from the use ofthe latest technologies and services such as Twitter,Facebook, YouTube, to name a few, no well-structuredinformation-sharing mechanisms were ready.At best, it was ad hoc.Japan is well known for the heavy concentrationof all kinds of natural disasters. As I said, it waspredicted that at least a 7.5 to 8.0 level earthquakewould hit the Tohoku region with 99% probabilitywithin 30 years since around 2003. The westernand southwest parts of Japan also received a formalalert for an earthquake and tsunami. The Great KantoEarthquake that hit Tokyo and killed more than100,000 people, mostly by fire, occurred only 70years ago. Preparation is the responsibility of policymakers and practitioners using ICTs. And Japanis not the only country subject to such large-scaledisasters.In this regard, we foresee a need for building aninternational alliance of disaster relief teams. Wewere told that several international activities werealready in place and learned that ICT services foremergency rescue were organised in Thailand andIndonesia in 2004, in Haiti in 2009, and for the recentearthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand thisyear. We have not teamed up with these efforts inJapan, and because of this we had fallen behind,despite the experiences from the Kobe earthquakeand several other disasters in Japan.Things are never too late. We should start now. n160 / Global Information Society Watch


jordanNew media and social resistance:Moving towards a direct democracyAlarab AlyawmYahia Shukkeirwww.alarabalyawm.netIntroductionThe entire world saw the first draft of Egypt’s contemporaryhistory being written in Tahrir Square in Cairo.The model for citizen uprising has been appreciatedelsewhere, and deserves to be copied, especially inneighbouring Arab countries like Jordan. Hundreds of“cyber tribes” tried on 24 March 2011 to do just that.Jordanian students had started a protest campin response to a call on the social networking siteFacebook. They chanted pro-reform slogans andcalled for corrupt officials to be put on trial. Theywere camped out next to the Interior Circle, orGamal Abdel Nasser Square – named after the lateEgyptian president – in Amman. Many young peoplemet there for the first time. I saw one of them shakinghands with another introducing himself as the“Black Iris”, the Jordanian national flower.But at night, police attempted to disperse theyouths, cutting off electricity to the square. Several Jordanianprotesters were wounded after “loyalists” of thegovernment attacked their camp as police stood by.Revolution in Tunisia and Egypt raised hopesfor political change in the region, including Jordan;but here the government succeeded in avoiding theresults seen in Tunisia and Egypt by managing thetransition to democracy.Policy and political backgroundDuring the demonstrations in Jordan, activists usedsocial networks to organise protests and mobiliselarge numbers of people.Jordan has a history of persecuting activists andjournalists. Fewer press freedoms mean networkssuch as Twitter or Facebook are viewed not solelyas tools for social networking or self-promotion, butas a largely free arena in which to connect, debateand articulate different viewpoints.The internet gives citizens a huge opportunityto access the other side of stories, and to participatein a counter-public sphere. It also gives peoplethe opportunity to become “citizen journalists” and“newsmakers”.In response to the new media influence, Jordan’sgovernment tried to pass new laws to control thenew “technology for freedom”. In all press freedomindices, Jordan is not free, with one report statingthat “[t]he Jordanian media have traditionally beenunder tight state control.” 1On 23 June 2011 Jordan’s Information MinisterTaher Adwan resigned in protest over proposedlaws which he said restricted freedom of expressionand were a setback to the government’s reformplans. “We were working on democratic laws and Iwas surprised at the drafting of new laws that restrictfreedom of expression and lower the ceilingof press freedoms,” Odwan told Reuters. 2 Adwanis a well-known novelist and journalist, and afterhe resigned he was appointed the CEO of the dailynewspaper Alarab Alyawm.The role of new technologiesin the “Arab Spring”During the “Arab Spring” all governments in theregion were obliged to take note and implementchanges to manage the new situation. Some usedthe old-fashioned model to counter the mass demonstrations,as in Egypt, Syria and Yemen, but formany of these regimes the game was over.In Jordan the government took a smarter approachcompared to neighbouring countries. Thedecision makers absorbed the anger of the massesin different ways; for instance, by amending theconstitution, which was one of the main demandsof the demonstrators. The new amendments includedthe establishment of a constitutional court, andmore guarantees of civil rights and liberties.Young people have succeeded in shaping societalreforms and ensuring that their interests aretaken into consideration. The constitutional amendmentsincluded the reduction of the minimum ageof political candidates to 25 years old. The law ofpublic meetings was also changed to allow peopleto gather without permission.One of the main powers of the demonstratorswas the use of online social networks. In Jordan, asin many other countries, new media is multiplying,1 news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/country_profiles/828763.stm2 www.guardian.co.uk/world/middle-east-live/2011/jun/21/syrialibya-middle-east-unrest-livejordan / 161


as are the number of satellite TV stations, resultingin a flood of broadcast and web news. Everyone istrying to get a share of the cake.Blogging is flourishing in Jordan. Many bloggersserve different functions, such as advocatingon particular issues or documenting events. Bloggersare potential competitors to traditional media,especially in closed societies.Jordanian blogger Osama Romoh 3 won firstprize in a Bern blogging competition 15 April 2010.Mohammad Omar, one of the early bloggers in Jordan,commented: “It seems that the [role of the]majority of blogs and social networks has turnedcompletely since the ‘Arab Spring’. (…) Now it’s moreabout following up on public affairs and politics.” 4Bater Wardam, one of the early internet activists,said in an article entitled “Electronic Democracyin Jordan” 5 that “maybe the main feature of thewebsites is that they allow for reader comments,”adding that social media “facilitates the disseminationof opinion contrary to the government’s.”The new century started with the revolution innew world media. The invention of social networks,starting with Facebook, YouTube and then Twitter,took access to information to a different level. Accordingto the statistics, there are more than 15 millionusers of Facebook in the Middle East and North Africa(MENA) region and this is increasing rapidly. Today,27.2 % of Jordanians have access to the internet. 6 InAugust, the number of Facebook users had grown inthe previous five months by 113%, which pushed thenumber of Facebook users in the country to over onemillion – over half the number of internet users. 7A 2010 survey 8 by Harris Interactive showed that64% of internet users in Jordan are men and only33% are women. The number of mobile subscribers9 in the country stands at 112% of the country’spopulation of six million. In Jordan the mobileplays a more important role than the internet inmobilisation.These changes in technology have shocked thetraditional control exerted by regimes. The “bigbrother” system has failed to keep up with the rapidchanges.Social networks were intended to be a newform of entertainment and a way of connecting with3 osamaa.com4 ammannet.net/blogs/MohammadOmar5 www.factjo.com/pages/AticleViewPage.aspx?id=19486 www.internetworldstats.com/me/jo.htm7 www.jordanoholic.com/blog/tech/jordan-facebook-statisticsaug20108 www.nytimes.com/2011/05/19/world/middleeast/19iht-M19-JORDAN-REFORM.html?_r=19 www.jordanews.com/jordan/5103.htmlpeople. But they were still governed by the idea ofdesign that “people will use your design for somethingyou didn’t intend.”A few years of open use of the internet in Jordanresulted in a surge in public conversations anddebates. One of the main reasons was the immunitythat the internet provided. Government policingforces did not have the technological expertise tobe able to identify and thereby censor speakers.The new revolutions in the region have introducednew leaders such as Wael Ghonim in Egypt,who was working in Google’s United Arab Emiratesoffice in Internet City in Dubai. Ghonim became aninternational figure and energised pro-democracydemonstrations in Egypt. TIME magazine 10 addedhim to its “TIME 100” list of the most influentialpeople of 2011.The fight for freedom is sweeping across theface of Arab nations as survival in the 21st centurymakes the old ways impossible. Technology and socialnetworking are giving people an understandingthat the world can unite on a global front to supportthe mass mobilisation efforts of people. Everyoneshould rise up now in this time of great energy andbe free! 11The protests have used different forms of civilresistance in their sustained campaigns, includingstrikes and demonstrations. Protesters in Tunisiaand Egypt relied on social media such as Facebook,YouTube, Twitter and TwitPic in their early stages toaccelerate the pace of social protest. In Jordan thereis evidence that social media played a strong role insocial resistance.A member of Youth of March 24, 12 the group thatorganised the demonstration in the capital Ammanusing Facebook, told the author that the organisersalways take into consideration the worst that thepolice could do. Because of this they assign someparticipants the task of documenting everything inthe events, especially if police attack demonstrators.This technique was effective on 25 March 2011when the pro-government gangs attacked the antigovernmentgroup, while the police stood by. Youthof March 24 promptly uploaded their visuals on theinternet. The images of scores injured during theprotests is archived virtually for the future.There have also been cases of political opportunism.The banned Hizb ut-Tahrir 13 politicalparty took the opportunity of the online space to10 www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2066367_2066369,00.html11 www.crystalinks.com/2011freedomprotests.html12 www.facebook.com/shbab.march.24?sk=wall13 www.hizb-ut-tahrir.org162 / Global Information Society Watch


communicate with people and to promote its ideason advocating for the Islamic Khilafah state. In thetsunami of demonstrations felt in Jordan, Hizb ut-Tahrir dared to organise public demonstrations. Thegovernment was forced not to take action as thedemonstrations were peaceful.Legislative contextContrary to best practices, in August 2010 Jordanpassed the so-called “cyber crimes” law thataims to control internet content. The law primarilyregulates security and morality in an electroniccommunication context. Articles 8 through 10 ofthe legislation prohibit the use of the internet todownload “immoral” materials, including pornography,and using the internet for prostitution orterrorism.Articles 11 and 12 have been viewed as directlytargeting online news media, although the governmentinsists that was not the purpose of the law.Article 11 stipulates a penalty for accessing websitesand information systems without a licence– though it does not specify where such licenceswould be acquired or what such a licensing processwould entail. Article 12 provides for the search forand seizure of equipment if they are relevant to cybercrime investigations.Members of Jordan’s online community immediatelybecame concerned that they would have tocomply with the registration requirements and rulesof liability for journalists and news outlets.The regulatory framework for news media hasbeen at the centre of a very intense debate over thepast ten years, with various regulatory bodies beingformed and empowered, merged and restructured,dissolved and then resuscitated.Jordan is not the only country to regulate accessto the internet in this way. Saudi Arabia, Iranand China (which has the so-called “Great Firewall of China”) are amongst countries which haveintroduced laws to restrict access to the internet.“Iran is believed to be worried about the influenceof the internet and especially social networkingwebsites, as pro-democracy activists across theMiddle East use them to promote and publicisetheir movements,” the Guardian reported. 14 However,in passing such a law, Jordan is violating itsobligations under international human rights law.The right to freedom of expression is well establishedin international law. The two main UnitedNations human rights instruments – the UniversalDeclaration on Human Rights (UDHR) and the14 www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/13/iran-tightens-onlinecensorshipInternational Covenant on Civil and Political Rights(ICCPR) 15 – provide in Article 19 of both documents:“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion andexpression; this right includes freedom to holdopinions without interference and to seek, receiveand impart information and ideas through any mediaand regardless of frontiers.”Jordan is also party to the 2004 Arab Charteron Human Rights, which establishes in Article 32the same guarantees as the abovementioned Article19. International law also requires states totake positive measures to create a climate in whichhuman rights are genuinely protected and freedomof expression can thrive, including the disseminationof different points of view. The United StatesSupreme Court has stated that the internet is“the most participatory form of mass speech yetdeveloped.” 16Revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, and the“managed democracy” in Jordan, raised hopes forpolitical change north of Jordan. Syrians are organisingcampaigns in the capital Damascus andother cities, taking inspiration from Egypt, Tunisiaand Jordan in using social networking sitesto rally their followers and to push for politicalreforms.It seems that the new media and informationtechnology have played a vital role in changing thebalance of power between government and socialresistance movements in the Arab world. Socialnetworking tools such as Twitter, Facebook andYouTube as well as mobile phones have clearlychanged the way we communicate with each otheracross the world. At the same time, repressive regimesare increasingly censoring and monitoringinformation flows and passing new laws to controlthe content published by new media.But governments are losing the battle becausecyber-wise young people are more capable ofadopting and adapting to the potential of the newweapons compared to the old, ruling elites.ConclusionsThere is an increasing acknowledgment of the linkbetween democracy, human rights, fighting corruptionand development, and an awareness that pressfreedom is not a luxury, but rather a critical factor insocial and economic development.Five centuries ago the invention of printingplayed a vital role in curbing the church’s authority,15 The ICCPR was incorporated into Jordanian law and published inthe Official Gazette twice: in issue No. 4658 on 16 May 2004 and inissue No. 4675 on 16 September 2004 due to errors in wording.16 www.firstamendmentcenter.org/cyberspeechjordan / 163


and new technologies such as the internet and satelliteTV may have the same impact. These new“freedom technologies” will weaken any unfitideology.Authoritarian regimes believe they have theright to control the public mind and the contentof any media. But new media give a loudspeakerand a platform to the voiceless. They also give thepublic another account of a story rather than the officialgovernmental tale. In politics new media givepolitical movements, especially in the opposition,an extra-parliamentary opportunity to address thepeople in a direct democracy.The radical change in the Arab world is a triumphof new media.Action stepsIn emerging democracies, introducing good lawsis the first step to promote an independent, pluralisticand professional media as a fundamentalinfrastructure of good governance.It is time to take into consideration the followingsteps in Jordan:• New media are part of the information societyand offer a huge opportunity to consolidatedemocracy and to promote development.Governments must not always look at the“half-empty glass” and consider new media achallenge rather than an opportunity.• Amend existing legislation and develop newlaws to ensure that the right to know is secured.This includes passing laws to ensure the right ofaccess to online information.• Abolish the cyber crimes law and drop any ideasof adopting separate legislation on internetcontent.• Improve infrastructure to facilitate internetaccess.• Work to reduce the cost of subscribing to theinternet. n164 / Global Information Society Watch


kazakhstanMobilising online for free electionsAdil NurmakovIntroductionBooming economic development in the mid-2000sin Kazakhstan, fuelled by soaring hydrocarbonsprices and increased oil production, arrived aftera harsh decade of post-Soviet transition in thecountry. The rise of middle-class consumerism,slow yet steady growth of salaries for employeesof state-funded entities, and massive propagandaproclaiming political stability have neutralisedthe population’s civil consciousness and politicalparticipation. The state-secured informal controlover civil society through the network of GONGOs(government-organised non-governmental organisations)and use of state social order have left fewauthoritative NGOs in the field. The financial crisishit the country in 2007 and highlighted a gapbetween the rich and the poor, invigorating the society’sprotest potential, albeit it driven primarily bysocially vulnerable groups.Years of economic well-being in Kazakhstanhas led to rapid growth in internet penetration– which keeps on increasing. According to officialstatistics, the number of subscribers rose from203,000 in 2004 to 756,500 in 2009; 1 other governmentsources referred to 4.7 million usersonline in 2009. 2 Critics say the lack of clarity inmethodology used by various agencies to show offtheir successes leaves a narrow field for quality analysis, while excessively high numbers might bea result of counting the same users several times –connected household members, employees havingaccess at work, mobile internet subscribers, etc.The latest official figure was 4.3 million 3 (outof a total population estimated at 16.6 million).Most connections are run by the national internet1 Statistics Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan (2010) Number ofInternet Users www.stat.kz/digital/svyaz/Pages/default.aspx2 PRIME-TASS (2009) Количество интернет-пользователей вКазахстане превысило 4,7 млн чел. (The number of internetusers in Kazakhstan exceeded 4.7 million), 19 October. www.bit.prime-tass.ru/news/show.asp?id=69452&ct=news3 Novosti-Kazakhstan (2011) Число пользователей интернетав Казахстане достигло 4,3 млн чел. (The number of internetusers has reached 4.3 million), 10 January. www.newskaz.ru/society/20110110/1037337.htmlservice provider JSC Kazakhtelecom. A surveyconducted by JSC Kazkontent suggests that 37% ofits users use social networking sites, 27% preferforums and 11% host/read blogs. 4Political backgroundPolitics is heavily dominated by the presidency andthe hidden balancing of interests between variouselite groupings. Nursultan Nazarbayev, who is 71, hasruled the country since it gained independence in1991. Although internationally praised for maintaininginterethnic peace and tolerance, the authoritiesare regularly criticised for their human rights recordand electoral practices. Most elections were heldahead of schedule and earned negative assessmentsfrom international observer missions. The 2005 presidentialelection resulted in 91% of votes allegedlygoing to the incumbent, and the last parliamentaryelections in 2007 resulted in a one-party legislature.The media environment is characterised by stiffgovernment control over both print and broadcastmedia, either via direct ownership, indirect ownershipthrough national companies or the ruling party,or, more importantly, by restrictive legislation, selfcensorshipand financial incentives. Oppositionand critical voices are effectively excluded from themainstream media. In these conditions, the internetappears to offer an important space for freer speech.Yet, in 2009, the authorities adopted a set of amendmentsto various laws that regulate online activitiesby attaching the status of a mass media outlet to allwebsites, blogs, forums, etc., and by granting themthe prerogative to block web resources whose contentruns counter to the national legislation.The country’s Election Law (Chapter 5) does notforbid the use of the internet in campaigns.Presidential elections 2011The most recent presidential elections in Kazakhstanwere to take place in 2012. In late 2010, acampaign was launched, widely seen as orchestratedby the presidential administration, which soughtto extend the authority of the incumbent presidentuntil December 2020. The campaigners did not use4 Kazkontent (2011) Обзор казахстанского Интернет-рынка2007-2011 (Review of the Kazakhstani internet market 2007-2011),14 April. kzcontent.kz/rus/kaznet_3/12kazakhstan / 165


web tools at all, completely relying on administrativepressure to collect signatures and on statemedia propaganda to substantiate the process. Theapplication to conduct a referendum on the issuewas approved by the Central Election Commission(CEC), and the campaigners vowed to have morethan five million signatures collected in close to atwo-week period that included the Christmas andNew Year holidays.The internet community and blogospherecriticised the initiative in various posts and articles,some of them satirical. The opposition – thePeople’s Party “Alga” and the Social DemocraticParty “Azat”, both unregistered – denouncedthe referendum, publishing their statements onpolitically friendly news sites. Unidentified enthusiasts,allegedly associated with the opposition,launched a dedicated website called elbasy.net(“no to leader of the nation”) to collect signaturesin support of Nazarbayev’s resignation. Accordingto the website, only 604 signatures arrived inthe period between 3 March and 12 May of 2011. 5Another drive-for-signatures campaign was set upby Bakhytzhan Toregozhina, a leader of the humanrights and youth activism group Ar-Rukh-Hak, on apopular Russia-based online petition platform. 6 Thedrive, aimed against the collection of signatures insupport of the referendum, generated around 200signatures. Apparently the activists had chosen alosing approach for articulating citizen protest byusing the internet – against the backdrop of themassive campaign managed by the authorities. Asa result, the number of signatories was unconvincingfor the public and discrediting for the idea. Onemore comparatively prominent online action wasa remixed and redubbed version of the animatedmovie Shrek satirizing the referendum. It was uploadedto YouTube by an anonymous user, who hasnever uploaded anything else since. The clip wasviewed 1,847 times; only three comments were left.Support for a referendum was significant andparliament unanimously urged the president tointroduce the necessary amendments in the constitutionand set a date for the referendum. Althoughthere was no visible protest within the country,international partners were exceptionally criticalabout the plan by the 2010 Organization for Securityand Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) chair countryto cancel elections. This forced the government toabandon the idea. The Constitutional Council, towhich Nazarbayev had sent the referendum bill afterthe parliament overpowered his veto, found it5 www.elbasy.net6 www.onlinepetition.ru/ref2010/petition.htmlillegal. The president agreed and suggested thatelections be held. Constitutional amendments allowingthe incumbent to announce early electionsand a separate law to determine that early presidentialelections must be held within two monthsafter the announcement were hastily adopted injust two days. On 4 February, Nazarbayev scheduledthe elections for 3 April, leaving virtually no spacefor election campaigning. The opposition was clearlyunprepared. “Azat” conditioned its participationwith unrealistic demands for the liberalisation oflegislation, and stated it would tour the country andmonitor elections. No newsworthy actions followedthese promises.The registered candidates who were allowedto run for the presidency included NursultanNazarbayev, Zhambyl Akhmetbekov of the CommunistPeople’s Party, Ghani Kassymov of the PatriotsParty and green activist Mels Yeleussizov. The partiesof Akhmetbekov and Kassymov are trying toposition themselves as a sort of opposition, but infact both are phantom organisations, designed tobe satellites of the ruling party. There is no politicalparty behind Yeleussizov, who heads the EnvironmentalistUnion “Tabigat”, which does not usuallyget involved in politics. Kassymov and Yeleussizovhad already been presidential candidates in 1999and 2005 respectively. It was, as a result, widelybelieved that all candidates in the 2011 elections,except the incumbent president, were bookedto act as supporting characters for Nazarbayev’sre-election.The way candidates ran their campaigns supportedthis assumption. Nazarbayev publiclyrefused to get involved in campaigning. His competitorssufficed with several paid-for and free (i.e.guaranteed by the election law) publications and TVappearances and some outdoor ads. The campaignwas covered very quietly in the media, with no adsaired on TV. In this regard, what appeared to be asudden desire by the candidates to use social mediain their campaigns was not a deliberate intent toreach out for prospective supporters, but seen as acost-saving way to make it appear as if pre-electionagitation was taking place.Akhmetbekov publicly announced 7 that hewould aggressively use new media for self-promotion,but his representation in social networkswas the weakest one of all. None of the candidateslaunched a blog as a more solid and consistentcommunication medium, and none of them used7 Kazakhstan Today (2011) КНПК намерена использоватьдля агитации социальные сети (KNPK intends to use socialnetworks for agitation), 3 March. www.kt.kz/?lang=rus&uin=1133168488&chapter=1153533938166 / Global Information Society Watch


Twitter. Clearly there was not much they could havewritten about on these platforms. Facebook was themain campaigning channel used, which basicallycame down to a “friending” of random users. TheFacebook pages failed to provide information onpolitical agendas, to deliver emotional messages tothe readers, or even respond to the comments ontheir pages, which were abandoned immediatelyafter the elections.There were two noteworthy web-based movementsaddressing the issue of participation. Oneof them pushed for voters to take part in the electionsin an unconventional way. Alisher Yelikbayev,one of Kazakhstan’s top bloggers, backed the callfor participation, but since there was effectively nochoice to be made between the candidates – and nooption to vote “against all” candidates, as had beenpossible with previous ballot papers – he thoughtvoters should spoil the ballot. 8 His rationale for doingso was that, on the one hand, this would showpeople’s readiness to vote if there were normal elections,and, on the other hand, the action would useup ballot papers so that they could not be used forfraud and ballot-stuffing.On the opposite side was a call to boycott theelections, a campaign championed by “Alga”, bothonline and offline. As party chairman Vladimir Kozlovsaid, its idea was “to boycott the elections thathad been discredited.” 9 The movement’s onlinefront included the creation of dedicated groups andcommunities on social networking sites. Projectcoordinators set up pages on numerous socialnetworks, including Facebook and the RussianbasedMoiMir and Vkontakte. This multiple onlinepresence was probably a failure, as even the mostpopular communities had few members (around400 or less), with members signing on to more thanone group. The campaign was accompanied by videos,which included computer graphics, satiricallyremixed popular movies and other content advocatingfor the boycott. “Alga’s” channel on YouTubehas 138 subscribers, several of them accounts setup by the party’s regional branches. The most popularvideo of the whole campaign, redubbed Lord ofthe Rings footage, gathered 4,300 views. The onlyevidence of the campaign’s impact was the CECchair’s remark that it was “destructive, provocativeand insulting for voters.” 10 This response, however,8 Interview with Alisher Yelikbayev (Almaty), 10 May 2011.9 Interview with Vladimir Kozlov (Almaty), 10 May 2011.10 Novosti-Kazakhstan (2011) ЦИК призывает граждан неподдаваться призывам бойкотировать выборы. ИА Новости-Казахстан (CEC urges citizens not to follow the calls for boycott ofelections), 16 March. www.newskaz.ru/politics/20110316/1242461.htmlwas more likely caused by comments in the party’straditional media, and the distribution of printedleaflets.Preliminary results of the elections were announcedon the day after voting, and the day afterthat the final results were made public. Accordingto the official data, voter turnout was 89.98%. Theincumbent president reportedly received 95.55% ofthe votes. 11ConclusionsDisillusionment with politics, coupled with therelative well-being of the population, makes it achallenging task for any activist to campaign, especiallyon the web, given that access is currently notaffordable to many in Kazakhstan. In this regard, it ishard to measure the effectiveness of the campaignsheld during the 2011 presidential elections. The factthat elections were neither free nor fair depreciatesofficial data on turnout and voter numbers, furthercomplicating attempts to trace campaign results.The boycott campaign was even harder to measure,as many people – despite the official reports of highvoter turnout – opted to stay at home not becausethey supported the cause, but due to a general lackof interest and absence of political struggle.Politicians who took up social networking onthe eve of the elections were following a fashion,but showed little expertise and commitment in runningtheir accounts on the social networking sites.Moreover, the candidates were not actually opposingeach other or the incumbent, so it is quitenatural that people showed little or no interest intheir campaigns.Few members of the established opposition –although typically excluded in traditional mediacoverage – showed a desire to seek new media toolsto get their messages across. Awkward attempts toemploy online media tools ended up with the uncreativeduplication of traditional communicationmethods that appeared not to appeal to an onlineaudience. There is no understanding that socialmedia bear the potential to recruit new, youngermembers and sympathisers.At the same time, it needs to be said that newmedia are starting to penetrate political life and,notably, government officials are taking the leadin setting up online channels in an attempt to getin touch with the population. For instance, somemembers of parliament and public figures haveactively taken to social networks, but tend to11 Tengri News (2011) Нурсултан Назарбаев набрал 95,55%голосов на выборах президента Казахстана (NursultanNazarbayev won 95.55% of the votes in the Kazakhstanpresidential elections), 5 April. tengrinews.kz/vibori/183437kazakhstan / 167


avoid expression of a principled stand or coverageof sensitive issues. At the same time, not allof them respond to comments or get involved indiscussions, making many of them again a case ofone-way communication. Still, the prime minister’sTwitter account is often cited in the news.There are areas in which social media have repeatedlymade a difference. Most importantly, thishas been the case when it comes to awarenesscampaigns (which have included the disseminationof crucial information not covered or insufficientlycovered by the mainstream media), and charitycampaigns. Experts believe that the efficacy of thelatter is explained by the people’s readiness forimmediate action towards the good, involving no interactionwith the authorities. The dead-end natureof political participation in the country rarely producescivil action, except in the expression of virtualsympathy online.Action steps• Advocate for the general affordability of accessto the internet.• Promote the computer literacy of the population.• Encourage the use of social networking websitesthat have activism-ready functionality,rather than entertainment-centred architecture.• Train political activists, civil society and opinionleaders on the basics of online communication,starting with Skype (since it offers easy collaborativecommunication). They also need tobe trained on the effective use of social mediawith the focus on building trust and sustainablecommunication channels, dedicated andresponsible communication practices, and incorporatingmultimedia into their work.• Training should be supplemented by reviews ofthe best innovative communications practicesand seminars that encourage creativity in orderto avoid the mechanical copying of learnedmethods.• Awareness, advocacy or promotional campaignsstaged online should be tools for action (preferablyoffline action).• New media should be used to raise internationalawareness and to keep foreign stakeholders(NGOs, media, politicians, etc.) informed.• Recruiting virtual followers on social networkingsites should not be random, but based on ananalysis of users. Interventions should be targetedat specific groups and communities, etc.• Learn by doing; evaluate activities; distinguishbetween the reasons for error and success. n168 / Global Information Society Watch


Once Geminated (a seeing)Kamaria Muntu * for Prossy Kakooza and those who struggle to love **Say this like a prayerthe same waters that part usfill us with floodlightand the womb-flow ages in the eddiesand the contentious headlines bleedfetid rains of sectarian violencewrapped around soiled diapersand other articles of the seeming non-deadWe live and breathe as oneand because of our Blacknessour sexwe are hatedI once stood on a city roof watching birds and childrenabove and below take the day with their lightnessthinking myself to be one less hatred away from human than youeven as the ugly-eyed clawed the tedium of my undernourished bonesI was a lover of menWhile you batik touched, plum crushedwere stripped naked and paraded through public streetscorpsed in the defecation of rapists and torturers/Transatlantic traffickers forging war’s endless obscenities –a long neck gourd breaksand scarred centuries roll out in shrieksthe usual stars become jagged and dimas they push your voice into underground crotchesand my own songs darken an omen of moonsIllegal for a woman to love a woman in your landCriminal for a woman to be poor and unloved in mineWe will no longer field the night resembling shadowed deathFear embattles, engages armsVeils are blown apart by strong winds of our own makingWe fall and stand together against their noise* Kamaria Muntu is a poet, writer and activist currently living in London.** Prossy Kakooza fled her homeland upon threat of death after being found in bed with hersame-sex lover, which is illegal in Uganda. The 26-year-old woman and her partner were takennaked to the police station where Prossy was raped and tortured.


kenyaPerceptions and misconceptions: The role of newand traditional media in Kenya’s post-election violence (2007)Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet)Alice MunyuaIntroductionKenya has a mosaic of 42 ethnic communities, andalthough it is frequently cited as a model for politicalstability and economic development in Africa,the extent of violence experienced after the electionsin 2007 was unprecedented. The violence leftabout 1,300 Kenyans dead and about 500,000 peopledisplaced.Elections in Kenya have been associated withviolence for almost two decades; but in 2007 thetensions escalated as mobile phones and the internetbecame additional means used for politicaldiscussions that took on an ethnic dimension anda political bias on a scale that had not been experiencedbefore. This high level of violence set backKenya’s democratic progress gained after multipartypolitics was introduced in 1991.The post-electoral ethnic violence ended afterlocal and international pressure and extensive internationalmediation efforts under the leadershipof former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Thegovernment and the opposition agreed to form agrand coalition, which has entered its last lap beforethe general elections due next year.A 2008 UN High Commissioner for Human Rightsreport notes that that while “irregularities in the electionprocess were the primary trigger of the violence,a number of underlying causes – including discrimination,poverty, inequalities and disenfranchisement– fuelled the crisis.” The violence in 2007 must alsobe looked at in the context of the contested natureof land resettlement schemes following Kenya’s independence,and the associated political violence. 1Although the role of media and social media isbelieved to have been significant enough to impacton the levels of violence (both positively and negatively),it was not the defining factor. Hate speechin Kenya was not the responsibility of media alone– on previous occasions it has emanated directly1 Anderson, D. and Lochery, E. (2008) Violence and Exodus inKenya’s Rift Valley, 2008: Predictable or Preventable?, Journal ofEast African Studies, 2 (2).from politicians and government offices. Governmentpropaganda and ineffective dialogue can havea key – even if unintentional – role in encouragingpolarisation, exacerbating tensions and escalatingviolence during an election period.In addition, the use of media to spread violenceand encourage a particular ideology is not new toKenya. Politics has been used to polarise for decades,and various actors in the political arena havestoked this division, using the media to their politicaladvantage.The media in general, and local language radiostations in particular, undoubtedly played a role inhyping the election in a manner that contributed tothe tensions that became the background to the violence.Local stations often broadcasted uncensoredstatements made by politicians on their campaigntrails that amounted to hate speech and helped tofuel tensions. Mobile phone short message service(SMS) and the internet (email, mailing lists, websitesand blogs) were also used to propagate hate speechand incite acts of violence in both the pre-electionand post-election period. There has been too littlediscussion on what constitutes hate speech when itcomes to online, SMS and broadcast content, or howgovernments should address the challenge when itoccurs. The best antidote to prevent the spread andinfluence of genocidal information is to have morepositive and analytical information.Policy and political backgroundThe three sources of press and freedom of informationlaws in Kenya include the new Constitution ofKenya, the Statutory Law, and the Common Law.The Constitution of Kenya, the supreme law, guaranteesthe right to freedom of expression. Article 35also guarantees access to reliable information:(1) Every citizen has the right of access to (a) informationheld by the State; and (b) informationheld by another person and required for the exerciseor protection of any right or fundamentalfreedom. (2) Every person has the right to thecorrection or deletion of untrue or misleadinginformation that affects the person. (3) TheState shall publish and publicize any importantinformation affecting the nation.170 / Global Information Society Watch


While the Constitution ensures that the freedomand independence of electronic, print and all othertypes of media are guaranteed, it does not extendto address issues of ethnic incitement, hate speech,incitement to violence, propaganda for war, incitementto cause harm or content that is discriminatoryor amounts to the vilification of others. However,Chapter Four of the Bill of Rights in the Constitutionstates that the right to freedom of expression doesnot give anyone a right to use hate speech.The Constitution provides for the right to accessinformation held by the state and informationheld by another person required for the exerciseor protection of any right or fundamental freedom.The values and principles of the right to state-heldinformation include transparency and the provisionto the public of timely, accurate information. Thegovernment has made huge steps in implementingthis aspect of the Constitution, having launchedan open data portal in July 2011, making Kenya thefirst African country to release government data tothe public through a single online platform. Theportal aggregates government-held information onbudget spending, allocation of funds for constituencydevelopment, parliamentary proceedings andother detailed statistics on service delivery anddemographics.The Constitution also guarantees that the stateshall not exercise control over or interfere with anyperson engaged in broadcasting, the production orcirculation of any publication or the disseminationof information by any medium, or penalise any personfor any opinion or view or the content of anybroadcast, publication or information disseminated.Kenya has a plural, sophisticated and robustmass media and communications sector that servesthe various competing political, social, economic,cultural and technological needs of diverse interestgroups. The key independent print media arethe Nation Media Group, the Standard Group, PeopleLimited, and the Times Media Group. Nairobihosts approximately 120 foreign correspondentsrepresenting 100 media organisations. There is nogovernment-owned or controlled newspaper.In addition, Kenya has several hundred FM radiostations, broadcasting in Swahili or in local languages.Radio has a wide reach in Kenya, especiallyin rural areas. Some major international broadcasters,including the British Broadcasting Corporation(BBC), Voice of America (VOA) and Radio France International(RFI), rebroadcast their programming inKenya.Meanwhile, a Communications Commissionof Kenya (CCK) report stating quarterly statisticsfor October to December 2010 notes that mobilesubscriptions have grown from 22.3 million to 24.96million. Overall teledensity is 64.2%. The number ofSMS text messages recorded was 665 million. Thetotal number of internet subscriptions increasedfrom 3.2 million to 4.7 million by end of December2010. The number of internet users is estimated at10.2 million. 2Identifying the challenge: The responsibilityof new and traditional mediaInformation and communications technologies(ICTs) did not necessarily alter the rumours andstereotypes about different ethnic groups that havebeen propagated for decades in Kenya. Rumoursand stereotypes became central in much of the violence,and technology only speeded up the waysin which these messages penetrated communitiesand mobilised individuals and groups for actionagainst each other. 3Kenya’s post-election violence demonstratedthe effects that new technology can have. Despite ahistory of violence associated with elections, thesewere the first elections where mobile phones andaccess to vernacular radio stations were widelyavailable. Mobile phones and media (including socialmedia) can play the roles of mirroring eventsand providing an important opportunity for reflectionand insight into political dynamics. They cananalyse the level of dialogue, the polarisation, andprogress towards reconciliation, including possibleavenues for the peaceful resolution of disputes.However, media institutions regarded as beinglocked into the power structure acted largely inline with the dominant political ideology of institutions.The media merely amplified institutionalviewpoints, drawing on tribalised political viewsand assumptions as the natural perspective, ratherthan providing alternatives views. The mediawere polarised and co-opted during election andpost-election violence, and ownership tended toinfluence the kind of partisanship a media housewould adopt.The government imposed a ban on live broadcastingon 30 December 2008 largely because ofthe perception that the media had failed to responsiblymanage broadcasting during the initial hoursof post-election violence. This was presented as atemporary measure to stop vernacular FM stationshijacked by politicians from continuing to incite hatred.The government had also considered closingdown the SMS messaging system that was beingused to send hate messages. In an interview with2 www.cck.go.ke3 Anderson and Lochery (2008) op. cit.kenya / 171


the Daily Nation, Safaricom CEO Michael Josephis said to have persuaded the government to insteadallow providers to send messages of calmand peace provided by the service providers themselves,which they did. However, while Kenya didnot have a law to prosecute hate speech, the namesof individuals believed to have used SMS text messagesto promote mob violence were forwarded tothe government and Parliament began to considerreviewing legislation to create a new law againsthate speech.Following the initial shock of the eruption ofviolence, in line with mobile service providers suchas Safaricom and Celtel, the media and social networksbegan to put out calls for Kenyans to shunviolence and keep the peace. Journalists wereurged to adhere to ethical standards. Many stationsbegan to consistently devote their airtime topromoting non-violence and peace building andsupported the mediation process by calling for anurgent settlement of the crisis. The mainstreammedia provided live coverage of the signing of thepower-sharing pact and have continued to monitorand highlight the negotiation of long-term challenges,such as creating national dialogue and fosteringreconciliation.Many Kenyans had also begun to use digitaltools to voice their concerns and challenge themainstream media and government reports, raisinglocal citizen journalism to another level. Kenyanblogs and virtual networks like KICTANet, KE-users,Skunkworks and iHaveNoTribe, among others, becamea critical part of the information flow in thecountry, reacting to the initial ban on live broadcasts.Ushahidi combined mobile phones and theinternet to crowdsource information on humanrights violations during the post-election violence.Broadcasters began to read entries from influentialbloggers over the airwaves, helping them reach95% of Kenyans.In these cases, the media, internet and mobilephones acted as enablers providing a positive rolein mediating divergent perspectives, and creatinga national vision of reconciliation; a space fordialogue that helped to reduce polarisation andsupported transitional justice processes.One of the impacts of the post-election conflictwas the move by government to create policy legislationand regulation to address the lack of perceivedself-regulation. Several policies were developed orreviewed including the Information and CommunicationMaster Plan (2008), the National ICT Policy(2008) and Freedom of Information Policy (2008),and the Kenya Information and CommunicationsAct, which established the Broadcasting ContentAdvisory Council launched in 2010. The council ismeant to advise the CCK board in the regulation ofbroadcast content; but it does not provide directionon online and user-generated content.The Kenyan media are passionate proponentsof self-regulation, but no practical implementationmechanisms have been agreed upon. While themedia council launched a code of conduct in 2005for print, television and radio journalists, it lacksenforcement mechanisms. In addition, there is achallenge on developing mechanisms to legislateand regulate hate speech and good taste as a standardupon which a broadcaster can be held criminallyliable. The media have argued that Kenya’s culturallydiverse society does not have a universal valueof what is good or hateful, and therefore the discretionof the editor, guided by professional ethics andthe existing laws on public nuisance and morality,are adequate.Bitange Ndemo, the permanent secretary inthe Ministry of Information and Communications,argues that freedom to communicate should bemoderated by the values that we hold as a society,because managing hate speech through legislationin the absence of a value system would not solvethe problems. He further states that it is not in thegovernment interest to, for example, consider censuringinternet-related content. He notes that Kenyaneeds to deal with more deeply seated problems,which include inequalities and poverty, among others.However, he also notes that there is a need toimplement broadcast regulations and the broadcastcode of conduct before the next elections in 2012 toavoid more violence. 4In relation to the internet, as mentioned, Kenyahas not yet addressed issues of online and usergeneratedhate speech, defamation and incitementamong others in the legal and regulatory frameworkscurrently in operation. The new Constitutionprovides for data protection and privacy, but it doesnot specify the kind of data that should be protected.With the current technological advancements,geo-location software enables the identification ofinternet service providers (ISPs) used by an individualand could undermine fundamental rights offreedom of expression and the protection of carriersagainst content carried over their networks bythird parties. Solutions must therefore be found toprotect not only ISPs, but also other intermediaries,like mobile service providers and online serviceproviders such as search engines, among others. Acode of conduct for intermediaries may be requiredas well as a regulatory regime that places certain4 KICTANet mailing list discussions: www.kictanet.or.ke172 / Global Information Society Watch


levels of responsibilities on them, but it needs toprotect them as a platform for expression in orderto promote an open and free online culture.ConclusionsKenya’s election violence revealed the role of media,social media and mobile telephones in fostering thespread of violence; but equally it showed their rolein spreading peace-related messages and offering aspace for reconciliation.While forms of social media can be importantcatalysts for political and social mobilisation, andcan be used to exacerbate violence or promotepeace, they are not the defining factor. However, theunpredictable nature of new technology affects howmedia policy and regulation in situations of civil unrestare approached. There are therefore very realconcerns about elections making violent conflictmore likely and how media liberalisation impactson this.Post-election media policies need to be addressedprior to elections, which would includepolicies on introducing restrictions on live broadcastsof violence, to shutting down radio stations,the internet or SMS services in the case of evidenceof incitement to violence.Events around the world indicate that issuesof post-election conflict and violence and theirrelationship to media, social networks and SMSare relevant. Avoiding both pre- and post-electionviolence also depends on the legitimacy of institutionalprocesses and trust among citizens. If thisis not present, close attention needs to be givento media structures, political allegiances and theirperformance during election periods.The International Criminal Court has summonedsix Kenyans, one of them the chief executive ofKASS Radio, to The Hague on charges of crimesagainst humanity for their alleged roles in the postelectionviolence. This sets a precedent for theprosecution of others in the future for their role asmedia in violence.Action steps• Multi-stakeholder discussions are necessary,including at the Internet Governance Forum,about the appropriate response to media of alltypes being used to incite hatred and violence.• Empirical research to inform policy discussionsin the area of intermediary liability needs tobe conducted in order to contribute to the developmentof an appropriate regulatory modelto govern intermediaries as common carriernetworks.• Advocacy for policies that protect intermediariesas a platform for freedom of expression isnecessary.• There is a need to advocate for national valuesthat respect human life and diversity. nkenya / 173


KOREA, REPUBLIC OFSouth Korea’s 2008 candlelight demonstrationsand digital rightsKorean Progressive Network JinbonetYeo-Kyung Changwww.jinbo.netIntroductionSouth Korea’s internet penetration reached 77.8%in 2010, with 81.6% of households connected. Consideringthe country’s media environment, wherethe general public’s access to mainstream media issomewhat limited, the internet is a critical mediumfor expression for ordinary citizens.However, administrative authorities havescreened internet content since 1995 and controlledit by threatening criminal punishment, includingfor cyber defamation. Furthermore, the residentregistration number system adopted by the militarydictators of the country’s past is still used, includingfor online verification, allowing easier trackingof users by investigative authorities.Despite this, citizens have used the internet creatively,in particular to proactively organise socialresistance and mass demonstrations, as evidencedby the mass candlelight demonstrations that eruptedin South Korea during 2008, following plans toimport beef from the United States (US) potentiallycontaminated with mad cow disease.Policy and political backgroundAfter liberation from Japanese occupation in 1945,the Republic of Korea –more commonly known asSouth Korea – went through a number of militarydictatorships, which eventually ended with the1987 pro-democracy uprising. Since then, democraticinstitutions, including direct presidentialelection, have been reinstated or newly introduced,the Constitutional Court system being onesuch case.The 1997 presidential election saw the firstpeaceful change of government when the oppositionleader, Kim Dae-Jung, became president.The government changed again in the most recentpresidential election in 2007, when Lee Myung-Bak,candidate from the conservative Grand NationalParty (GNP), was elected. During the April 2008general elections, the GNP won a majority of seatsin the National Assembly.Beginning 2 May 2008, mass demonstrationstook place daily after the government announcedplans to import the US beef into the country. Mostparticipants joined the rallies in the evenings afterwork or school, peacefully holding candles – whichis why the rallies were given the name “candlelightdemonstrations”. From the seventeenth candlelightdemonstration on 24 May, participants startedstreet marches, at which point the police startedsuppressing and arresting participants.Many people were angered by the police violence,broadcasted live on the internet, and thedemonstrations grew larger. According to prosecutorand police statistics, a total of 932,000 peopleparticipated in the demonstrations, at least 3,609people were arrested for demonstrating illegally atnight, and at least 1,270 were prosecuted. The demonstrationspeaked in June, but dwindled after 15August due to mass arrests and prosecutions.The use of the internetBefore candlelight demonstrations were successfullyorganised, people had discussed the risks ofUS beef online on popular discussion sites such asAgora and in online communities such as AntiMB.A teenager using the pseudonym “Andante” triggereda debate after demanding the impeachmentof President Lee Myung-Bak. Diverse analytical articles,images parodying the authorities, as well asuser-created content were posted. There was evena suggestion to include the words “[Myung-BakOut]” before all posts to freeboards, while othersprinted banners supporting the demonstrationsthat could be hung in homes. Voluntary donationsand campaigns on various issues to do with thebeef imports were organised, and some online communitiesraised funds to place advertisements innewspapers.It was then that “offline” gatherings with candlesevery evening in Cheonggye Plaza were proposed,and those who agreed to this idea started to voluntarilyparticipate in the rallies. In the beginning,the most energetic participants were young peoplewho had spent the entire day at school and usedthe internet and mobile short messaging service(SMS) to organise their friends and debate variousissues. Later, all sorts of online communities174 / Global Information Society Watch


of interest – including fashion, cooking, baseball,photography, cars, and mothers with kids groups –started discussing ways to participate in the rallies.Participation was voluntary and fun; debates tookplace collectively and activities were collaborative.Once the candlelight demonstrations started,citizens came up with novel action ideas everyday. Participants exchanged information on how tocounter the media and the police, and even what todo when arrested. “Netizens” showed support byusing the same candlelight image on their instantmessengers and blogs, while politicians criticisingthe demonstrations were mocked by being donatedKRW 18 (around USD 0.02) each (in Korean, thepronunciation of “eighteen” is also a swearword.)Actions such as simultaneously searching for thephrase “Democracy is Dead” on search engineswere organised – increasing the hit count for thesearch and prominence of the search terms on thesearch engines – and flash games criticising thepresident were created. Websites of the ruling partyand the president were either hacked or serversbrought down by mass simultaneous access.The fact that a boycott campaign was initiatedagainst those who advertised in news outlets criticisedfor distorted reporting of the demonstrationsis notable. Names of daily newspaper advertisers,their phone numbers, website addresses andother information were collected and posted onthe internet every day by volunteers, encouragingothers to participate in the boycott and share theirexperiences. Large numbers participated, to theextent that companies’ websites and phone lineswere paralysed. When prosecutors started theirinvestigations, as a protest, many participated in acollective action targeting the website of the Prosecutors’Office by “turning themselves in” onlinefor participating in the boycott. On the other hand,support and subscription campaigns were organisedfor media outlets that were favourable to thedemonstrations. These actions arose from the netizens’critical perspective of the mainstream media.Until the police suppression started, the candlelightdemonstrations were mainly peaceful.Citizens voluntarily and publicly voiced their opinionon issues, and created stickers and leaflets toshare their ideas. Citizens, online and offline, communicatedwith one another using digital media,including mobile phones. During all-night demonstrations,citizens used internet freeboards to raiseimpromptu funds to buy and distribute equipmentneeded on the streets, including raincoats to protectprotestors from police water cannons, anddrinks and snacks. Many used personal camerasand camcorders to share images from the streets,using their laptops to access internet live streamingsites like Afreeca. Videos of the protests wereuploaded as they were unfolding. Progressive politicalparties and the internet media, such as ColorTV, also started live internet reporting. When liveinternet streams by digital media became morepervasive, officers ordered riot police to avoid beingfilmed when beating demonstrators, which wasthen publicised and harshly criticised.As police suppression became more violent,citizens became more proactive, debating countermeasuresonline. People publicised police violencethrough various internet sites and media, and continuedto stream the movements of demonstratorslive through the internet. When barricades made ofcontainers were set up by the authorities aroundthe presidential office, there were heated debateson whether or not to cross the line. The momentumand public sentiment on the issue were such that insome communities, citizens continued to hold candlelightdemonstrations regularly for over a year.Violation of freedom of expressionThe government response towards the candlelightdemonstrations was a violation of freedom of expression.Just after the demonstrations started, theProsecutors’ Office held an emergency meeting andannounced that it would investigate what it called“false internet rumours about mad cow disease”.It also criminally prosecuted teenagers proposinga student strike against US beef, on groundsof “false communication”. Internet users who hadraised suspicions about possible rape, manslaughteror desertion by riot police were also subject tocriminal prosecution for “false communication”. Itwas only in December 2010 that the ConstitutionalCourt ruled that this clause in the legislation wasunconstitutional.Internet café managers who had participatedin the rallies were also indicted or had their homesand offices searched. In particular, those who ranmedia boycott campaigns were subject to strongermeasures, including travel bans and arrest andsearch warrants. They were prosecuted and foundguilty in the first and second instances, and are nowundergoing trial at the Supreme Court.Investigative authorities clearly abused criminalprocedures by, for example, issuing a subpoena toan internet user who had joked during the demonstrationsabout hiring an assassin to kill thepresident, or arresting those who had disclosed thenames of shop owners who had filed suits againstdemonstrators for compensation. In July 2008,netizens who had been sued for defamation by apolice chief whose name was disclosed during anRepublic of Korea / 175


online debate, and was criticised as a result, wereacquitted by the Supreme Court. In May 2009, thepolice filed criminal and civil suits for defamationagainst a former riot policeman. He had posted onlinesongs ridiculing the riot police’s suppression ofprotests and then tried to make an album of thosesongs. The police also filed a provisional depositionagainst the album. However, he was acquitted byboth the prosecutors and the court.The Korea Communications Standards Commission(KCSC), formed by the incumbent administrationto screen the internet, was strongly criticised forbiased deliberation at the time of the candlelightdemonstrations. In May 2008, the KCSC issued a“recommendation to restrain exaggeration and torefine speech” because some internet users haddegraded the president by calling him “2MB” 1 ora “wicked person”. In July 2008, the commissiondeemed internet posts boycotting newspaper advertisersto be illegal and decided to delete those posts.During the same month, the police requested KCSCto delete 199 posts criticising the president and government,some of which were deleted. In June 2009,the KCSC decided to delete a photo where a policeofficer beating citizens at the May Day and first candlelightdemonstration anniversary rallies had beennamed, on grounds of violation of privacy rights.After the candlelight demonstrations, the government,convinced that the internet was the sourceof mobilisation, has tried to further regulate the internet.South Korea has been implementing a RealName Identification System (RNIS) since 2004 – auser can only post online after real-name verificationusing the user’s resident registration number.The RNIS was supposed to be implemented duringspecific periods such as an election or on 30 majorwebsites only. However, in 2009, the government revisedthe enforcement ordinance to increase targetwebsites to more than 150. An additional revision tofurther expand the number of sites is at the momentpending in the National Assembly. In April 2009,Google Korea announced it would refuse the RNISand disabled upload services to users with “Korea”as the country setting. The RNIS has led manySouth Korean internet users to seek “cyber asylum”by moving their email or blog accounts from RNISrequiredKorean sites to non-Korean services likeGoogle. As of 2009, domain owners who do not usetheir real name will not be able to access domainname services.1 “2MB” has two meanings. One is the initials of President LeeMyung-Bak (“2” and “Lee” are pronounced the same in Korean, so2MB sounds like Lee MB). The other insinuates that President LeeMyung-Bak is not very intelligent, because the memory capacity ofhis brain is only 2 megabytes (2 MB).The government has also proposed a revisionto fine an internet service provider (ISP) that doesnot respond to a request to implement temporarymeasures of deleting or blocking access to informationfor up to 30 days, and to mandate ISPsto illegally screen internet content. The aim is tostrengthen control over the internet through ISPs.Ruling party lawmakers have also tabled a bill tointroduce stronger punishment for cyber slandercompared to punishment under the penal code, aswell as to allow investigation to be initiated withoutthe filing of a complaint. There are concernsthat these internet regulations violate freedom ofspeech and expression as well as lead to a chillingeffect whereby internet users will start censoringthemselves.Invasion of privacyThe compulsory RNIS obligates ISPs to retain personalinformation of users and cooperate withinvestigations by police or prosecutors. However,investigative authorities have abused this systemsince they can obtain the name, resident registrationnumber and home address of users withouta court order. The investigation of users’ personalinformation held by ISPs increased from 71,024cases in 2006 to 93,691 in 2007, and more rapidly in2008 – the time of candlelight demonstrations – to119,280. Tracking internet protocol (IP) addressesrequires a court order. However, provisions are notstrictly applied. The recorded number of cases ofthe submission of IP addresses to investigative authoritieswas 41,681 in 2006, 41,584 in 2007, andthen rapidly increased to 46,667 in 2008.Furthermore, the police have started runningan exclusive internet search system through whichthey can strengthen monitoring of particular sitesor particular search words. The government and theruling party have also tabled a bill to obligate ISPsto install screening devices and to retain log data,thereby strengthening control over communication.ConclusionThe internet played a vital role in the candlelightdemonstrations, and helped to mobilise ordinarycitizens. Through the internet and mobile communicationsnetwork, citizens debated various socialissues, voiced their opinion and organised actions.The internet offers a way for individuals lacking socialand economic resources to make themselvesheard and empowered.However, in the wake of the 2008 protests,investigative authorities have formally targeted citizensfor their use of the internet, while censorship,tracking and surveillance of internet users has also176 / Global Information Society Watch


increased. These trends are a great concern sincethey can constrain citizens’ social participation andsocial movements through the net.Action stepsInformation and communications technologies(ICTs) have become more prevalent and widely usedby citizens to organise social resistance and massrallies.In order to promote participation, citizens mustbe guaranteed online space to collectively debateand converge. However, many governments haverecently adopted technologies and policies to regulateand keep surveillance over the internet – andthey are benchmarking one another. Therefore, thefollowing countermeasures are recommended notonly for South Korea, but equally for elsewherearound the world:• Formal accusations against internet postsshould be minimised. Criminal punishment forfalse communication or defamation should beabolished. Criticism against heads of state, policeor other public figures must be free.• Administrative deliberation or censorship, inwhich the government arbitrarily screens internetcontent, should be abolished. ISPs shouldnot be subject to arbitrary content regulation.• Provisions allowing only users with verified realnames to write posts should be abolished, sincethe freedom of anonymous speech as well asprivacy of internet users are infringed.• Strict court procedures must be applied wheninvestigative authorities are being providedwith information that can be used to track andmaintain surveillance over internet users. Userinformation should not be retained at the convenienceof investigative authorities. nRepublic of Korea / 177


KYRGYZSTANThe role of social networks in Kyrgyzstan duringethnic tensions in 2010Civil Initiative on Internet Policy (CIIP)Tattu Mambetallievawww.gipi.kgKyrgyzstan has experienced two revolutions overthe past ten years – the second as recent as Aprillast year. In both cases the situation was aggravatedby a clampdown on the media, as well ason the internet. In March 2005, two of the leadinginternet service providers (ISPs) were targeted byunknown attackers. A series of emails from hackerssent to the providers insisted that they block twoKyrgyzstani news websites, www.msn.kg and www.respublica.kg. Similar letters were sent to a popularregional news site, www.centralasia.ru, demandingthat it stop publishing information about the situationin Kyrgyzstan. Mass denial-of-service (DOS)attacks were also launched on sites in Kyrgyzstan.In order to stop the attacks, the network operatorhad to turn the internet off completely for a day. Itwas then that Kyrgyzstan was not accessible to theoutside world, at least via the internet. The March2005 coup soon followed.A similar situation was repeated in 2010, beforethe April coup. Access to the sites www.fergana.ru, www.centrasia.ru and Web Radio Liberty and tothe popular web forum www.dieselforum.kg wasblocked. Media outlets placing information in theinternet were persecuted – a sign of the times thatled to the sudden change of government.The internet in times of crisisAlthough internet penetration is still comparativelylow, the growth of internet users in Kyrgyzstan hasnot slowed. Various surveys offer different figuresfor the number of users in the country, but all ofthem concur that the main category of users isyoung people and that 70% of users are concentratedin central cities. 1The set up of the internet infrastructure inKyrgyzstan means that access to international websitesis expensive, while accessing websites andhosting with a .kg domain inside the country is completelyfree once you have an account with an ISP.This divide has existed from the beginning of the1 www.gipi.kg/archives/1073development of the internet in the country, and civilsociety activists periodically campaign for the costof international bandwidth to be reduced. However,it is exactly this kind of division of traffic that hasmade local social networks the most popular socialnetworking sites when compared to Facebook andTwitter, amongst others.Even the Russian-language social networks thatenjoyed enormous popularity in the early days oftheir birth, such as Odnoklassniki and Vkontakte,rapidly lost their ratings after the appearance of localKyrgyz social networks. Twitter does not havea large following in Kyrgyzstan. At least initially,Twitter could not be used via mobile phones in thecountry, but now there are about 100 registered users.About 25,000 Facebook users were registered,most of them Kyrgyz citizens living outside thecountry. In contrast, the most popular local socialnetwork sites account for more than 250,000 users.Because the main users of the internet in Kyrgyzstanare the youth, the most popular local socialnetworking sites focus on entertainment. Therefore,civic participation in social networks duringthe events of the April 2010 coup was not apparent.However, the situation changed in early June ofthat year when the ethnic conflict in the south occurred.During this period, many people died andit was impossible to achieve political stability fora long time. It was then that different kinds of onlinecontent, including videos, photos and articles– much of it amounting to rumour mongering – appearedon various social networking sites, fanningthe flames of ethnic conflict. In response, volunteersbegan countering the misinformation using Skype.Using Skype for civic networkingWhen you look at the different stories dealing withthe role of social networks during the revolutions,coups and natural disasters in different countries,the creativity of internet users is striking.This impact is not always positive. The 2010events in our country, worsened by social issuesthat led to ethnic tensions, were fuelled by thespreading of false rumours. These included photographsof dead people that could not be verified,and claims that the drinking water in Bishkek,the capital of Kyrgyzstan, was poisoned, and thatthere had been various militia attacks on civilians.178 / Global Information Society Watch


For a long time the interim government could notestablish control in the south of the country, makingit impossible for it to respond to and refute therumours.In order to avoid panic among the population,an urgent mobilisation of volunteers, journalistsand grassroots communicators took place in an effortto inform the public about the real situation.It all started spontaneously and randomly. Onenon-governmental organisation began a Skypeconversation with organisations, friends and employeeswho were in different parts of the capital.Initially the group acted as a kind of grassrootscivic network, with each of the participants recordingwhat he or she saw on the ground, documentinghow looters were breaking into shops and settingfire to buildings. This information was promptly reportedto a group of people who had volunteered toprotect shops and homes from looters. Informationwas also passed on to the media.Then the forum started to grow, turning its attentionto the other regions of the country, wherelooting was also happening – and it was able to actas a way of verifying information that was beingspread online.When someone heard rumours, he or she simplylogged on to Skype and asked whether anyonecould confirm them. This method proved to be incrediblyeffective, because participants representeda reliable and geographically distributed network.People could add colleagues to a chat group if theyhappened to be at a location where rumours werespreading, and this would help confirm the realfacts on the ground.The group became very popular. On one nightabout 2,000 people had joined the chat. Elevenforum chats on Skype were connected by severalkey users able to organise the conversations andexchange information. The group reached its peakand was no longer able to add new members. Skypechat was full of people sending and receiving informationin real time. The forum then moved to a webplatform (www.inkg.info) to continue circulatingreal-time information across the country. The sitewas called “Checked: not rumours”.Skype chat also played a crucial role in the distributionof humanitarian aid to the south, where asignificant number of people were affected by firesand widespread clashes between ethnic groups.Rumours persisted, and included tales about poisonedhumanitarian supplies and attacks along thestate border. One Skype-chat member called theminister of defence to clarify information about theattacks on the state border – only to find that theywere not true.During the complications that resulted from interethnicfriction in the south of the country, socialnetworks included a number of videos and picturesof dead people. However, it was not possible to establishthe nationalities or ethnicity of the corpsesin the photographs and videos – even while ethnicgroups were using the images as calls to action.Because of these images circulated on the internet,ethnic tensions were exacerbated. In response, theSkype group voted online for the removal of the picturesand videos from websites, which resulted inmany of them being deleted by administrators ofthe social networks.Working with foreign social networks was morecomplicated, and involved a greater number of internetusers outside Kyrgyzstan. Foreign internetusers could not fully understand the complexity ofthe situation. This is why few based outside of thecountry limited the mass distribution of the differentvideos, articles and photographs.As the ethnic conflict became more politicised,this was reflected on the internet. The war of informationbetween the different parties began, withboth sides spreading rumours and misinformation.In the south access to the internet was not widespread,which meant that the information neededto be checked via SMS text messages, and with thehelp of friends. Because of this it took some time torefute the rumours in these areas.It is still difficult to establish the facts surroundingthe role of the internet and the spreading ofrumours during the conflict. Different commissionshave tried to determine who the perpetrators wereand to reconstruct the events. As a result, the commissions,both local and international, have cometo different conclusions, which at times contradicteach other. But what is clear is that the Skype networkdemonstrated the effectiveness of using theinternet to verify rumours and speculation in timesof crises.ConclusionDuring the 2010 coup and subsequent ethnic conflictin Kyrgyzstan, social networks played an effectiverole in stabilising the situation in the country. Onthe other hand, they complicated the process of reconciliationbetween ethnic groups. The main reasonfor this is the uneven development of infrastructure.Where the internet was available, there was a highlikelihood of obtaining reliable information; butthere was an information vacuum where internet accesswas limited. Television and newspapers failedto keep people properly informed. Because of this,access to the internet should be a primary goal ofany state. Despite various attempts to control it, itKyrgyzstan / 179


should remain decentralised and self-regulating, asituation which is more likely to guarantee the securityof citizens.However, there remain challenges. With thefreedom to access and disseminate informationcomes responsibility. Given the recent past, the newgovernment has refused to control the mass media,and the internet has offered a broad guarantee offreedom to disseminate information. Twenty newprint publications were launched, and more thanseven new media outlets started on the internetwithin five months of the new government comingto power.But, apparently, the media were not ready forthis kind of freedom, which has led to the widespreadproliferation of false information. Especiallyin remote regions of the country, news websites beganto disseminate information without checking itsvalidity. 2Actions stepsThe possibility of broadband access has been discussedfor the past five years in Kyrgyzstan, but noreal steps have been taken. The process is delayedby the fact that operators do not want to developtheir networks in the outlying regions, since it doesnot pay. The government is always trying to increasethe costs of operating in the country, introducingnew fees and obligations for those that want to offerservices in remote regions.Broadband access should be a priority for ourcountry because it provides a solution to social problemsand solves the problem of information securityin general. To achieve this it is necessary to reformthe regulatory process in telecommunicationsservices, as well as to ensure the independenceof the regulator. This would offer stability for businesses,and boost infrastructural development.Social networks should strengthen themselvesthrough self-regulation. This would mean encouragingusers to be responsible for the accuracy of theinformation disseminated on the internet.It is also necessary to popularise the idea of theinternet as a way to access information, includingusing mobile phones. Training is necessary. Afterthe events of April and June 2010, civil society activistsurgently pushed for measures that would allowTwitter to be used in Kyrgyzstan. Once this wasachieved, they travelled to all of the regions in thecountry to conduct training in the use of Twitter. In2011 the number of Twitter users in the country hadincreased ten-fold. n2 kg.akipress.org/news:405371 and bektour.com/2011/08/10/kakmozhno-zastavit-akipress-i-kabar-rasskazat-o-sobytii-kotorogonikogda-ne-bylo180 / Global Information Society Watch


© 2010 Zapiro (All rights reserved). Printed with permission from www.zapiro.com. For more Zapiro cartoons visit www.zapiro.com


LEBANONBroadband as a human right in LebanonMireille RaadIntroductionAs one of the few countries in the Middle East enjoyinga relative degree of freedom of speech on the internet, 1but suffering from an unbearably slow connection, theinstallation of a high-capacity submarine internet cablecalled IMEWE 2 could not have come soon enough.According to Net Index, 3 Lebanon ranks as thefifth slowest country in the world with an averagespeed of 0.59 Mbps per user. The entire internationalbandwidth for the country is only 2.5 Gbps.This low bandwidth creates overbooking and doesnot allow a committed download rate. End-users areinstead provided with a “best effort” connection,limited by a fair usage policy of 3Gb/month.Prices are unreasonably high (see Table 1). Internetservice providers (ISPs) pay a 1,200% 4 taxrate. There is no law to organise infrastructure orduct sharing, so each ISP has the additional costof providing connectivity to end-users. The directimpact is that users in remote areas do not haveinternet access or have to rely on the monopoly oflocal, illegal “internet cable” providers.In other words, a typical Lebanese user payshigh fees for very slow internet and does not actuallyget what he/she paid for due to the high numberof users sharing the low international bandwidth.Cadmus and Berytar/Aletar are the two fibreopticcables tasked with keeping Lebanon connectedto the world, and both are more than sixteen yearsold. There is no internal fibre backbone connectingall the different cities. An internet exchange point 5was recently launched in Beirut, but it cannot servicemore than 20% of the market. 61 opennet.net/research/profiles/lebanon2 IMEWE is an internet submarine cable with 3.84 Tbps capacity;Lebanon benefits from 120 Gbps. imewecable.com3 www.netindex.com4 ISPs buy the international internet feed (E1s) from the Ministry ofTelecommunications at USD 2,700 + USD 800 local loop – while thecost for the ministry is USD 300.5 An internet exchange point is a place where ISPs interconnect tocreate a local loop.6 Ogero, a state-owned operator, controls an 80% market share andrefuses to connect to the Beirut Internet Exchange (BIX), so the BIXcannot service more than 20% of the users.Services like 3G are still not available to internetusers in Lebanon, even though they were commerciallyintroduced ten years ago. There is a kind ofmonopoly established by Ogero, a state-owned operator,which controls an 80% market share, whilethe other twenty ISPs combined have only 20%.Economic and legislative contextWith the internet situation being so desperate, onemight believe that all troubles would have disappearedafter a 3.84 Tbps cable reached Lebaneseshores. Lebanon can use 120 Gbps of this cable, asizeable increase from the current 2.5 Gbps. However,due to political bickering, legislative fights, theabsence of a cabinet for long durations, and corruption,this cable remains inactive.The Lebanese economy is suffering from acrushing USD 60-billion debt. The debt/GDP ratiois approximately 150.7%. 7 According to a study bythe World Bank, internet penetration can affect theLebanese economy in the following ways:• 1.38% GDP increase per year for every 10% increasein internet penetration• 0.25% increase in jobs for every 1 percentagepoint increase in penetration• USD 90 million per year for every 10% increase. 8In July 2002, the Lebanese Telecommunication Act 9was set to create three main players in the telecomsector:• The Ministry of Telecommunications• Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA)• Liban TelecomThe ministry sets the visions and strategic goals forthe telecom sector, the TRA conducts research anddevelops roadmaps to achieve those goals, and LibanTelecom was to be the implementer. However,Liban Telecom was not formed for political reasons.Instead the ministry outsourced all the operationsto Ogero (Organisme de Gestion et d’Exploitationde l’ex Radio Orient), which was established in7 CIA World Factbook: goo.gl/25k3v8 www.infodev.org/en/Article.454.html9 The Lebanese Telecommunication Act is available at: www.ontornet.org/sources/TelecommunicationsLaw.pdf182 / Global Information Society Watch


Table 1.Price and service comparisonService packages available in LebanonTypical triple-play service packagesResidentialDownload 0.25 Mbps Download 8 MbpsUpload 0.064 Mbps Upload 4 MbpsPoor quality cable TV100+ video channels including High DefinitionVery low usage of fixed voice services (mobile prices not Unlimited VoIPincluded and VoIP is banned)USD 55/monthUSD 40/monthBusinessDownload 2 Mbps Download 10 MbpsUpload 2 Mbps Upload 10 MbpsNo video conferencing, VoIP is bannedHigh-speed internet access via video conference, 100+ videochannels including High Definition, unlimited VoIP callsUSD 4,000/monthUSD 500/month1972. Ogero is 100% owned by the state and actsunder the supervision of the minister. 10Instead of collaboration, the three institutionshave launched many lawsuits against each other,and there have been numerous media scandals.Campaigning for broadband13 December 2010 was the expected launch date forthe 13,000-kilometre IMEWE cable that runs betweenIndia and France, providing Lebanon with 120 Gbpsinternational bandwidth. Eager Lebanese internet userswere excitedly waiting – but instead, the IMEWEconsortium, which controls the supply, cancelled thelaunch because of a dispute between the TelecomsMinistry headed by Charbel Nahas and Ogero.Minister Nahas had sent a letter to the IMEWEconsortium to inform them of the ministry’s decisionto deprive Ogero of its responsibilities on theIMEWE project, including the launching event. Nahascomplained that Ogero informed him about theevent only ten days in advance, and that Ogero didnot provide regular reports about project progress. 11On the other hand, Ogero criticised the ministerof telecommunications for wanting to deprive thebody of its privileges. It said that the IMEWE consortiumgave Ogero the authorisation to prepare forthe launch event because of the company’s professionalismand high credibility. Ogero also expressedits surprise at the ministry’s decision to isolate it insteadof rewarding it for its efforts and claimed it hadbeen sending reports about the project progress.10 www.ogero.gov.lb/Published/EN/profile.html11 www.yalibnan.com/2010/12/14/imewe-cable-launches-itscommercial-operationAfter signing a Broadband Manifesto 12 launchedby the IT sector in previous years with no responsefrom Lebanese authorities, frustrated Lebaneseusers launched three online campaigns to raiseawareness and share updates about the IMEWE cable,and to exert pressure for its activation.The three campaigns are:• Flip the Switch• Lebanese Want Fast Internet• OntorNet (Arabic dialect for “wait for theinternet”)All three campaigns used social media as theirlaunching platform to reach their target audience.Local and international media, both traditional andnew media, took an interest in the story and the effortsof the activists.The social media strategy used included:• Flip the Switch: Facebook group 13 and blog 14• Lebanese Want Fast Internet: Facebook page 15and Facebook ads• OntorNet: viral video campaign, 16 Facebookpage, 17 Twitter community, 18 offline workshops,blog 19 with online presentation and infographics.12 www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=1601160712713 www.facebook.com/groups/fliptheswitch14 fliptheswitch.info15 www.facebook.com/fastlebanon16 www.youtube.com/user/ontornet17 www.facebook.com/OntorNet18 twitter.com/#!/search?q=%23ontornet19 blog.ontornet.orgLEBANON / 183


Due to the mounting pressure, and in responseto the buzz created on the subject, two differenttelecom ministers and TRA personnel met withrepresentatives from the Flip the Switch and OntorNetcampaigns. OntorNet relied on the onlinecommunity to crowdsource questions, live-tweetedduring the meetings to get live feedback. Itreleased audio recordings of the meetings to allowfor more transparency and to hold the peoplein charge responsible for their statements andpromises.Following these campaigns, there was moreawareness of the reasons behind the strugglingtelecom sector and the communication betweenthe telecom minister and online community becamedirect. As a result, ministerial plans for broadbandin Lebanon became more transparent. Those plansinclude the launch of 3G services by the end of September2011 and activation of 10 Gbps out of the 120Gbps of the IMEWE cable.Social and political impactThe above story suggests the importance of goodand affordable internet connectivity, and its hugesocial and financial impact. With the Arab Springand revolutions being shared online, activists inLebanon are feeling helpless not being able tobroadcast their opinions and take on events thatdirectly affect their own country.For example, during the events that started on25 January in Egypt, with Egyptians suffering fromcensorship and internet blackouts, activists inLebanon who happened to have friends and contactsliving a few hours away in Cairo could not useTor 20 to relay traffic for fellow activists or uploadvideos and footage they got hold of. Pushing contentonline was hard, and generating/translatingArabic content that proved to be crucial was nearimpossible.This showed the Lebanese that they are actuallysuffering from a subtle and worse form ofcensorship.Business impactThe business impact is reflected in lost opportunitiesfor innovation, creativity, entrepreneurshipideas and services. E‐commerce and online businesseshave problems running their operationsfrom Lebanon, and have great difficulty getting theirusers to rely on the web as their favourite way ofshopping and doing things.The country is also suffering a brain drain ofhighly educated people seeking to further their20 www.torproject.orgcareers, often in neighbouring countries like theUnited Arab Emirates (UAE), which happens to havea 98% internet penetration rate.Since information and communications technologies(ICTs) are involved in every single businessprocess, a bad ICT sector weakens the whole economy,and causes a great loss in business productivitydue to the wasting of thousands of hours or the inabilityto make use of some services.Lebanon is also missing out on chances forsocial inclusion for poor and remote areas. Betteraccess to information, e‐education and e‐governmentare greatly needed.ConclusionICTs are powerful tools to disseminate informationand trigger change. Access to the internet is becominga human right, not merely an “accident”.However, censorship can happen in many forms:censoring content, implementing black lists, badinternet connectivity, and, eventually, pulling theinternet “kill switch”.One of the most dangerous aspects of controlover the internet is the government monopoly overthe expensive fibre-optic networks, licences andinfrastructure. In Lebanon the government was latein investing in infrastructure, which set the countryten years back in time in terms of tech.Another conclusion we can draw is that, sadly,Moore’s Law does not apply to legal innovation:the disparities between technology and legislationare likely to become even greater, and we need anincreasingly tech-savvy judiciary to be able to havea deep understanding of the issues at stake, andwrite laws that are not too rigid or too easy to break.Action stepsThe following action steps are suggested for ICT activistsin Lebanon. Hopefully they will also prove inhandy for others:• Lobby for a local Internet Governance ForumIt is crucial for members of civil society, companiesand lawmakers to get together at leastonce a year and discuss ICT challenges andissues. Even if no formal decisions come outof such meetings, it is important to have thediscussion and bring people together from differentbackgrounds and sectors.• Create groups and collectives around digitalchallenges Technical innovation moves toofast and tends to be complex by default. It isimportant to have hacker spaces, groups andcollectives of geeks and non-tech people alike toraise awareness, share knowledge and pioneer184 / Global Information Society Watch


the use of technology in innovative projects withsocial impact. These groups help in the capacitybuilding of new skills that are not being taughtin formal education yet, and become crucial tohaving a leading country in the ICT field.• Get decision makers involved with social mediaLuring decision makers into actual involvementwith social media can be a powerful tool for communicationand creating pressure. However, dueto the usually huge amount of followers, manyassign a PR company to handle their accounts.• Beware of “slacktivism” It is easy to get fooledinto a false “feel good” sense about social issueswithout actually achieving measurableand concrete effects. Raising awareness shouldnot turn into ranting out on social media orspamming.• Learn to go anonymous Article 19 of the UnitedNations International Covenant on Civil and PoliticalRights 21 states, “Everyone shall have theright to hold opinions without interference,”and “Everyone shall have the right to freedomof expression; this right shall include freedomto seek, receive and impart information andideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, eitherorally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, orthrough any other media of his choice.” A quicklook on the internet will tell you that billions ofdollars are spent on monitoring and censoringtools around the world, and that governmentsand intelligence agencies are informationhungry. Activists should never shy away fromlearning the tech skills that will allow them toprotect their inalienable human right to privacyand freedom of expression. n21 secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/International_Covenant_on_Civil_and_Political_RightsLEBANON / 185


MEXICOSocial networks and the “war on drugs”LaNetaOlinca Marinowww.laneta.apc.orgIntroductionThere have been at least 10,000 minors orphaned,120,000 persons displaced, and 23,000 young peoplerecruited by organised crime over the course ofthe current presidential administration in Mexico, inpower since 2006. 1 More than 30 mayors have alsobeen assassinated since President Felipe Calderóndeclared a war on drug trafficking in December 2006,with results that to date have been catastrophic. Althoughthere are no official statistics regarding howmany civilians have been murdered since 2006, theZeta, a weekly paper in Tijuana, has documented50,490 executions throughout the country betweenDecember 2006 and May 2011. 2As in any war, the general population is very vulnerable.Both assassins and members of the armedforces have been killed. The army has violated civilrights during its raids and roadblocks. 3 Drug cartelsuse the bodies of their victims to frighten and intimidatetheir opponents and to send warnings. Reportssay 1,226 of the people who have died in the crossfireor in direct attacks between December 2006and December 2010 are children and teenagers. 4The violence that is part of this war does not onlyaffect Mexicans: 10,000 kidnappings of migrants havebeen registered. In April 2011, a common grave withthe bodies of 72 migrants was found in the northernMexican state of Tamaulipas, and similar cases haveoccurred regularly elsewhere. Recently, some CentralAmericans denounced the fact that they were “sold”by agents from the National Migration Institute to theorganised crime group Los Zetas. 5 These crimes canbe categorised as crimes against humanity.Information and action against violenceAccording to the organisations Article 19 and CEN-COS (National Centre for Social Communication),more information and better quality information isurgently needed:Society needs to know the origin and natureof this violence, without delay. To this end, thepeople dedicated to disseminating informationand opinions regarding the violence shouldhave the minimum guarantees for their securityafforded by the state. In the case of fallingvictim to intimidation, they should be providedwith the necessary protection to safeguard theirphysical integrity and that of their families, sothat they can exercise their right to justice. 6Despite statements like these, some university professorswho carry out research on drug traffickingand organised crime have disappeared, been murderedor have emigrated to other countries wheretheir security can be guaranteed. 7 Journalists whowork in Mexico work in one of the most dangerousplaces in the Americas. 8 According to Article 19 andCENCOS, in 2010 alone, 129 journalists and peoplein the field of communications media were attacked.The attacks upon female journalists and communicatorsalso include threats to their families. 9 In thefirst quarter of the 2011, eleven journalists weremurdered. 10For this reason, some newspapers havechanged their idea of journalism in order to carryon reporting in the face of the violence, threats,kidnappings and murders. An example is El DiarioVanguardia, based in the northern state of Coahuila,which was able to create a community of 30,0001 www.eluniversal.com.mx/primera/37103.html2 www.zetatijuana.com/2011/07/11/50-mil-ejecuciones3 President Felipe Calderón refuses to withdraw the army from the streetseven though this is a repeated demand from the country’s citizens, andeven though international bodies have called on Mexico to stop usingthe army for functions that should be carried out by the police forces(such as the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or InvoluntaryDisappearances, in its Preliminary Report of March 2011).4 contralinea.info/archivo-revista/index.php/2011/03/22/1-mil-226-ninos-asesinados-en-la-guerra-de-calderon5 www.jornada.unam.mx/2011/05/10/politica/007n1pol6 Article 19 and CENCOS (2011) Violencia en México y el derecho a lainformación 2010, Article 19 Oficina para México y Centroaméricaand CENCOS, Mexico City, p. 7.7 www.lajornadadeoriente.com.mx/2011/01/13/puebla/ofa14.php8 www.criterioonline.com.ar/mas/internacionales/48568-otroperiodista-fue-asesinado-en-mexico9 Article 19 and CENCOS (2011) op. cit.10 knightcenter.utexas.edu/es/blog/reportera-policial-es-septimaperiodista-asesinada-en-mexico-en-2011186 / Global Information Society Watch


Facebook users and 12,000 Twitter followers to callupon authorities to provide timely and real-timeinformation about the situation. In response to thepressure, the police in the state capital opened aTwitter account (@policiasaltillo). According to thedigital publication El periodismo digital, the Twitteraccount created “a way to receive informationabout what is happening in the city in real time,even though this information is not often includedin the newspapers the next day due to the risks.” 11In another example, also in the state of Coahuila,the attorney general has provided informationabout recent cases of violence using his Twitterand Facebook accounts. 12In this way, social networks have started toappear in different states of Mexico as sources ofreal-time information. In February 2010, for example,in Torreón, Coahuila, the first alerts about ashooting incident were sent out on Twitter. Similarcases have occurred in the states of Jalisco, Zacatecasand Durango. In Veracruz, Nayarit and SanLuis Potosí, social networks were used to warnabout kidnappings and extortion. 13 In the states ofChihuahua, Tamaulipas, Sinaloa, Guerrero, Morelos,Coahuila, Nuevo León and the Federal District,alerts about situations of violence circulated onsocial networks. In the Federal District, users alsocirculated the phone numbers of kidnappers andextortionists. 14Paradoxically, the internet has also become atool used by drug cartels. 15 Narco mails and narcovideos targeting rival criminal organisations, as wellas authorities and civil society, have proliferated. 16CNN reports that “videos supposedly sent by cartelsshow kidnap victims gagged and bound and beingtortured at the time of being murdered.” 17 Accordingto a Mexican newspaper, “among all of the mediathat drug lords have at their reach to attract followers,social networks seem to have become one oftheir main vehicles for communication.” 18 This hasled some politicians to call for greater regulation oncertain digital tools in the country. 19While the Mexican population is feeling vulnerableand afraid on a daily basis, it has also11 www.elperiodismodigital.org/2011/04/periodistas-optan-porredes-sociales-ante-violencia-en-mexico12 www.eluniversal.com.mx/estados/79948.html13 Ibid.14 Ibid.15 www.eluniversal.com.mx/primera/36666.html16 noticias.aollatino.com/2010/12/03/narco-redes-sociales17 mexico.cnn.com/nacional/2010/03/08/residentes-de-la-fronterausan-internet-para-combatir-al-crimen-organizado18 noticias.aollatino.com/2010/12/03/narco-redes-sociales19 www.eluniversal.com.mx/primera/36666.htmlparticipated in different initiatives to say “No morebloodshed”. Mexicans have used many differentkinds of media to remain united against the war.The internet and mobile phones have been importantallies to different sectors of the population,allowing them to exchange information about drugcartel violence and to protect local communitiesin dangerous situations. Digital media have alsoserved as a channel for the collective expression ofcivic discontent, and to mobilise citizens. 20As part of this general violence, the murdersof women in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua and inother states of Mexico continue. At least 10,000women and girls have been violently murderedover the last ten years. Most of these cases arenot brought before the courts. 21 Because of this,the families of victims and organisations workingin solidarity with them mobilise on the internet.Many initiatives are very active online, such asNuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa (Bring OurDaughters Home) 22 or Justicia para Nuestras Hijas(Justice for Our Daughters), which has a blog, 23 aTwitter account, 24 a Facebook site, 25 a channel onYouTube 26 and a channel on Picasa with a photogallery of the victims. 27A national map was created identifying the sitesof crimes on the website Ciudadanía por la Paz yJusticia en México 28 (Citizens for Peace and Justicein Mexico), which also encourages civic action. Thisis a public space. Every event or message sent bySMS, Twitter (#mapaMX #nosoncifras) or with anonline form is pre-approved and published by agroup of volunteers. For security reasons, personalinformation related to the authors of the publishedinformation is removed. This initiative is based inCuernavaca, Morelos. 29Other social media sites include:• Por favor no más sangre (Please, no morebloodshed): This is a campaign that seeks toend the bloodshed of innocent people causedby the war on drug trafficking. 3020 Vega, A.F. and Merino, J. (2011) Ciudadanos.mx: Twitter y el cambiopolítico en México, Debolsillo, Mexico City.21 www.eluniversal.com.mx/notas/530233.html22 www.mujeresdejuarez.org23 justiciaparanuestrashijas.blogspot.com24 @JPNH0125 www.facebook.com/pages/Justicia-Para-Nuestras-Hijas26 www.youtube.com/jpnh0127 picasaweb.google.com/justiciaparanuestrashijas28 pazyjusticia.crowdmap.com29 www.facebook.com/pages/Red-por-la-Paz-y-la-Justicia/210655688946361; redporlapazyjusticia.org; witter.com/#!/redpazyjusticia30 es-es.facebook.com/pages/Por-favor-no-mássangre/184308684920918mexico / 187


• Contingente Monterrey (The Monterrey Contingent):These citizens promote creative actionsfor peace. Their Facebook site reads: “We willmeet on the second Sunday of every month onthe Esplanade of the Heroes of Monterrey untilTHERE ARE NO MORE MISSING PERSONS ORINNOCENT DEATHS!” 31• Poesía para nuestros muertos (Poetry for ourdead): An initiative launched by a collectivethat invites action because “every Mexican hasrights and we should fight for our DIGNITY, forPEACE and for JUSTICE to be a basic value in ourcountry.” 32• “Menos Días Aquí” (Fewer Days Here): A projectrun by volunteers with a blog that recordsa weekly count of the dead. “We count thenumber of deaths caused by violence in Mexico.In this way, we keep our dead alive.” 33• Balacera MTY (Shooting in Monterrey): This offerstimely and useful information shared bycivilians to help avoid situations of risk. BalaceraMTY is also active on Twitter. 34On Twitter, we also find:• #ContingenteMX: Digital action for peace supportinghuman rights.• #Sinviolencia: Reports and warns of crime.• #Tienennombre: Names victims of violence inMexico. Emphasises that victims are not statistics– they have names.• #BalaceraGDL: Keeps people informed ofshootings and news about security issues inGuadalajara.• #noviolenciamx: Encourages action againstviolence.• #tuitcallejero: This initiative (which translatesas “streettweet”) invites people to write a commentwith 140 characters or less on a piece ofpaper and post it somewhere where passersbycan read it. It invites people who find the notesto take pictures of them and to post themon their blogs as a way of disseminating themessage. 35Mexicans demand: “No more bloodshed!”One of the first campaigns in Mexico using newmedia was the campaign launched by the famouscartoonist Eduardo del Río (who calls himselfRIUS), together with other cartoonists, journalistsand intellectuals, as a form of protest againstthe wave of violence. The idea was to create civicconsciousness in spaces where each person canexpress his or her discontent using social networks.Twitter and Facebook users changed theirprofile photo to an image of the word “No”, whichincluded a drop of blood, to support the movement.Within the first 48 hours of the campaign, 2,155cybernauts showed their support on Facebook. 36#NoMasSangre was among Twitter’s trending topicsfor several weeks. 37The Movimiento por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad(Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity)is an important initiative in Mexico. Poet and journalistJavier Sicilia has driven this movement in thewake of the murder of seven youths, including hisson, in the state of Morelos in April 2011. To datethe movement has organised a series of marches,amongst other activities. The Civic Caravan forPeace with Justice and Dignity, also known as the“Caravan of Consolation”, is of particular importanceto the movement. It began its journey fromCuernavaca on 4 June from Cuernavaca, travellingthrough several of the cities hardest hit by violencein Mexico, and heading towards Ciudad Juárez. Thecaravan travelled over 3,000 kilometres. On Twitter,the hashtag #marchanacional became a trendingtopic for weeks. 38Hundreds of testimonies and demands forthe federal government to end the war have beengathered at national marches. Dozens of harrowingtestimonies and calls for the state’s strategy tochange have been launched. One speaker at oneof the first Movimiento por la Paz marches stated:“These 40,000 deaths 39 belong to us all, they areour dead. There can be no distinction between thedeaths of drug dealers, assassins, soldiers andcitizens.” 40Local marches – often spontaneous – have beenconvened with the help of the internet. This was31 es-es.facebook.com/ContingenteMty32 www.facebook.com/poesiaparanuestrosmuertos33 menosdiasaqui.blogspot.com34 www.facebook.com/pages/BalaceraMTY; twitter.com/#!/BalaceraMTY35 quelleguelapaz.blogspot.com/2011/07/tuitcallejero-invitacionoficial.html36 www.pueblaonline.com.mx/en_boca_de/?tag=facebook&paged=237 dixo.com/2011/01/no-mas-sangre.php38 www.milenio.com/cdb/doc/noticias2011/434f5cc48739b1e6f2b64e6cf230cc2439 At the beginning of the mobilisation, in April 2011, the estimatednumber of deaths was 40,000; in July 2011, the weekly magazineZeta reported an estimated total of 50,000.40 homozapping.com.mx/2011/04188 / Global Information Society Watch


the case in Ciudad Juárez where a peace protestfollowing a visit to the city by President Calderónwas organised through social networking. 41 A similarprotest happened in Guadalajara within hoursof several violent incidents by criminals. Approximately700 people spontaneously responded tothe call for action put out by young people on socialnetworks. 42Groups of Mexicans and sympathisers fromthe Americas, Asia and Europe have created theRed Global por la Paz en México (Global Networkfor Peace in Mexico). 43 They have organised manydifferent initiatives across the world, some using informationand communications technologies (ICTs),including the following: a virtual demonstrationwith pro-peace images organised in Seoul called“Sí a la Paz” (Yes to Peace); “1,000 Cranes for Peacein Mexico”, an initiative in Tokyo which dedicated1,000 origami cranes to heal Mexico; “EphemeralCiudad Juárez”, set up at the foot of the Eiffel Tower,and consisting of a clothesline pegged with emptyenvelopes addressed to President Calderón withthe names of victims of violence in Mexico as thesenders; and “No More Bloodshed”, a conferenceorganised in Corcovado de Rio in Brazil, whichcalled for a review of international policies on druguse and drug trafficking. 44Action stepsThe importance of the internet can be felt in a societyconstantly threatened by violence. In the case of the“war on drugs” in Mexico, ICTs can be a valuable way to:• Guarantee citizens’ right to monitor cases involvingvictims of the war.• Facilitate the participation of citizen groups inproviding coverage of the judicial processesbrought by the victims of violence.• Support meetings of those who have been victimsin the war.• Promote ways for citizen representation, suchas referendums.• Monitor and follow up on government securityinitiatives.• Promote education and culture instead ofviolence.In general, the internet can be used to support theparticipation of citizens and their mobilisation inefforts aimed at changing the state strategy in combatingcrime in the country.More than ever the rights to access to information,free expression and the protection of personaldata are critical in Mexico. The protection of journalistsmust also be guaranteed. Mexican society hasmuch still to do.41 mexico.cnn.com/nacional/2010/03/08/residentes-de-la-fronterausan-internet-para-combatir-al-crimen-organizado42 www.eluniversal.com.mx/estados/79948.html43 www.redglobalpazmexico.com44 exteriorpactonacional.blogspot.commexico / 189


MOROCCOThe internet revolution in the Arab region pavesthe way to democracyDiploFoundationHanane Boujemiwww.diplomacy.eduIntroduction2011 marks a significant turning point in the historyof the Arab region following the uprising of peopleagainst their government leaders. Many reasonstriggered this unprecedented wave of rage that toppledestablished regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, andresulted in the 20 February protests in Morocco.Corruption, oppression, mediocre standardsof living, poverty, inequality and abuse of powerconstituted the perfect formula for the Arab worldrevolt. The internet was one of the main channelsthat mobilised people to unite and fight for theircivil rights. Not only did the internet help the massesjoin forces to air their concerns and legitimatedemands, it also proved to be an effective tool tochange government policies in the Arab region, andhelped in paving the way towards more transparentand democratic processes in the Arab world.The role of the internet and social networksin the uprising in MoroccoMorocco is one of the countries in the Arab regionwhere the uprising took place in various forms.Street demonstrations throughout major cities of thecountry called for a change in the decision-makingcircles and condemned the practices of some publicfigures who, according to demonstrators, managedto accumulate wealth at the expense of the ordinarycitizen and abused their power while serving thecountry. The internet in general – and social mediaand networks specifically – helped activists to generateconsensus across the various segments ofsociety to express their concerns and opinions aboutthe pressing issues Morocco is facing.Due to the sharp increase of internet penetrationin Morocco, 1 the internet has become an effectivetool to harness social solidarity. Online platformssuch as blogs, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter arenow widely used amongst the youngest generationin Morocco and also played a significant role as a1 www.internetworldstats.com/af/ma.htmcommunication channel in the uprising. Protestersused these platforms to achieve widespread consensusfor their demands; they also used social mediachannels to keep both the general public and officialauthorities updated with what was happening on theground. Multimedia material was strongly presentin reporting on street demonstrations and it can bedescribed as vital to ensuring the credibility of informationdisseminated. Amongst the many challengesprotesters were facing to get their voices heard wasthe scepticism of the public about their real intentions,especially since the mainstream mediadepicted them as a threat to the kingdom’s stability.Citizen media gave another dimension to socialresistance events in Morocco. Websites like hibapress.comand hespress.com were instantly updatedwith news video feeds and pictures of the demonstrations.The material gained the respect and credit ofreaders who were out of the loop, but also generatedcriticism from people against the uprising. Some articlesposted triggered scepticism about the sourcesof information circulated, especially if they meantto criticise the 20 February Movement or one of itsfigures. Some commentators on the articles postedeven referred to the Moroccan secret services, allegingthat they were spoon-feeding the websites,reinforcing the notion of information manipulation.Another example of citizen media that emergedfollowing the recent uprising events in Morocco ismamfakinch.com. The name “mamfakinch” wascoined from the raw Moroccan Arabic dialect tomean: “We’re not going to give up.” It was establishedby a group of blogger activists. Its missionconsists of pushing for more social and economicreforms. It also defends the right to access informationand freedom of expression as inherent humanrights of the common citizen.The internet definitely transformed the perceptionof information during the protests in Morocco.No significant credit was given to the public or statemedia due to its legacy of being fully supportive ofthe government’s agenda. Social and citizen mediabridged the gap and reached out to the common citizen,allowing more space for freedom of expression.But, to restate a central complaint, to whatextent can the information it provided be judgedcredible?190 / Global Information Society Watch


The impact of social media on freedomof expressionSocial networks and citizen media contributed to theidea of freedom of expression in Morocco during theuprising. Facebook groups and YouTube channelswere created to gather opinions of people sharing thesame concerns or the same political affiliation. The accessibilityand ease of use of internet social tools suchas Facebook encouraged some police officers and soldiersto create their own online groups to reveal theirworking conditions and treatment by their superiors.It was the first time that police and soldiers in Moroccoopened up about the kinds of conditions they faced,knowing that the military and public service codeprohibit them from protesting against the regime ordisclosing details of any sort to the media.It is not clear whether they were aware that usingsocial media breached their code of conduct,or what impact they were hoping to have. Reportson some social media websites appeared at a laterstage claiming that the people who organised theFacebook groups or posted videos on YouTube weretracked down and arrested. However, despite thesesorts of negative outcomes, it has to be said thatin general social media tools have no doubt helpedin improving the status of freedom of expression indifferent segments of society.A brief reading of the Moroccan Constitution:The legal context for freedom of expressionFreedom of speech and expression is one of the pillarsof a democratic society. The internet and themedia in Morocco are relatively free, and people arealso entitled to demonstrate and express their viewsfreely. In fact, street demonstrations are not alien asa form of protest in Morocco. The parliament squarein the capital city Rabat has witnessed protests byunemployed qualified graduates, including doctorsand bachelor’s degree holders, for decades.The current Moroccan Constitution 2 dealsbroadly with the notion of different freedoms. Oneof them is freedom of expression. Article 9, whichwas amended in 1996, states that the constitutionshall guarantee all citizens the following:• Freedom of movement through, and of settlementin, all parts of the kingdom• Freedom of opinion, and of expression in all itsforms• Freedom of association and the freedom to belongto any union or political group.2 Chapter One of General Provisions and Basic Principles of theConstitution, adopted September 1996.However, Article 41 of the amended 2003 PressCode 3 stipulates that journalists and publishers canface financial penalties and risk imprisonment ifthey violate restrictions on defamation, or publishcritical content related to three sensitive topics: themonarchy, territorial integrity (i.e. the calls for independencein the Western Sahara), and Islam. ThePress Code emphasises that threats to public ordercan be considered one of the criteria for censorship.Given these limits, newspapers are reluctant to beopenly critical of government policies, and journalistsare still not free to express an objective point ofview, particularly on the sensitive topics.Since there is no law in Morocco that limits orregulates freedom of expression on the internet ingeneral, the constitutional articles related to freedomof expression apply. This explains why somebloggers were arrested in the past for criticisingstate policy or the king.The 20 February Movement in MoroccoMorocco joined the wave of uprisings in the Arab region,inspired by the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisiaand the 25 January Revolution in Egypt. A group ofyoung Moroccan activists called for a day of streetdemonstrations nationally on 20 February 2011 –the date giving the movement its name.The movement managed to get support fromcyber activists, traditional lefties, Islamists andtwenty human rights organisations, including theMoroccan Association of Human Rights and AmnestyMorocco. 4 Their main demands focused onintroducing a new democratic constitution; an effectiveparliamentary monarchy and the separationof government branches (legislative, executive andjudicial); language rights for Berber speakers; andthe release of all political prisoners.The main channel used to mobilise the Moroccanpopulation was the internet. 20 Februaryactivists created a Facebook group, a YouTube channeland a Twitter account to discuss the issues atstake, mainly related to political and social reform.These attracted thousands of participants and supportersall over the country, as well as worldwide.The Facebook group was the main point of referencefor all the movement members coordinating theiractivities on the ground. It included the movement’sofficial releases and supported group discussions.YouTube was used to broadcast videos from thestreet protests and to get feedback from membersof the movement as events unfolded, and Twitter3 Article 41 of the Moroccan Press Code, 2003 edition.4 www.thenation.com/blog/158670/arab-uprisings-what-february-20-protests-tell-us-about-moroccoMOROCco / 191


helped with real-time updates on demonstrationsacross the country. Other internet channels andwebsites were also used to report on the events, inparticular CrowdVoice 5 and Global Voices. 6Besides using these channels to synchronise themovement’s branch activities and logistics acrossMorocco, they were critical in creating awarenessamongst the public. YouTube hosted promotionalvideos 7 produced by the movement featuring citizensfrom diverse backgrounds explaining theirmotives for joining the protests. In response tothis, YouTube was flooded with personal videos ofpeople explaining their point of view about the situationin Morocco, including the current regime, andalso expressing their support for – or refusal to support– the 20 February Movement’s call for protests.Even though the 20 February Movement in Moroccorepresents only a small minority of peoplecalling for change, and has faced fierce criticismfrom supporters of the regime, who constitute themajority of the population, its achievements to datecan be considered a phenomenal contribution tothe democratic process in Morocco. A new amendedconstitution which takes into consideration some ofthe movement’s demands has been approved. Thegovernment has also decided on a wage increasefor public sector employees with immediate effect.Conclusion and recommendationsThe uprising in Morocco created a social mediafrenzy. The use of Facebook, for instance, increasedsharply in the first semester of 2011, reaching morethan three million subscribers with a populationpenetration rate of 11.23%. 8 Social media were avital enabler of much-needed social discourse ontaboo topics, and proved to be a successful tool toreach all sections of society.Unlike Tunisia and Egypt, access to the internetin Morocco was not shut down by the governmentto silence the uprising, which can be considered abreakthrough for freedom of expression in the Arabregion. The government opted for leaving the internetfree and accessible for people to express theirviews – even while there are allegations that it triedto manipulate the content through its secret services.However, the achievements of the protests so farought to be attributed to the efforts of the peopleleading the protest movement, who believed that thetime had come to initiate constitutional, social and5 crowdvoice.org/protesters-demand-reform-in-morocco6 globalvoicesonline.org/-/world/middle-east-north-africa/morocco7 www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0f6FSB7gxQ8 www.socialbakers.com/facebook-statistics/morocco#chartintervalseconomic reforms that will benefit the unprivileged.The role of the internet and social media in the Moroccanuprising was that of providing an interactivemedium to host real-time debate and to discuss people’sdemands. This proves that the existing channelsof discourse between the state and citizens, includinggovernmental and non-governmental entities,political parties and associations, failed to fulfil theneeds of the common citizen who took refuge in thesocial and citizen media channels to lead a radicalchange of the idea of the state-citizen relationship.This relationship was based on a top-down approachto decision making when it came to state policies –while the internet helped to make these decisionsevolve around the citizens’ needs.Compared to other countries in the Arab region,Morocco enjoys a relatively stable political environment,but still needs to work vigorously towardshaving a true democratic regime. The internet canhave a positive impact on a participatory processthat works towards a democratic society where therule of law, equal opportunities, and an improvedstandard of living are achieved.Action stepsThe decision-making process in Morocco can be inclusiveif the government engages in the current dialoguewith its citizens, of which the internet is the maindriving force. The mechanisms of how policies are implementedshould be altered to reflect the needs ofcitizens: adopting a bottom-up approach would be theultimate way to secure a democratic society that recognisesthe role of people in shaping policies.The Moroccan state could use the internet as away to communicate with people by:• Setting up official online open forums on governmentwebsites to host discussions where peoplecan comment on state strategies and policies.• Launching capacity-building programmes to raiseawareness about the role of the internet in initiatinga bottom-up approach to decision making.• Endorsing the use of new technologies bycitizens and providing the necessary financialsupport to deploy the necessary infrastructure.• Introducing new policies to guarantee the rightto access to information.• Guaranteeing online freedom of expression asa right.• Reinforcing the notion of open access to dataand open government.• Using ICTs to harness transparency and accountability.n192 / Global Information Society Watch


MOZAMBIQUEICTs and the September street protests in MaputoPolly GasterIntroductionOn 1 September 2010 many inhabitants of Mozambique’scapital city, Maputo, and the satellite cityMatola, were unable to get to work. The main routesinto the centre of town had been closed by demonstratorsprotesting against recent rises in the costof living. The police tried to quell the protests, atsome points using live bullets, resulting in violentconfrontations.The government reacted initially by proclaimingits “irreversible” position on the price rises, butbacktracked within a week as further demonstrationswere threatened. The events in Mozambiquecannot be called a “Facebook revolution”, in today’sfashionable terminology, but various informationand communications technologies (ICTs) playedsignificant roles. Recognition of this provoked agovernment reaction, with implications for the futurefreedom of ICT-based communications, whilethe pattern of ICT usage illustrated the gap betweenthe protesters on the street and civil societyorganisations.Legal frameworkMozambique’s first multiparty Constitution of 1990and its 2004 revision 1 guarantee freedom of expression,association and the press. They also explicitlystate that the “exercise of freedom of expression(...) and the exercise of the right to information shallnot be limited by censorship.” The Constitution andthe 1991 Press Law 2 are recognised to have played asuccessful role in promoting press freedom, pluralismof ideas and media diversity. 3 While this legalframework generally meets international standards,there are gaps and curtailments which arethe object of lobbying and campaigns, for examplelimitations on access to information, 4 and the existenceof repressive legislation that is in contradictionwith the Press Law.The Telecommunications Law of 2004 5 set out toliberalise the sector, aiming to end the MozambiqueTelecommunications Company (TDM) monopoly onlandlines and infrastructure by 2007 (this has not yethappened) and encourage private sector value-addedservices. The Mozambique National CommunicationsInstitute (INCM) is the telecoms regulator, but issubordinated to the Ministry of Transport and Communicationsrather than an independent body.ICT policy and practiceThe government approved a National ICT Policy in2000, 6 which specifically states that “the State recognisesand protects the right of citizens to haveaccess to information and to knowledge spread byICTs” and adopts the principle of universal access.Internet service providers are not subject to specificlicensing, but need to be formally registered withthe INCM.There is no legislation curbing freedom of expressionon the internet, and no experience prior to1 September 2010 of either restrictions (blocking,filtering or otherwise censoring) on access to sites,or arrests or libel cases specifically related to materialpublished on the internet. 7Internet access is available via broadband,wireless or mobile phone in Maputo and all ten provincialcapitals, and an increasing number of townsin the country’s 128 districts. As in other Africancountries, more and more citizens are turning to thetwo mobile phone networks (MCel and Vodacom)for internet access, in addition to voice and SMSuse, as mobile internet access is more widely available,cheaper and often more reliable. Around sixmillion of Mozambique’s 20 million inhabitants nowown mobile phones.1 Assembly of the Republic (2004) Constituição da República deMoçambique, Boletim da República I Série n° 51, Maputo, 22December, Art 48.2 Assembly of the Republic (1991) Lei 18/91, BR I Série n° 32,Maputo, 10 August.3 MISA-Mozambique (forthcoming 2011) Assessing Media Developmentin Mozambique: A study based on UNESCO’s Media DevelopmentIndicators, UNESCO Communication and Information Sector, Paris.4 A draft law on Access to Information designed to rectify this weaknesswas produced by MISA-Mozambique in a participatory process andsubmitted to the Assembly in 2005, but has not yet been debated.5 Assembly of the Republic (2004) Law 8/2004, BR I Série n° 29,Maputo, 21 July.6 Council of Ministers(2000) Resolution 28/2000, BR I Série n° 49, 3°Supplement, Maputo, 12 December.7 MISA-Mozambique (forthcoming 2011) op. cit.MOZAMBIQUE / 193


Increasing povertyA recent study for the World Food Programme onurban poverty 8 showed that the cost of living rosesharply from October 2008 to October 2010. Thecost of a basic food basket for a household of fivewent up by 41% to 3,974 MT/month, 9 while in 2010the official minimum wage for the formal sectorsranged from 1,500 to 2,700 MT. 10The study sample of 1,199 households in Maputoand Matola showed that transport and energy(for lighting and cooking) were the main regularexpenses in addition to food. It also provided somestriking demographic data, for example:• 68% of the sample were in the age groups covering0-29 years.• Of the 28% of young people (18-29) in thehouseholds surveyed, 7% had never been toschool, 43% were not working, while the majorityof the 57% who earned some income were inthe informal sector.• The number of unemployed heads of householdhad risen from 4.7% in 2008 to 12% in 2010.• The main income sources were salaries (42%,down from 60% in 2008), casual labour (30%)and petty trade (17%).The government had been implementing a policy ofstrategic subsidies to hold down the costs of suchvital items as fuel (including paraffin and cookinggas), electricity, bus fares and bread. Electionstook place in late 2009, and six months later there-elected government started trying to reduce oreliminate these subsidies. So on top of all the generalprice rises, the final straw was a series of badlycoordinated announcements informing the public ofspecific rises in water, electricity and bread as from1 September.The riots 11On Wednesday 1 September protesters in Maputo andMatola tried to bring the cities to a halt by blocking themain roads in and out of town with junk and burningtires. Passing vehicles were stoned and some vandalised,and the main bus terminals were also targeted.Some of the symbols of discontent were also attacked8 Geography Department, Eduardo Mondlane University (2010)Estudo de Vulnerabilidade Urbana nas Cidades de Maputo eMatola, EMU/WFP, Maputo.9 Food basket designed by the Ministry of Health, price calculationsmade by the Ministry of Planning and Development.10 Ministries of Finance and Labour (2010) Diploma Ministerial103/10, BR I Série N° 24, Maputo. 16 June.11 The data in this section is based on daily English-languagenewscasts from the Mozambique News Agency (AIM), Maputo, 1-7September 2010.and destroyed or looted, such as electricity companyoffices, buses, grocery stores and a petrol station. Policeused tear gas, rubber bullets and in some caseslive ammunition to prevent the demonstrators frommarching into the city and to try to clear the roads. 12The protesters’ strategy was successful and thecities did effectively close down. Those who had gotto work or school started walking home, and therewas almost no traffic. Though the next day was quieter,with more sporadic rioting in specific locations,there was still no public transport and residentsopted to stay at home. By 3 September most ofthe roads had been cleared and traffic – includingsome buses – was increasing, but most workplaces,schools, shops and banks remained closed. Therewas a heavy police presence, and just a few shortlivedattempts to set up new street barricades. Bythe end of the three days of protests, there was atotal death toll of thirteen in Maputo and Matola,with 154 injured having received medical treatment,some for gunshot wounds. 13 A total of 256 peoplehad been arrested, mostly in Maputo and Matola. 14Over the weekend rumours began to circulate,primarily via SMS, of further demonstrations beingplanned for the following Monday (6 September).However, no demonstrations took place.The role of ICTsMany citizens had advance warning that somethingwas going to happen on 1 September through SMStext messages circulated by mobile phone from unnamedsources, notwithstanding police statementsto the contrary. It also became obvious on the daythat the level of coordination achieved among manydifferent sites must also have been relying on mobilephone. There was no sign of public mobilisationvia internet or Facebook, which is not surprisinggiven that the demonstrators clearly came from thepoorer residential areas, where internet access andinternet-enabled phones are still rare.Most of the Mozambican press provided full coverageof the events, and the radio and independent12 A report on police tactics and behaviour found that they hadbelieved their own propaganda and no planning had been done forpolicing protests. The Rapid Intervention Force had not been put onalert, and the regular police force had to cope with little guidance.The police sent to the trouble areas were just coming off their shifts,tired and hungry and badly equipped, while most of the new shiftwas unable to get to work for two days. This is thought to be oneof the main reasons why the riots got out of hand and there wereso many casualties. Centre for Public Integrity (2010) Policia sempreparação, mal equipada e corrupta, CIP, Maputo (September).13 Press announcement by the Minister of Health, 6 September 2010.14 Attorney-General Augusto Paulino in his annual statement toParliament, 27 April 2011. 178 people were sentenced to prisonterms ranging from three days to two years, 64 were acquitted andthe other fourteen are still awaiting trial.194 / Global Information Society Watch


television companies made an effort to providereal-time news. However, in addition to the textmessages flying around the city between familiesand friends swopping updates and advice, theinternet came into its own as a place for sharing information,aggregating and re-disseminating news,and promoting comment and discussion.Some Facebook pages, in particular that of thepopular free newspaper @Verdade (Truth), 15 providedimmediate space for citizen reporting on placeswhere there was trouble, or roads had been blocked,amongst other updates. This was an extremely usefulsource of immediate information from multiplesources and locations. @Verdade also ran an Ushahidi-basedcrowd reporting tool and made someuse of Twitter, but the Facebook site was by far themost accessible and important.Sites also opened themselves up for comment anddiscussion, throughout both the immediate crisis andthe government responses. Diário de um Sociólogo, 16Reflectindo sobre Moçambique, 17 the MozambiqueSociology Association 18 and others published a rangeof contributions on their blogs. They also republishednewspaper articles and commentaries, press communiquésand statements from government andcivil society, and cross-published reflections fromother sites. Videos appearing on YouTube 19 illustrateddifferent aspects of the riots, from police action tolooting, and in turn provoked more commentary.In other words, social media provided spacefor many voices and opinions to be heard, while thetelevision and radio stations tended to rely on thesame pool of analysts (mostly male, mostly journalistsor academics) for their studio debates and newsprogrammes.Government responseDenunciation and backtrackingThe first official reactions came from the police,affirming that the demonstrations were illegal becauseprior permission had not been sought interms of the law – which was true. This was followedby government ministers on the one hand defendingeconomic policies and the need for price rises andon the other accusing the demonstrators of being“adventurists and bandits”. The cabinet spokesmansaid that the price rises were “irreversible”. 2015 www.facebook.com/jornal.averdade#!/jornal.averdade?sk=wall16 oficinadesociologia.blogspot.com17 comunidademocambicana.blogspot.com18 sociologia-mocambicana.blogspot.com/2010/10/no-olho-dofuracao.html19 For example: www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2YqY3Quwhk&NR=120 AIM, 1-7 September 2010.However, a mere five days later, following a cabinetmeeting on 7 September, the irreversible wasreversed. A communiqué was issued announcing asubsidy to maintain the price of bread, cancellingthe electricity price rise for social tariff consumers,and reducing the water price rise for the samegroup, maintaining the tax benefits for tomatoes,potatoes, onions and eggs, and reducing the priceof low-grade rice. 21Control of communicationsOne of the most serious aspects of the governmentresponse was its move to limit free communication.On 6 September, when more demonstrationswere anticipated, most mobile phone usersthroughout the country found it impossible tosend text messages. The two operators, MCel andVodacom, both announced that there had been abreakdown and they were working to restore services.Suspicions of interference were unsurprisinglyrife, but both the minister of Transport and Communicationsand INCM publicly denied involvementor knowledge of a government instruction. 22 On 10September the Mediafax daily newspaper claimedthe operators had received a letter from the regulatorordering them to close down the SMS service,and on 17 September the weekly Savana newspaperpublished an article carrying a confirmation fromVodacom South Africa and a facsimile of the letter,dated 6 September. 23In a separate incident, @Verdade’s mobile phoneaccounts went offline before the general shutdown,as did its website (which was quickly mirrored andmade available again via other routes). 24SMS services were fully restored on 8 September,followed by an SMS “battle” betweenmessages supporting the government and othersstrongly critical.The government’s next step was to acceleratethe introduction of a ministerial diploma approvinga new regulation on the registration of SIM cards. 25SIM card registration had been under discussion inMozambique, as in other countries, for some time,but the astonishing feature of this particular diplomawas that it defined a time limit of only twomonths from the date of its publication for all usersto register, after which their numbers would be21 Council of Ministers Secretariat (2010) Press release, Council ofMinisters, Maputo, 7 September.22 AIM newscast, 8 September 2010.23 Savana (2010) Grupo Vodacom confirma ordem de bloqueio,Savana, 17 September.24 Interview with Erik Charas, editor of @Verdade, Maputo, 2 August 2011.25 Ministry of Transport and Communications(2010) DiplomaMinisterial 153/2010, MTC, Maputo, 10 September.MOZAMBIQUE / 195


locked. At the same time, as Mediafax reported on30 September, the ministry rather unconvincinglydenied that the timing of the new regulation hadanything to do with the riots.Unsurprisingly, though the deadline provokedlarge-scale anxiety and long queues, it proved impossibleto register everyone in time, and 7 January2011 was announced as the new cut-off date. Thatdate came and went in silence from governmentbodies, and there has been no further official announcementsince then. Meanwhile, the Centre forPublic Integrity denounced the diploma as being“incoherent, illegal and anti-constitutional”, callingfor it to be revoked. 26Communications via internet – email services,blogs, social media – continued throughout and afterthe crisis period with no interference. In a waythis underlines the social split between users: theyoung people on the streets using mobile phonesand the better-off members of the public, commentatorsand so on using the net to talk about it. Inthat sense the government’s priorities were logical.ConclusionsThe first obvious conclusion from the above sequenceof events is that anybody who wants realchange should get out onto the street and make lifedifficult for the government of the day. Civil societyorganisations had been publishing studies, surveysand reports showing the implications of risingprices for the poor, and warning of the increasinganger of ordinary people, but the government didnot want to listen – the 1 September riots broughtan immediate response, in the short term, a victory.The government’s handling of the issues did notwin it any credibility: its initial policies followed byconstantly changing positions displayed both weaknessand a sad lack of understanding or awarenessof the very real problems of the urban poor. Havingmet all the demands so quickly, it makes a violentreaction to future price rises or other unpopularpolicies more likely. Government attempts to clampdown on or limit mobile communications and theright to freedom or expression through ICTs werealso signs of policy being made on the hoof, but noless serious for that. Perhaps for the first time it feltseriously challenged, and its immediate resort to illegalityin this area is a worrying precedent.This report has used words such as “protests”,“demonstrations” and “riots” more or lessinterchangeably throughout, and the events of1 September showed elements of all three. Certainlythere were no clear demands formulated, no visibleleadership, and no sign of evolution into a moreformal social movement. Established civil societyorganisations were totally marginalised, thoughsome issued their own statements post hoc. However,although the middle classes and inhabitants ofthe city centre were not on the streets demonstrating,there were clear signs of common cause, sincethe rising cost of living and the growth in corruptionare now affecting everyone but the elite groups. Itremains to be seen whether converging (though stillvery differentiated) interests can be converted intocommon strategies or new forms of social organisationthat are more broadly based.Within this context, the potential of ICTs in Mozambiqueas tools for organisation, coordinationand expression for civil society in the broad sense isnow evident. While mobile phone communicationsstill predominate, the social media networks havea growing influence as a substitute or alternativeto dialogue through more formal channels and theinformation provided by traditional media. They arecurrently acting primarily as information brokersand opinion formers rather than as mobilisers, butwhile this is in itself a useful function it could easilybecome more interventional the next time there isa social crisis, as lessons have undoubtedly beenlearned by all sides.Action steps• Establish a civil society coalition for digital inclusionto lobby for large-scale internet accessthrough mobile phones, wireless and pricingsystems and keep a watch on government ICTpolicies to ensure equality of access, freedomof communication, open data and access toinformation.• Campaign for a fully independent telecoms andICT regulator.• Promote channels for communication and exchangesbetween the “formal” and “informal”sections of civil society through social medianetworks.• Develop strategies for enabling civil society organisationsto integrate better use of ICTs intotheir work and promote training and use amongtheir own constituencies. n26 Centre for Public Integrity (2010) Observatório de Direito N° 1:Sobre o Registo de Cartões SIM, CIP, Maputo (November).196 / Global Information Society Watch


NEPALWaiting for the Nepal SpringPanos South AsiaKishor Pradhanwww.panossouthasia.orgBackstageThe tiny, mountainous, newly formed Federal DemocraticRepublic of Nepal, 1 with a population of about30 million, was removed from a list of the countrieswith the worst record of censoring the internet inthe 2009 report published by Reporters WithoutBorders. 2 Just four years earlier, with the persistenceof political insurgency and instability after theroyal regime had taken over power in the countryin February 2005, the national communication systemsand services – fixed telephone lines, mobiletelephone service, radios and televisions, as well asthe internet – were blacked out for seven days. Thereason cited was the need to contain the volatile politicalsituation.When the censorship and clampdown on themedia continued for several months after February2005, the sporadic existence of online citizenjournalism publications in Nepal found their duerecognition and prominence. During the royalclampdown citizen journalism websites like MeroSansar, 3 started informally by a group of journalistsafter becoming disenchanted with a mainstream paper,became recognised as an independent sourceof information and a means to uphold freedom ofexpression.The royal coup in Nepal in 2005 4 was the turningpoint in the history of internet use in the country,sparking the flame of widespread use of blogs andsocial networking sites that supported civil societyresistance. But it was only in 2006 when networkingtools like Facebook, Skype and LinkedIn becamepopular in Nepal. In recent years, this has resulted ina number of spontaneous activist groups emerging1 Previously a kingdom, Nepal was declared a republic in late May2008 by the elected Constituent Assembly. Nepal currently has apresidential system of multiparty democracy.2 en.rsf.org3 www.mysansar.com “My Sansar” in English translates as “MyUniverse”.4 For further information on the royal coup visit: www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/asia/south-asia/nepal/B036-nepal-respondingto-the-royal-coup.aspxonline that have been instrumental in civil protestand resistance.Policy backgroundThe Right to Information Act (2006) guarantees eachNepali citizen the right to demand and receive informationon any matter of public importance, exceptwhen sharing that information is considered not inthe national interest. Though a new constitution forNepal is still being prepared, the incumbent constitutionguarantees freedom of speech and freedomof expression. Nepal as a state is also a signatoryto the Universal Declaration of Human Rights andits Article 19 on the right to freedom of opinion andexpression.The country’s first legislation on the internetcan be found in the Nepal Information Technology(IT) Act (2000). This law was later revised andnamed the Electronic Transaction Act (2008), whichregulates the degree to which the internet can beexploited in Nepal for business or civil purposes.The Electronic Transaction Act also comes close tobeing a cyber law in Nepal. Besides upholding thelegitimacy of electronic document transactions andeconomic transactions like online banking and onlinepayment, it contains clauses that regulate thecontent that can be posted on the web. And, ofcourse, penalties, both in terms of monetary finesor imprisonment in the event of violating the regulations,are included.However, 2010 was not a good year for internetfreedom in Nepal. The authorities persistentlyclamped down on internet service providers (ISPs)by forming a special central investigation bureauthat grilled the ISPs on the misuse of the internetby their clientele. Voice over internet protocol(VoIP) is also not yet legal in Nepal, though publicinternet centres use it illegally. The authoritiesargued that due to the illegal use of the internetto make telephone calls, the national telecom authoritywas losing billions of rupees every year.The authorities were also of the view that the internetand VoIP were being illegally used for criminalactivities, making it impossible for them to tracethese activities. At the same time, the authoritiesargued that what it considered anti-social contentwas being published online.NEPAL / 197


Recently the authorities issued a regulationthat one can use the internet or internet telephonesin public internet cafés only after registering usingan identity document.Social activism onlineDespite these restrictions, online social activismhas had some effect in Nepal. In 2011, one of theEnglish dailies in Nepal ran this news headline on7 May: “Facebook brings hundreds to street.” 5 Thereport said: “There were no organisers, nor werethere the leaders. But hundreds of citizens assembledat Maitighar Mandala at 3.00 pm today, justless than a hundred yards from the administrativeheadquarters Singha Durbar to press for the promulgationof the constitution on time.” (sic)The protests took place just a few weeks beforethe deadline of 28 May 2011 that had been set forthe promulgation of the new constitution. Interestingly,the newspaper reported that banners carriedby protestors read, “You have already taken fullwages, give us constitution”, but no names of organisationswho had called for the protests wereseen. The campaign was reportedly called “We AreAll Nepalis for Change”. It was discussed by a dozenpeople at a gathering a week earlier that thenturned into a Facebook campaign, ultimately culminatingin the street protests.The protests were followed by several otherFacebook activist campaigns, including “NepalUnites”. 6 Its Facebook page states: “Nepal Unitesis a social movement that began on Facebookwhere frustrated Nepali youths united to speakup and stand up against the current governmentdemanding a timely constitution, and co-operationfrom the government.” It goes on further to saythat “Nepal Unites is a social media revolution”that shows the “global concern and strength ofyouth (…) in building a better and prosperous Nepal.”Finally it states, “We are an informal groupof concerned Nepali citizens that came together toraise our voice.” Nepal Unites has organised various social andpolitical campaigns, including in countries like theUnited Kingdom and others where the Nepali diasporacan be found. A BBC TV journalist reportedthat Nepal Unites protest marches and campaignshave heralded the start of Facebook activism in Nepal.Another Facebook campaign by Nepal Uniteswas reported by Yahoo news: “Thousands of youngNepalese have united behind a new Facebookcampaign to stop paying the country’s battling politiciansif they cannot produce a new constitution bythe May 28 deadline.” 7 The deadline for promulgating the new constitutionin Nepal expired on 28 May, and it has beenextended by another three months. Nepal Unitescontinues to organise campaigns on other issues ofpublic interest and importance, such as corruptionand unnecessary foreign travel by politicians.If one compares what is happening in Nepalas far as Facebook or social media activism is concernedto the impact of social media activism incountries like Egypt, the argument can be madethat while Nepal Unites has been likened to a socialmovement, it has not necessarily had that level ofimpact. This may largely be due to the number of internetusers in the country, and the number of thosewho use social networking tools.According to Internet World Stats, 8 the numberof Facebook users in Nepal as of June 2011 was1,072,999 – just over 3.5% of the total populationof about 30 million people in Nepal. Egypt, on theother hand, is one of the top internet countries in Africa.A little over 20 million people – or around 25%of the total population – have access to the internetand use Facebook. This suggests that the impactof social media activism can be realised when thenumber of internet users in a country is significant.While this may hypothetically be the case, I recallthat when twelve Nepali migrant workers werekilled by an Iraqi militant group in 2004 and thevideo footage of the killings was posted on the internet,the immediate impact of this was felt. Therewere riots in Kathmandu, with tyres burned, andmany of the labour companies that arranged workfor migrant Nepalese were attacked, ransacked andburnt. In 2004 the number of internet users or thosewho could access the video footage of the Nepalesekilled in Iraq was definitely less than what it is today.In that case, the videos were downloaded andburnt on CDs, spreading the images like wild fire.The immediate impact of the videos was so intenseand emotive to sections of the Nepalese peoplethat they resorted to violence to express their discontent.With persistent rioting, the governmenthad to impose a curfew in Kathmandu and severalother cities. They also had to offer to compensatethe families of the victims killed in Iraq.If somebody were to ask me today if Nepal’s “internetgeneration” is ready to bring about change,my answer would be no. I used to call them the5 www.thehimalayantimes.com/fullNews.php?headline=Facebook+brings+hundreds+to+streets&NewsID=2870616 nepalunites.org7 my.news.yahoo.com/facebook-group-vents-anger-nepalsleaders-025816239.html8 www.internetworldstats.com/asia.htm198 / Global Information Society Watch


“chat generation” at some point in my quest tounderstand new media and their impact in our societiesand on governance. But nowadays, like others,I call them the “Facebook generation” or rather the“social media generation”. When internet penetrationhas increased by several fold in Nepal, and thepopulation who are children now are youths, thenmaybe I would say yes, the “internet generation” isready to bring about the desired change Nepalesepeople in general have always aspired to.The social movements incited by social mediaactivism, or for that matter Facebook activism,have not yet been able to really make a dent in theexisting political situation in countries like Nepal.However, it cannot be ruled out. Facebook activismis gaining momentum in Nepal, and it is likely tohave a multiplier effect that can catalyse the changeand bring about a “Nepal Spring”.Not yet concluded…Social media activism has been gaining groundsince May this year in Nepal. It has definitely pavedthe way for building social resistance, mostlyamongst the youth, which has organised severalsocial campaigns pushing for the constitution to bepromulgated in Nepal, and fighting against corruption,amongst other things.Nepal Unites does not consider itself a formalorganisation, but a group that started spontaneouslybecause of its concern over the issue of thenew constitution and with peace in Nepal. For thesesorts of spontaneous associations, their independenceis important. While their impact can also befelt in the diaspora, the exact extent of this impactis not yet clear.Perhaps when the volume of social media activismincreases and the right critical mass is createdthere will be a tangible impact on change in Nepal.While a Nepal Spring is yet to take place as a resultof social media activism, there is ample roomto wait and watch with loads of optimism to keepbuoyant our sense of anticipation.Action stepsThe following action steps can be suggested:• There is a need for more effective awareness onthe potential use of social media activism in socialresistance and protest.• Capacity needs to be developed in civil rightsactivist groups so that they can use social mediatools.• Social media activists should link up with civilrights activist organisations to make their activitiesmore effective.• According to the data available, more than35% of the Nepalese population uses mobilephones. These need to be integrated into activistcampaigns using new media. nNEPAL / 199


THE NETHERLANDSA privacy disaster? RFID cards for public transportin the NetherlandsInstitute for Information LawFrederik Zuiderveen Borgesiuswww.ivir.nlIntroductionThe ever-growing use of networked computers anddatabases makes life considerably easier. However,this also makes it easier to keep an eye on citizens.The average Dutch person is registered on 250 to500 databases. 1 Is the Netherlands “sleepwalkinginto a surveillance society”? 2 Four years ago,a Big Brother Award was granted to the Dutch citizen:“He is the biggest threat to privacy accordingto the jury. Due to indifference – ‘I have nothing tohide’ – and lack of interest in what happens to theirpersonal data, citizens share responsibility for thedisappearance of privacy in the Netherlands.” 3 Thisreport deals with an example of a database systemthat threatens privacy: the new electronic paymentsystem for Dutch public transport. The reaction thatthis system has provoked shows that Dutch citizensseem to be slowly waking up.Database systems in the NetherlandsA recent report by the Rathenau Institute identifiesthree recurring problems regarding the introductionof database systems. First, there is often insufficientattention to security and privacy at the design phase.Second, frequently databases are designed withprimarily the interests of the company or the stateorganisation in mind, overlooking the interests of theindividual. Third, policy makers often have high expectationsof the benefits of databases, which maynot always be realistic. 4 A related problem is thatsometimes people are not offered a choice on wheth-1 Schermer, B.W. and Wagemans, T. (2009) Onze digitale schaduw.Een verkennend onderzoek naar het aantal databases waarin degemiddelde Nederlander geregistreerd staat (Our digital shadow.An exploratory study on the number of databases in which theaverage citizen is registered), Considerati, Amsterdam.2 Richard Thomas, the English Information Commissioner, quotedin Ford, R. (2004) Beware rise of Big Brother state, warns datawatchdog, The Times, 16 August.3 www.bigbrotherawards.nl/index_uk.html4 Munnichs, G. et al. (2010) Databases. Over ICT-beloftes,informatiehonger en digitale autonomie (Databases. About ICTpromises, data hunger and digital autonomy), Rathenau Institute,The Hague, p. 26-27. www.rathenau.nl/en.htmler or not to participate in a system. 5 All these pointsare relevant for the OV-Chipcard system.The OV-Chipcard is a card to pay for publictransport services in the Netherlands, comparablewith the Oyster card in London and the Octopuscard in Hong Kong. Travellers can store credit on theOV-Chipcard, and pay for trips by checking in andchecking out of public transport by holding the cardagainst a card reader. One of the primary reasonsto launch the OV-Chipcard project was to obtain insightinto the use of public transport lines in orderto improve efficiency. 6 The OV-Chipcard is supposedto replace all older public transport cards, and insome cities this is already the case.The OV-Chipcard is RFID-equipped. RFID isshort for “radio frequency identification”, whichis a technology that enables reading and storinginformation on RFID chips from a distance. RFIDchips can be used in objects, such as entrance tagsfor buildings or library books, and may replace theubiquitous barcode in the near future. RFID chipscan also be inserted into living beings. A famousexample is the Dutch discotheque Baja Beachclub,where certain customers had RFID chips implantedthat enabled them to pay for their drinks by holdingtheir arm close to an RFID reader. 7 The use ofRFID chips in public transport cards and the subsequentstorage of data gives us an early glimpse ofwhat it means to live in the “Internet of Things”. 8Is the Dutch travel card a privacy disaster?Since the start of the project, the OV-Chipcard systemhas been plagued with problems. For example, in2008 researchers found several flaws in the securityof the card: it is possible to clone the card and to restoretravel credit. Bart Jacobs, professor at the DigitalSecurity Group of the University of Nijmegen, calls the5 Van ’t Hof, C. et al.(2010) Check in/check uit. Digitalisering van deopenbare ruimte (Check in/check out. Digitization of the publicspace), NAI, Rotterdam.6 Vaststelling van de begrotingsstaten van het Ministerie vanVerkeer en Waterstaat (XII) voor het jaar 2005 (Adoption of thebudget of the Ministry of Transport (XII) for the year 2005),Parliament 2004-2005, 29 800 Chapter XII, Nr. 2, p. 126.7 European Technology Assessment Group (2007) RFID and IdentityManagement in Everyday Life, Scientific Technology OptionsAssessment, Brussels, p. 41-42.8 International Telecommunication Union (2005) ITU InternetReports 2005: The Internet of Things, ITU, Geneva. www.itu.int200 / Global Information Society Watch


OV-Chipcard “technically (…) a nightmare” and a “privacydisaster”. 9 He highlights five problems. 10First, the OV-Chipcard uses an old kind of RFIDchip with poor security, which can be read by anybodyusing a card reader bought for only ten euro.The RFID chip will show its unique number to anycard reader, which makes it possible to recogniseand track persons carrying a card. Second, the cardis an “open wallet”: it is possible to change thecontents on the card, unbeknownst to the personcarrying the card. It is also possible to read the fivelast travels from a card. 11 Third, the transaction dataof the card (for example, the location where someonegets on and off a bus and the exact times) areprocessed in a centralised database. “The formerEast German Stasi would have been jealous of sucha database,” according to Jacobs. Fourth, the OV-Chipcard is an identity-based system, while beforethe OV-Chipcard was implemented, one only had toshow a ticket (this was an attribute). Jacobs posesthe question: “Is it really necessary to tell whoyou are when you enter a bus? Do we want sucha society?” 12 Lastly, although anonymous prepaidcards are available, they are very impractical. Unlikewith personalised cards, it is not possible to makeuse of discount programmes. Most machines acceptonly coins, not paper money, to store credit on thecard (they also accept bankcards, but that wouldbreak the anonymity of the process). Jacobs callsthe anonymous cards “a sad joke” and concludes:“Privacy is the last thing the designers of the OVchipsystem cared about – in sharp contrast with theprinciple of privacy by design.” 13 The privacy and securityissues do not end here. In 2010 the website ofone of the participating public transport companiesexposed the personal data of over 100,000 people, 14and in 2011 different software packages to hack thecards were distributed on the internet. 15The risk of function creepThe creation of large databases always entails therisk of function creep. When data are collected forone purpose, new purposes to make use of those9 Jacobs, B. (2010) Architecture Is Politics: Security and PrivacyIssues in Transport and Beyond, in Gutwirth, S. et al. (eds) DataProtection in a Profiled World, Springer, Dordrecht, p. 292-293.10 Ibid., p. 292.11 Ibid., p. 293.12 Ibid., p. 294.13 Ibid., p. 294 (internal footnote omitted).14 Zenger, R. (2010) Datalek: gegevens 168.000 reizigers gelekt via OVchipkaart website (Data breach: data from 168,000 passengers leakedthrough OV-Chipcard website), Bits of Freedom, 18 May. www.bof.nl15 de Winter, B. (2011) Onzichtbare OV-chiphack vrij beschikbaar(Invisible OV-chip hack is freely available), Webwereld, 14 February.www.webwereld.nldata usually present themselves soon. The OV-Chipcard system is no exception. For example,public transport companies want to use individualtravel patterns for direct marketing purposes. 16One could imagine the scenario that if one travelsto Amsterdam, a coupon for a reduction at the localhamburger shop is offered, and if one often travelsby first class, a coupon for a more expensive restaurantis offered. 17Now that the system is in use in a large partof the Netherlands, function creep has alreadystarted. On one occasion, the police asked a publictransport company for a list with all identificationnumbers of the OV-Chipcards used at fare gatesof two metro stations during a certain period. Thepolice asked for the name, address, zip code, cityof residence and any available photographs of theusers. After initially refusing to provide the photographs,the public transport company provided allrequested information to the police. It did, however,file a complaint with the court, arguing thatthe police should have obtained a written authorisationfrom the examining magistrate in order todemand the photographs. After much litigation, theDutch Supreme Court confirmed that in this case,demanding the photographs without an authorisationwas not in accordance with the law. In short,the Supreme Court held that photographs can containsensitive personal data, namely data regardingrace, which the police could only demand with awritten authorisation. 18Not surprisingly, the OV-Chipcard project wasmet with some criticism, for example from Bits ofFreedom. This is a Dutch digital rights organisationfocusing on privacy and communications freedomin the digital age. Together with a large number ofvolunteers, the organisation strives to influencepolicy, for example, by organising campaigns andproviding advice. Every year Bits of Freedom organisesthe Big Brother Awards, and gives an award toindividuals, companies, government agencies andproposals that are most threatening to privacy. Thepublic can suggest parties for nominations, andcan vote which party should be granted the publicaward. Bits of Freedom has been following thedevelopments around the OV-Chipcard from the beginning.The company holding the central databasewith travel data, Trans Link Systems, was nominatedin 2003 and 2005. The Dutch railway companywas granted a Big Brother Award in 2007 for its rolein the OV-Chipcard. In 2011 Trans Link Systems had16 OV-Chipcard FAQ: www.ov-chipkaart.nl/faq/?n=6417 Jacobs (2010) op. cit., p. 293.18 Hoge Raad (Supreme Court Netherlands), 23 March 2010, LJN BK6331.THE NETHERLANDS / 201


the dubious honour of winning both a jury awardand the public award.Student action against travel cardsProtests have not been limited to coverage on blogs,websites and traditional media. In early 2010 a groupof students became worried and lodged a complaintwith the Dutch Data Protection Authority. 19 MostDutch students are eligible for a state-funded studygrant, which includes the right to a card for publictransport. The card offers free travel during the week,and discounted travel on the weekend (or vice versaif a student chooses so). An OV-Chipcard for studentsis personal and the RFID chip contains inter alia aunique number, the date of birth, the amount of creditloaded on the card, and the last ten transactions.A picture and the name of the student is printed onthe card, but not stored on the RFID chip. When astudent checks in and checks out of public transport,the data being processed include: the number of thecard, the location where the student checks in, thedate and exact time, the credit stored on the card andthe credit used for the trip.In their complaint to the Data Protection Authoritythe students argued first that on days on whichthey are eligible for free travel, there is no need tocheck in and check out. According to the students, itmust be possible to open the gates of a metro stationwithout registering a student checking in. Becauseof this their detailed travel data should not be collected.Second, the public transport companiesstored the data – which were not sufficiently anonymised– for seven years in the central database.The students said that this was disproportionate. Inaddition, the students complained about the lack oftransparency about what happens to the processeddata. They also questioned whether the databasewith personal and travel data is sufficiently securedagainst data breaches and attacks from hackers. Inshort, the students doubted whether the companiescomplied with Dutch privacy regulation. 20The Data Protection Authority, which had beencritical about the OV-Chipcard system from the beginning,started an investigation. In late 2010 theAuthority published a scathing report about TransLink Systems and three of the participating publictransport companies. Two public transport companiesand Trans Link Systems were found to store thedata for a disproportionate period. (After the investigationTrans Link Systems changed the seven-yearretention period to two years.) All three companies19 For an overview of the complaint see: www.clinic.nl/wiki/index.php?title=Handhavingsverzoek_studenten_OV-chipkaart20 Wet bescherming persoonsgegevens (Dutch Data Protection Act).were found to process data in breach of privacyregulations. 21The Authority said that the Dutch railway companyprovided insufficient information to students.As the students are eligible for free travel duringthe week, there is no need to register the studentschecking in or out when they travel by train. However,the railway company fails to adequately informstudents that they are not required to check in andout. Moreover, the general information providedby the railway company (such as posters in thestations and messages announced on the train) impliesthat everybody is required to check in and tocheck out. Therefore, the railway company did nothave legitimate grounds to store and process thestudents’ travel data. In short, each of the investigatedcompanies was in breach of requirements ofDutch privacy regulation. The companies agreed toimplement shorter retention periods. However, inJuly 2011 the Authority found that the railway companywas still not informing students sufficiently. Ifthe railway company still fails to inform students bythe end of 2011, it has to pay penalties up to a maximumof 375,000 euro. 22Influence of citizensIn summary, the OV-Chipcard system is an exampleof how not to design a database system; privacywas clearly an afterthought during the designphase. Because of projects like this, the Dutch DataProtection Authority warns that the Netherlandsmight be turning into a “glass society”. 23 However,there is some (very cautious) reason for optimism.Although the Dutch public seemed to be sleepwalking,a new trend seems to be emerging. Citizens andcivil rights organisations make their voices heardmore and more, for example on blogs and on socialmedia. Mainstream media have started to reporton these protests; sometimes they even make theevening television news.In some cases, protests against the introductionof poorly designed database systems have influencedpolicy makers. In 2011 several governmentplans were adapted, largely because of privacy concerns.A government plan to store four fingerprintsof each citizen in a database has been halted after21 CBP (2010) OV-bedrijven bewaren gegevens reisgedrag in strijdmet de wet (Public transport companies store travel data in breachof the law), 9 December. www.cbpweb.nl22 CBP (2011) CBP dwingt invoering bewaartermijnen reisgegevensaf via dwangsom (Data Protection Authority ensures retentionperiods of travel data are shortened, under threat of penalties, 26July. www.cbpweb.nl23 Kohnstamm, J. and Dubbeld, L. (2007) Glazen samenleving in zicht’(Glass society in sight), Nederlands Juristenblad, 2007, p. 2369-2375.202 / Global Information Society Watch


civil rights organisations protested for years. 24 TheDutch senate voted against a law implementingnational electronic infrastructure through whichdoctors could exchange patients’ medical data,because of insufficient security and privacy safeguards.25 A plan to introduce compulsory “smart”electricity meters that automatically send a messageto the electricity company every fifteenminutes has been adapted as well, as electricityuse can reveal much about your life such as yourdaily habits and rhythm. People are no longer requiredto have a smart meter installed. 26 So protestscan eventually influence policy makers. However, itis important to protest at an early stage. Althoughprotests seem to have some influence on the OV-Chipcard system now, it does not seem plausiblethat its main characteristics will be changed.Action steps• Try to convince policy makers who decide aboutnew database systems to pay attention to privacyby design and to strengthen the positionof the individual, for example, by making dataprocessing more transparent. Tell them datashould only be used for the original purpose.• Make your voice heard at an early stage. Protestduring the design phase when privacy-threateningsystems are planned. Prevention is betterthan damage control at a later stage.• The most important advice is to the Dutchpublic: do not embarrass yourself by winninganother Big Brother Award. In other words, donot sleepwalk! n24 Letter of the Minister of Justice to the Parliament, 26 April 2011.25 State press release, Eerste Kamer stemt tegen landelijkelektronisch patiëntendossier (Senate votes against nationalelectronic patient record), 5 April 2011. www.rijksoverheid.nl26 State press release, Slimme meter kan snel ingevoerd (Smart metercan be introduced soon), 22 February 2011. www.rijksoverheid.nlTHE NETHERLANDS / 203


NEW ZEALANDCopyright conundrumsJordan Carter Ltd. Internet ConsultingJordan Carterabout.me/jordantcarterIntroductionCopyright law does not sound, on the face of it, themost likely area of policy to generate examples ofsocial resistance. Yet since the introduction in 2007of legislation updating copyright law, a diverse buthigh-profile campaign has developed in responseto efforts by successive New Zealand governmentsto introduce a new penalty for residential copyrightinfringement. That penalty is disconnection: theprospect that a citizen caught infringing copyrightvia the internet might see their access to the networkbrought to an end.The campaign was successful insofar as at thetime of writing, disconnection had not been implementedin New Zealand. A small but determinedcampaign spawned new organisations, new formsof resistance to legislative change, and the widespreaduse of the internet to catalyse citizen actionagainst changes that people did not support.Suspicion remains that, under continuing pressurefrom the United States (US) – revealed onWikiLeaks 1 – renewed attempts will be made tobring disconnection into effect (for instance, duringthe negotiation of the Trans Pacific PartnershipAgreement). Its presence today in the New Zealandlegislation presents a low barrier should a future governmentseek to introduce it.This report explores the background to thedisconnection proposals, the efforts governmentshave made to pursue them, and the response thathas developed.Policy backgroundThere are two parts to the background story ofcopyright reform that matter to this case: the internationaland the local context.1 Trans-Pacific Partnership Digest (2010) Wikileaks cables show NZdoubts, US Pressure on TPP, 20 December. www.tppdigest.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=276%3Awikileaks-cables-show-nz-doubts-us-pressure-on-tpp&catid=1%3Alatestnews&Itemid=1On the global scale there have been efforts sincethe mid-1990s to create new, tighter norms for theprotection of intellectual property. The global baselineis the TRIPS Agreement, 2 part of the World TradeOrganization (WTO) framework adopted in 1995. AllWTO members including New Zealand are committedto its minimum levels of intellectual property (IP) protection.Broadly speaking, developed countries havebeen advocating stronger IP law since TRIPS, whiledeveloping countries have seen the TRIPS baselineas the appropriate level of IP protection.In New Zealand these global debates have affectedcopyright law reform. The country is broadlyseen as having an effective and high-quality IPlaw regime. The Copyright Act 1994 underwent alengthy review starting in 2001, to (among otherthings) ensure the legislation was fit for the digitalage. Changes were introduced into the Parliamentin 2007 and passed in 2008, some of which addednew “permitted acts” for citizens (e.g. formatshifting of music from CD to computer equipmentbecame lawful), but which also included the famed“section 92A” which forms the core of this case.The rise, fall and rise of disconnectionin New Zealand lawThe focus of the case is on the efforts made in NewZealand to draw internet intermediaries into a roleof protecting the rights of copyright holders.Until the introduction of amendments to theCopy right Act in 2007, internet intermediaries suchas internet service providers (ISPs) had been regardedas conduits for information their customerssought. As with the telephone or postal networks,carriers had no responsibility for the content: that laywith the sender or receiver, in line with relevant laws.Arguments to push internet intermediaries intoa role in enforcing copyright rely on this idea: theyare uniquely well positioned to be able to monitorthe information their customers are accessing,and have a responsibility to do so. Failing this, theyshould be responsive to the surveillance done byrights holders, and take action against their customerswhen copyright infringement occurs.2 Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.204 / Global Information Society Watch


The 2007 amendments, passed by Parliament in2008, made use of a series of safe-harbour frameworksto bring intermediaries into the fold. Asinitially drafted, three specific safe harbours werecreated. The first was a general protection for anISP in the common carrier mould, the second a protectionagainst liability for hosted material if it wastaken down on becoming aware of it, and the thirdwas an exemption for material cached in the courseof the routine operation of the ISP.All three provisions were reliant on what becamesection 92A of the Copyright Act. The language ofthe draft legislation, first introduced in 2007, was asfollows:92A Limitations on liability in sections 92B to 92Dapply only to qualifying Internet service providerThe limitations on liability in sections 92Bto 92D apply only in respect of an Internetservice provider that has adopted and reasonablyimplemented a policy that provides fortermination, in appropriate circumstances, ofthe accounts of repeat infringers. 3As finally passed in 2008, the legislation specifiedthat this clause would only come into effect on anominated date. When Parliament’s CommerceSelect Committee reviewed the draft legislation, itrecommended that the clause be deleted because:[T]he standard terms and conditions of agreementsbetween an Internet service provider andits customers usually allow for the terminationof accounts of people using the services for illegalactivity. Moreover, new section 92C alreadyrequires an Internet service provider to deleteinfringing material or prevent access to it assoon as possible after becoming aware of it. 4Internet rights advocates celebrated. However, inApril 2008, with no public notice or further consultation,the government reintroduced the clause bymeans of a Supplementary Order Paper, and thisclause was passed into law:92A Internet service provider must have policyfor terminating accounts of repeat infringers(1) An Internet service provider must adopt andreasonably implement a policy that provides fortermination, in appropriate circumstances, ofthe account with that Internet service providerof a repeat infringer.3 Copyright (New Technologies and Performers Rights) AmendmentBill 2007, as introduced by the Government of New Zealand.4 Commentary, Copyright (New Technologies and Performers Rights)Amendment Bill 2007, as reported by the Commerce SelectCommittee, p. 7.(2) In subsection (1), repeat infringer means aperson who repeatedly infringes the copyrightin a work by using 1 or more of the Internetservices of the Internet service provider to do arestricted act without the consent of the copyrightowner. 5In this way Parliament gave no guidance as to whowould count as a repeat infringer, what sort of infringementwould be included, who would judgethat infringement had occurred, and what thepractical effects of termination should be for thesubscribers of a particular ISP.Dubbed “guilt on accusation” by opponents,and seizing on comments by the minister steeringthe legislation through Parliament that access tothe internet should be considered a human right, 6a community campaign grew – described in moredepth below. Meanwhile, ISPs organised throughthe Telecommunications Carriers Forum negotiatedwith rights holder organisations in an attempt toimplement the legislation despite the problems createdby the drafting used. 7These negotiations did not succeed, and whilethey were underway a general election led to achange of government in November 2008. Duringthe election and after, there were deferrals of thecommencement of section 92A (from October 2008to February 2009 8 and then to March 2009), 9 to tryand leave time for the ISP-rights holder negotiationsto succeed. Ultimately, however, they failed,and community opposition built to a crescendo.The main focus of the opposition was around acampaign called #blackout 10 – the hashtag was extensivelyused by opponents of the law on Facebookand on Twitter, and users of both social networksreplaced their avatars with simple black squares.This campaign achieved significant media coveragein the lead-up to the intended commencement date,and was catalysed at the annual KiwiFoo camp, heldnorth of Auckland in February 2009.Faced with widespread opposition, the newlyappointed minister responsible for the legislation5 Section 92A of the Copyright Act 1994 as at January 2011, asinserted by section 53 of the Copyright (New Technologies)Amendment Act 2008.6 Bell, S. (2008) Internet access a human right, minister says,Computerworld, 3 September. computerworld.co.nz/news.nsf/news/6DC929097F31FF8ECC2574B8006D45D87 tcf.org.nz/content/98c471de-49ff-4a9e-abb4-49f4b3eee201.html8 Media release by Hon. Judith Tizard of 3 October 2008. beehive.govt.nz/release/copyright-new-technologies-amendment-comes-force9 Comments by the prime minister at a media conference, asreported by the Creative Freedom Foundation, 23 February 2009.creativefreedom.org.nz/story.html?id=17010 See, for example, the article on Wikipedia regarding the campaign:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_Internet_BlackoutNEW ZEALAND / 205


announced 11 that it would be scrapped days beforecommencement at the end of March. A paper outlininga new proposal for dealing with infringing filesharing was developed by officials and experts, andreleased to the public in July 2009. 12This new framework set up a notice-based system,designed to tackle the major concerns thecommunity had with the previous government’sefforts: in particular, the absence of any decisionson infringement on the part of the justice systembefore penalties were imposed, and the strong andgrowing community view that the penalty of accounttermination or suspension was not a proportionateremedy to infringing file sharing.ISPs would be required to pass notices on totheir subscribers when lodged with them by rightsholders or their representatives. Three types ofnotices were required, which ISPs would sendbased on the record of infringement in precedingweeks and months. After a final notice was sent,rights holders would have the option of taking acase before a (revised and expanded) CopyrightTribunal, which would have the ability to impose afinancial penalty on repeat infringers of up to NZD15,000.This regime was carefully and vigorously scrutinisedin parliamentary debate through 2010,including through select committee hearings which(replicating the 2007 debates) saw rights holder interestsarguing that copyright infringing file sharingwas causing them significant damage and requireda strong legislative response. Community advocatesagain argued that nobody had presented evidenceof economic harm to rights holders of a scale thatjustified such a policy.One outcome of the select committee processwas that draft clauses to include account suspension(for a period of up to six months, and on the decisionof the District Court, and only at the same point or afterenough infringement had occurred to allow rightsholders to instigate proceedings in the Copyright Tribunal)were not directly implemented. Instead such apower was included, but only to become accessible ifthe government introduced it into regulation.Another area that attracted considerable controversy– the inclusion of a new strict liability onaccount holders for any activity conducted on theirinternet accounts – was not removed during parliamentaryscrutiny, despite widespread fears that thiscould have a chilling effect on provision of public11 Media release by Hon. Simon Power of 23 March 2009. beehive.govt.nz/release/government-amend-section-92a12 Media release by Hon. Simon Power of 14 July 2009. beehive.govt.nz/release/section-92a-proposal-released-consultationWi‐Fi services, or create difficulties for large providerssuch as universities and libraries. 13The remaining details of the new regime wereoutlined in regulations published in July 2011, 14which included the fees that rights holders wouldhave to pay ISPs to process each notice. In consultationson the regulations, rights holders sought avery low fee, 15 arguing that the education role thatnotices play would be maximised. ISPs argued 16that processing notices had real costs and thatthese should be met. The government set the fee atNZD 25, and when the regime commences on 1 September2011 it will quickly become apparent whateffect this fee has on the flow of notices – and on thearguments parties bring to a review, due six monthslater, as to whether the fee has been set at an acceptablelevel.These proposals were and remain controversialin New Zealand. They have spawned the creation ofseveral organisations dedicated to a different pointof view: the Creative Freedom Foundation (CFF), 17providing a voice for artists who are technologicallyliterate, and TechLiberty, 18 aimed at protectingpeople’s rights in the digital age, are two with thehighest profile.There has been an increase in communityknowledge and organisation around the idea thatpeople’s rights may be at risk from policy makingthat does not take the fact of the internet’s existenceinto account. While this community may notbe terribly large, it has proved its ability to createsignificant interest, and apply significant pressureto governments.The debate around whether access to the internetitself should be considered a right continues– the minister pursuing the copyright reform agenda,Simon Power, acknowledged this debate at aforum organised by InternetNZ and the NZ HumanRights Commission to discuss the internet’s effecton human rights norms and laws. 19 Parliament was13 Moya, J. (2011) New Zealand’s “Three-Strikes” to End Public WiFi?,ZeroPaid, 18 April. www.zeropaid.com/news/93137/new-zealandsthree-strikes-to-end-public-wi-fi14 Available on the website of the Ministry of Economic Developmentat: www.med.govt.nz/upload/Copyright-Infringing-File-Sharing-Regulations-2011.pdf15 Submission from APRA on the regulatory consultation document,available at: www.med.govt.nz/upload/77298/Australasian%20Performing%20Right%20Associations.pdf16 Submission from the TCF on the regulatory consultationdocument, available at: www.med.govt.nz/upload/77298/Telecommunications%20Carriers%20Forum.pdf17 www.cff.org.nz18 www.techliberty.org.nz19 Liddicoat, J. (2010) Report on Human Rights and Internet RoundTable. www.hrc.co.nz/hrc_new/hrc/cms/files/documents/26-Aug-2010_11-10-14_HR_and_the_Internet_Roundtable_Jul_10.html206 / Global Information Society Watch


littered with reference to the internet as a right byopponents of the new legislation. Some media tookthe same line.ConclusionsIn New Zealand’s case, the emergence of an informedcommunity active on copyright and intellectualproperty law issues – largely organised through theinternet itself – has had a real effect on policy.If no such community had emerged – andwithout the options available for propagating itsmessage through the internet, it would not havedone – New Zealand would now have copyright legislationthat allowed for people’s internet accountsto be suspended due to infringing file sharing ofcopyright material.The international context continues to evolve,with the US pursuing very significant changes to IPlaw in negotiations for a Trans Pacific PartnershipAgreement (TPP) among nine countries includingNew Zealand. Such changes, if included in the finalagreement, will lead this community to oppose ratificationof the TPP by New Zealand.With ongoing global pressure for tighter IP laws,these issues are likely to remain visible in trade negotiations,and the profile they now have in NewZealand will continue. Activists have used the openinternet to fight changes that threaten its existence,and have succeeded: there is no doubt they will useit again, hoping for similar outcomes.New Zealand’s government has taken note.Conversations with negotiating officials indicatethe government now uses the community responseagainst the attempt to implement section 92A reformsas a sort of shield, ready to be deployedwhere other governments ask for dramatic changesto the intellectual property framework. They haveused this argument along with another: that thelack of evidence justifying tighter laws means thereis little valid reason to implement them.In that sense, the New Zealand government andthe activists are on the same side. Yet the governmentfaces other economic interests for whom theprospects of a TPP – or of another ambition of NewZealand foreign policy, a bilateral free trade agreementwith the US – are highly desirable, and whohave a louder voice in the public sphere and aroundthe cabinet table.Action steps• Use the internet – particularly communitiesconnected through online social networks – tovisibly challenge policies you oppose.• Find robust evidence to back your case, and/orhighlight the lack of such evidence backing youropponents’ case.• Work with mainstream media to amplify themessage beyond the online community intomainline political and policy debate.• Create open learning communities where newsuggestions are positively received and areadopted where they show potential.• Use “meatspace” (real-life) gatherings of activiststo generate momentum, build personalnetworks and coordinate action. Social networksonline amplify and expand momentumbut they do not necessarily instigate it.• Educate politicians and officials who makepolicy on information and communicationstechnology (ICT) issues. Many of the mistakes inthe New Zealand legislation emerged becausethose making decisions did not understand theterrain they were working in.• Attack and undermine “us versus them” frames,and divide those who are on the other sidewhere you can. For instance, in the New Zealanddebate, the emergence of CFF was vital to undoclaims that all artists sought tougher copyrightlegislation. nNEW ZEALAND / 207


NIGERIAImpact of the WikiLeaks cables on Nigeria: Transparencyin governance and forums for citizen voiceFantsuam FoundationJohn Dada and Bidi Balawww.fantsuam.orgIntroductionOn 30 November 2010, news broke that there were4,598 sensitive diplomatic discussions involvingthe United States (US) Embassy in Nigeria amongsome 251,287 items released by the online whistleblower WikiLeaks. 1The Nigerian government is not usually forthcomingwhen it comes to sharing information,ostensibly in the interest of national security. Investigativejournalism is still in its early stages ofdevelopment in the country; whistle blowing is adangerous undertaking and has little or no constitutionalprotection. This, in part, explains thechequered history of the Freedom of InformationBill, which was designed to make some informationmore readily available to the governed.While WikiLeaks claimed that “the cables showthe extent of US spying on its allies and the UN;turning a blind eye to corruption and human rightsabuse in ‘client states’” and White House presssecretary Robert Gibbs labelled the WikiLeaks a“reckless and dangerous action,” in Nigeria the cableswere recognised as one of the most authenticand accurate accounts of the history of Nigeria’sgovernance in one of the most difficult periods ofits existence as a nation. And, inadvertently, theyhelped to confirm the credibility of a home-grownwhistle-blowing site, Sahara Reporters, which wasestablished in 1996 2 and has been championing theright to information and challenging governmentsecrecy in Nigeria.Policy and political backgroundThe period of ill health and eventual death of PresidentUmaru Yar’adua on 5 May 2010 3 was one ofhigh political tension. The legislature and judiciarywere unable or unwilling to create an enablingenvironment for a smooth transition of power froman ailing president to his vice president, GoodluckJonathan. The public was largely in the dark regardingthe power tussle at that time. In the absenceof credible information from the various organs ofgovernment, the public relied on the usually robustonline information sources and news from thediaspora community of Nigerians for rumours, updatesand analysis. It was the online newspaper TheNext 4 that had access to the full WikiLeaks cableson Nigeria, and began their serialisation from 30March 2010.Description and analysis of key eventsYar’Adua, who was terminally ill, left the countryin November 2009 for medical treatment in SaudiArabia. The ailing president was “smuggled” backto Nigeria, in the dead of the night, from a Saudiintensive care unit, amidst unprecedented security.The state of his health was shrouded in secrecy,and neither the vice president nor the Senate hadfirst-hand information about his health. The vicepresident had not been sworn in as acting president,and some bizarre constitutional duties werestill being ascribed to the (comatose) president.What happened during those dark days of governancein Nigeria? Who was or was not in charge? Ittook WikiLeaks to shed some light on these issues.The fortuitous, unforeseen ascendancy of amember of the minority tribes in Nigeria to the foremostposition in the Nigerian political landscapecreated disequilibrium in the polity. Jonathan hailsfrom one of the riverine communities that is producingover 90% of Nigeria’s oil wealth. His humblebackground and apparently low political ambitionsmade him an unlikely candidate for a job that hadbeen the monopoly of a powerful northern politicalcircle. Jonathan’s administrative inexperienceand lack of confidence was vividly portrayed inWikiLeaks: 5 the US ambassador’s team in Abuja andLagos went to lengths to guide him on how to takethe reins of power from a cabal that had surroundedthe ailing President Yar’adua. The cables reportedhow the US ambassador, Robin Sanders, also1 cablegate.wikileaks.org2 www.nairaland.com/nigeria/topic-707677.0.html3 234next.com/csp/cms/sites/Next/Home/5564878-146/umaru_yaradua_is_dead__.csp4 234next.com/csp/cms/sites/Next/Home/5681720-146/the_complete_wikileaks_cables_on_nigeria.csp5 saharareporters.com/news-page/wikileaks-cable-nigeria-i-lackadministrative-experience-jonathan-tells-us-ambassador208 / Global Information Society Watch


provided the strategy to get rid of the incumbentchairman of the Independent National ElectoralCommission (INEC), Maurice Iwu, who had supervisedone of Nigeria’s most discredited elections in2007.For three months while the president was in aJeddah hospital, a group of four – comprising hiswife, chief security officer, aide-de-camp and chiefeconomic advisor – virtually held the president hostage.They prevented even the vice president fromvisiting him and there was no constitutional instrumentthat enabled the vice president to take overthe reins of power. The group maintained a publicfaçade of a president who was recuperating, evenproviding a BBC voice interview and making claimsthat the president had signed a legislative bill.WikiLeaks confirmed a nation’s fears: that the presidentwas indeed comatose all this while.The constitutional path for a resolution of thepolitical impasse that had paralyzed the nationrequired that two thirds of the 42-member FederalExecutive Council (FEC) declare that the ailing presidentwas “physically incapacitated and mentallyunfit” to rule the country. This would pave the wayfor Jonathan to be sworn in as the legitimate actingpresident and take the reins of government. But thepolitical dynamics, collusions, party patronages,pecuniary interests and affinities of members ofthe FEC made such a face-saving action impossible.Efforts were made by former heads of state to persuadethe ailing president’s surrogates and familymembers to secure a formal resignation from thepresident, but to no avail. The nation teetered onthe brink of civil breakdown and military takeover. Itwas almost a relief when Yar’adua died in May 2010and Jonathan was swiftly sworn in as president. 6Some of the major allegations contained in theWikiLeaks included:• There was a fear of impending military takeoverof government.• The late president’s wife, Turai Yar’adua, and theattorney general and chief security officer werereceiving large bribes for various oil-related andcontract activities. 7• The group that kept the president incommunicadoalso had “nefarious plans” towards VicePresident Jonathan. 8• The Nigerian Police botched investigationsinto the murder of Chief Legal Officer of NigeriaBola Ige. 9• The government was involved in assisting kidnappersto collect ransom. 10• The speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives,Dimeji Bankole, claimed that SupremeCourt judges took bribes to validate Yar’adua’selection. 11• The US government had little confidence in theleadership, independence and transparency ofNigeria’s anti-corruption czar, Farida Waziri. 12• Yar’adua handed over the running of thecountry to Yayale Ahmed, the secretary to thegovernment, 13 effectively sidelining the vicepresident.The polity was heated during the last few months ofYar’adua’s life, largely due to the refusal or inabilityof his surrogates to permit non-family and non-partisanmembers of government to have access to him.There was no effective flow of information from thePresidency regarding the state of the president’shealth, and the statutory body that could rescue thesituation, the FEC, remained paralysed.The public had to rely on news leaks asreleased by Sahara Reporters: in fact Sahara Reportersand its volunteer whistle blowers werethe first to alert the nation to the president’s terminalillness. Yar’adua’s team strenuously deniedmany of the Sahara Reporters claims. WikiLeaksprovided confirmation of many of these leaks andallowed Nigerians to know more about the detailsof the political intrigues that attended Yar’adua’slast days.Government responses to WikiLeaks have beenlame and unconvincing. Its denials are all the moresuspect because WikiLeaks merely confirmed earlierrevelations by Sahara Reporters.A recent international judicial pronouncementprovided additional support of the authenticity ofthe WikiLeaks documents and Sahara Reportersallegations, specifically in the case of Anglo-Dutchoil giant Shell. On 3 August 2011 the United Nations(UN) indicted Shell for 30 years of oil spillage andenvironmental degradation of the Nigerian Niger6 www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/08/wikileaks-cablesnigeria-president-death7 news2.onlinenigeria.com/headlines/61271-wikileaks-on-nigeriaturai-aondoaaka-tanimu-took-millions-in-bribes.html8 news2.onlinenigeria.com/headlines/61271-wikileaks-on-nigeriaturai-aondoaaka-tanimu-took-millions-in-bribes.html9 234next.com/csp/cms/sites/Next/Home/5684203-146/story.csp10 234next.com/csp/cms/sites/Next/Home/5682079-146/story.csp11 234next.com/csp/cms/sites/Next/News/National/5681699-146/story.csp12 234next.com/csp/cms/sites/Next/Home/5681717-146/wikileaks_cable_supreme_court_bribe_.csp13 234next.com/csp/cms/sites/Next/Home/5681904-146/story.cspnigeria / 209


Delta. 14 The extent of the infiltration of governmentmachinery by Shell 15 was such that environmentalcampaigners could only get justice when they tooktheir case to British courts. WikiLeaks had alreadydetailed the vice grip that Shell had on the Nigeriangovernment, and how it exploited its politicalchannels to make any successful prosecution forits environmental negligence impossible. 16 Shell’sactivities had been extensively reported by SaharaReporters, but the company’s overbearing controland access to government channels ensured thatfew measures were taken to rein the oil giant in.ConclusionsNigeria’s own internet-based whistle blower, SaharaReporters, is a year older than WikiLeaks andits emphasis has been consistently on exposingcorruption in Nigeria and Africa. Although there wasan attempt by a national daily to undermine the impactof Sahara Reporters by conferring an award 17on WikiLeaks, the role of Sahara Reporters in defendingthe right of people to know has not beensurpassed by any other news channel in Nigeria. Ithas been consistent in its revelations of the Nigeriangovernment’s abuse of power, and the abuse ofpower by individuals in government.Whistle blowing and exposure of corruptionwithin government circles has been one of the longstandingfeatures of Sahara Reporters. 18 SaharaReporters is written by unpaid citizen reporters,making it more reflective of civil society views. Therelease of the WikiLeaks documents contributedsignificantly to the credibility of Sahara Reporters.The WikiLeaks documents on Nigeria have heightenedthe confidence of Nigerians in the SaharaReporters, and anecdotal evidence indicates thatthis online newspaper has become a must-read forNigerian politicians.Sahara Reporters uses the internet to reach millionsof readers, and it has been nicknamed Africa’sWikiLeaks. 19 It effectively uses “citizen reporters”who work with risk-taking whistle blowers to ensurea free flow of information to citizens. The use of informationand communications technologies (ICTs)has empowered the civil population to expose humanrights abuses and high-level corruption, and ithas enabled an unprecedented level of freedom ofexpression for citizen reporters.Action stepsIn May 2011, after eleven years of struggle, the Nigeriangovernment passed the Freedom of InformationBill into law. 20 The implementation of this law willhave teething problems; there will be initial resistance,the result of entrenched ways of informationhoarding. Individuals who have been less thancandid while in government may try to obstruct accessto information needed to bring them to justice.WikiLeaks and Sahara Reporters need to be reliedon to ensure an empowered and informed citizenry.In order to ensure that Sahara Reporters continuesits citizen reporting, it is important to:• Address the high cost of internet access so thatSahara Reporters can become accessible tomore citizens. The retail cost for broadband inparticular needs to be lowered.• Enforce the rights of Omoyele Sowore, the editorof Sahara Reporters, to safe unencumberedpassage whenever he chooses to return to orvisit Nigeria. n14 www.iol.co.za/news/africa/un-slams-shell-for-nigeriapollution-1.111231215 english.aljazeera.net/video/africa/2010/12/201012101525432657.html16 www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/dec/08/wikileaks-cablesshell-nigeria-spying17 saharareporters.com/column/nigeria%E2%80%99s-citizenreporters-sonala-olumhense18 saharareporters.com19 wikilinksnews.com/wikileaks-news/nigeria-saharareportersafricas-wikileaks-global-voices-online20 www.foicoalition.org210 / Global Information Society Watch


OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORYUsing the internet for policy inclusionApplied Information Management (AIM)Sam Bahour *www.aim-palestine.comIntroductionThe critical nature of the telecommunications sector,globally, regionally and within any specificcountry, has been the focus of many economicdevelopment experts. Palestine and the surroundingregion are not excluded from the seriousnessinvolved in ensuring that proper and affordable telecommunicationsservices are deployed. Customersexpect the growing complexity inherent in the worldof telecommunications to be completely transparentand not to interfere for even a split second withthe quality of services being provided, despite thecontent being communicated over the networks – adaunting task in a region where autocratic, policestate regimes thrive.This enormous task assumes, first and foremost,that all citizens of a country are within reachof the provision of telecommunications services, asindividuals, households and organisations. A factof the matter is that as the role and importance oftelecommunications grows, the social and politicalconsequences that the least-developed countriesface, such as a widening digital divide between theglobal North and global South or between the richand poor, are a serious matter for the world communitygiven that the ramifications of such dividesimpact far beyond the borders of any single state.While the telecommunications sector is leadingthe privatisation effort in most countries, the ball iseasily lost between profit-only-oriented private operators,marginalised public sector administrationsand the lack of enforceable regulations – at least inthe Middle East.Working towards transparentand free policy discussionsAddressing this dynamic of how to deal with developingan information and communications andtechnology (ICT) sector – namely how to contribute* Sam Bahour is one of three moderators of ITSIG and can be reachedat sbahour@palnet.com. This report represents only Sam’s opinionand not that of the moderators or ITSIG.to, and hold accountable, the policy-making mechanisms– was the impetus for technology activists inthe Palestinian technology sector to organise whathas become a thriving online venue called the InformationTechnology Special Interest Group, betterknown as ITSIG.ITSIG is a simple, subscription-based, electronicmailing list that was established by a handful ofPalestinians who returned to Palestine in the early1990s to contribute to building the informationtechnology sector. As a virtual discussion group,it has no legal status. The list has no commercialinterests whatsoever – something ITSIG is proud ofas we witness the rapid consumerism engulfing ournascent marketplace. ITSIG is possibly the first andonly, effective and free Palestinian discussion forumavailable in Palestine, and has proven itself a beaconof virtual freedom of speech.The emerging state of Palestine, similar tomany least-developed countries, entered the realmof telecommunications under the assumption thatit would be able to leap-frog into an industry thatis developing at a rapid pace. Reality – if basedon the Palestine example so far – has shown thatcountries with historically poor infrastructure areprone to make the same mistakes and live the samegrowing pains as those markets that are now welldeveloped. While the developing world falls intothe same potholes that developed countries havehit during their development, thousands of communitiesare missing a window of opportunity to catchup with the rest of the world, while they wait hopingthat the needed infrastructure will allow them tobecome producers – and not merely consumers – inthe world of information technology.The development of participatory-based nationaleconomic and social policies has not been thestrong point of the region’s nation-states. A lack ofpublic due diligence creates a downward momentumin the need to understand problems in full andcreate scenarios supported by professional analysis.Telecommunications is a long-term project forany country and is inherently related to the issue ofnational security. Since security in the developingworld is frequently inordinately sensitive to a country’spolitical stability, the issue of future-orientedprogressive policy development in the sector oftenfalls victim to “larger” political concerns.OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY / 211


Another complicating factor is that the lack offreedom of speech, press and assembly in the regioncauses slower development of services, sincecustomer feedback for demand of new services israrely articulated in a transparent and obvious way.In Palestine, specifically, this was caused due to theIsraeli military occupation that outlawed the use offaxes or modems through the 1980s, let alone allowingthose under occupation to participate in howthe sector’s infrastructure was being developed.However, similar instances arose in just about everyother state in the region, causing self-imposeddelays in the country’s IT technical and human resourcedevelopment.Bottom line, be it due to foreign military occupationor governments that are non-representativeof their peoples, it is only a matter of time beforetechnology is employed to bypass the restrictionsplaced on participatory policy making. For Palestine,a prime example was the establishment ofITSIG in the early 1990s.The ITSIG online forum is dedicated to informationtechnology in Palestine in the broadest sense.It did not take long before it was clear in the sectorthat ITSIG provided the only true free and openvenue for stakeholders of the ICT community to participatein every aspect of the development of theICT sector in Palestine.The objectives of the group are:• To raise ICT awareness in the Palestiniancommunity• To bridge the geographic gap between ICT professionalsin Palestine and in the diaspora andpromote transfer of know-how• To educate and engage policy makers in ICTrelatedissues and developments, locally,regionally and internationally• To provide a venue for due diligence on policyand strategy related to ICTs in Palestine• To create awareness of local, regional and globaldevelopment of telecommunications andinfrastructure, ICT services (e.g. banking, marketing,telemedicine, industry, public services,etc.), technical ICT issues, legal and regulatoryframeworks, and standards• To promote ICT regulation/deregulation andpolicies to protect citizen and consumer rights,privacy and accessibility• To contribute to human resource developmentand education.Over the last two decades or so, several hundredsubscribers have been privy to a wide range offree and open discussions, sometimes technical,sometimes humorous and many times heated. Themailing list is part and parcel of the policy makingin the sector – albeit an informal contributor. Fromministers to CEOs, new graduates and diasporaprofessionals, the diversity of the subscriber baseis impressive, with conversations educated andinformed. Today the group has over 1,000 activesubscribers, which is impressive given the smallsize of Palestine and its ICT sector.Although the group has three moderators whokeep its nuts and bolts in operation, the discussionposts are unmoderated, meaning any subscribercan post a message which is immediately emailedto all group subscribers. More recently, an associatedITSIG group was also created on the LinkedInprofessional online social networking service followingthe same policy of being unmoderated.ITSIG is not open to the public; only subscribersare able to make direct postings to the group. Onemay subscribe to the group at mail.itsig.org/maillist/subscribe.html.After moderators verify that therequest was made by a real person, the system willautomatically add you to the list of subscribers, andthen you can post to the group by emailing general@itsig.org.The group has publicly available and documentedrules governing acceptable behaviour oretiquette. For the most part, subscribers remainwithin the boundaries of these rules without theneed for guidance or moderation, which attests tothe professionalism of the subscriber base and themature level of discussion.At times, given the volatile political situationwe live in, the group is used to disseminate broaderpolitical or economic news. The group’s etiquetteallows for this as long as it is not abused and thenon-IT messages are marked in the subject line with“(Non-IT)” in order for subscribers to ignore theseif desired.Hosting for ITSIG was historically donated by anational internet service provider (ISP) and the procurementof equipment made possible through aprivate sector donation. Group moderators recentlymoved hosting to an independent location and haveautomated the subscription process due to thegrowing administrative burden that accompaniedthe success of the group.Over the years, a few powerful players, sometimesgovernment officials and at other timescorporate players, have threatened to take legal actionagainst ITSIG. The host of the ITSIG servers wasalso threatened at times. Other incidents, followingheated policy discussions or corporate accountabilitydebates, found some participants receiving212 / Global Information Society Watch


death threats. Speculation is that behind many ofthese threats were the very entrenched economicinterests which reach into the political echelons inthe country, and which could not fathom that thereexists an open platform where their actions couldbe critiqued unedited. In a sector that is unhealthilywealthy this should be expected and the safeguardto sustaining the platform is the integrity of thesubscribers.Once all was said and done, however, all ofthese negative reactions fizzled out and it wasproven in practice that the conscious decision tokeep the technology more low-tech than high-tech,and the organisational setup loose and volunteerbased,rather than a legal entity, safeguarded theforum to the benefit of sector development.Stakeholders in the ICT sector are virtuallyeveryone, even those who do not have access totelecommunications services – for the lack of interactionwith telecommunications is very real groundsfor further backwardness and economic repression.In a region which is hyper-centralised, both in governmentand business, using technology to openthe doors of development is key.Key lessonsTwo key lessons in the experience of ITSIG are that:• Deployment of technology tools does not necessarilymean adding complexity. ITSIG, by design,remains to this day a simple mailing list and hasproven that this is sufficient to concretely contributeto policy and other discussions.• Deployment of technology, as we are seeing andreading about across the Middle East, is not anew phenomenon when used to force the downfallof governments, albeit refreshing when thishappens; prior to the internet, faxes were thenew weapon on the block, and before that, television,and before that, radio, and before that,the printing press, etc. Using technological platformsconnects sector stakeholders and movessociety from being observers to being activelyinvolved and informed.In light of this, it may be worthwhile to note majorcategories of stakeholders in any sector, and a fewof their characteristics:Users Individuals and businesses; geographicallydispersed; difficult to collectively leveragetheir interests; increasingly demanding needsbased either on technological developments orsuccessful commercial marketing techniques.Suppliers/operators Profit-oriented; competingglobally for foreign investment; little incentiveto introduce latest technology; shrewd businesspractices (vs. static government practices);short-term strategy; lack of national interestcomponent in their planning; weak or no senseof social justice.Governments Unable to keep pace with technology;lack of funds to invest; lack of managementrequired to compete in a global market; motivatedby short-term gains.Bringing these stakeholders into a unified strategyand securing all of their justified interests may bethe most difficult aspect of all. Nevertheless, thesestakeholders are always present in every country,so finding a framework to bring harmony is a must.Opening up the discussions around policy issues isa perfect starting point. ITSIG did just that for Palestine’sICT sector.Action steps• Empower civil society organisations or even motivatedgroups of individuals on how to employcost-effective technology.• Palestine’s diverse and fragmented population,due to its political reality, showed the value ofusing technology to link physically separatedparts of a population; this is key to bringing themaximum number of vested interest parties intoa policy discussion.• ITSIG’s flexibility to allow both English and Arabicto be used allows for language to be less ofa barrier for those knowing only Arabic. It is imperativethat the region’s discussions be in itsown language if the discussion is not to becomean elitists’ silo.• Stakeholder clusters, be it a country’s ICT sector,education sector, healthcare sector or anyother sector or sub-sector, should be activeparticipants in the discussion of their sector’sdevelopment.• The region’s issues are too similar to limit thediscussion to individual countries. Because ofthis cross-border venues linked by the use oftechnology should be sought out. nOCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY / 213


PAKISTANFighting for human rights in Balochistan onlineBytes for All PakistanShahzad Ahmad and Nighat Dadwww.bytesforall.pkIntroductionSprawling, mineral-rich Balochistan is thelargest province of Pakistan and constitutes approximately44% of the country’s total land mass.The official population estimate of Balochistan wasapproximately 6.51 million as per the 1998 census.1 Bordering Afghanistan and Iran, the provinceis however the least developed on all possible socioeconomicindicators. It has Pakistan’s weakestgrowth record, worst infrastructure, greatest watercrisis, and weakest fiscal base. Poor economicperformance over the years has lead to poor livingstandards and a high poverty rate. Access to informationand communications technologies (ICTs)is low and parts of the province have the weakeststate institutions. Decades of under-investmenthave earned Balochistan a reputation of being abackward region riddled with conflicts, distant fromPakistan’s economic hubs, with a life burdened bythe toils of the fields and rangelands and tribaldisputes, rather than a hub of activity surroundingworld-class mining explorations, modern tradelinks, sustainable agriculture and boasting an empoweredcommunity.Over the last decade, Balochistan has been lockeddown under a state of information quarantine due toan ongoing military operation against Baloch nationalists– called insurgents by the military and mediain Pakistan. Newspaper reports from Balochistan areburied quietly on the inside pages, cloaked in euphemismsor, quite often, not published at all. 2 AmnestyInternational reports that the disappearance, illegaldetention, torture and extra-judicial killings of journalists,lawyers, students and political activists haveincreased rapidly throughout Balochistan in recentmonths, with an almost total blackout on these grue-1 The official website of Government of Balochistan: www.balochistan.gov.pk/index.php?option=com_content&task=category§ionid=4&id=42&Itemid=4862 Walsh, D. (2001) Pakistan’s secret dirty war, The Guardian, 9 July.www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/29/balochistan-pakistanssecret-dirty-warsome incidents by the Pakistani media. 3 Due to theinformation blackout and the national media neglectingcoverage of Balochistan issues, the role of theinternet in advocacy against human rights abusesand as a tool of social resistance has become verypopular.Separatist identityBaloch nationalists claim that the Baloch people,an ethno-linguistic group mainly found in Pakistan,Iran and Afghanistan, are a different nation– the reason for their demand for a separate state –whereas Pakistan’s government strongly takes thisdemand as a threat to “national security”. 4In recent years many Baloch voices raising theissue of Baloch nationalism have been permanentlysilenced. The result has been 8,000 missing persons 5and countless bullet-riddled bodies; thousands ofpeople have “disappeared” 6 since the nationalistmovement began to expand. In 2006, the HumanRights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) issued a 340-page report stating that a large number of persons– a number growing at an “alarming rate” – havebeen picked up by intelligence agencies and takenfor detention in secret locations. 7 Relatives neverget an explanation of why someone is taken, but thefamilies of the missing persons strongly believe thatintelligence agencies and the army are involved inthe detention of the Baloch nationalist leaders. 8Cognisant of the fact that the power of mainstreammedia helps form public opinion, thegovernment does all it can to ensure that there is nomajor exposure of the incidents happening in Balochistan.No doubt journalists are also concerned fortheir physical safety. Yet the main obstacle to general3 Tatchell, P. (2011) Pakistan: Secret, dirty killings in Balochistan,Daily Times, 9 July. www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011%5C07%5C09%5Cstory_9-7-2011_pg7_244 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balochistan_conflict5 Fisk, R. (2010) Into the terrifying world of Pakistan’s ‘disappeared’,The Independent, 18 March. www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-into-the-terrifying-world-ofpakistans-disappeared-1923153.html6 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missing_persons_%28Pakistan%297 Asian Human Rights Commission (2006) Pakistan: The HumanRights Situation in 2006. material.ahrchk.net/hrreport/2006/Pakistan2006.pdf8 Asian Human Rights Commission (2011) Army officersacknowledged that a disappeared person was in their custody butthe courts failed to recover him, AHRC News, 25 January. www.humanrights.asia/news/ahrc-news/AHRC-STM-014-2011214 / Global Information Society Watch


awareness comes from the mainstream media’s compliancewith the state’s twin policies of collectivesilence about state-perpetrated acts against ordinaryBaloch people, and of glossing over the intensity ofthe acrimony that has arisen in the Baloch peopleagainst the Pakistani state and its ruling elite. 9A growing number of literate individuals in Balochistanand the diaspora have realised that it is nouse relying on mainstream media to put across theirpoint of view – nor is there any point complainingabout the lack of coverage of Baloch issues in the nationalmedia. Instead, they have increasingly startedusing the internet as an open and (relatively) unsuppressedmeans of communication. Technology hasgiven them the means to take matters into their ownhands, taking control of the telling of their own narrativeand bypassing the mainstream media, whoseprimary loyalty seems to be a misguided determinationto defend what they are told is the “nationalinterest”, rather than seeking out the truth. 10Despite the fact that Balochistan is Pakistan’sleast-developed province, with a low population andan even lower literacy rate, it has amazingly becomehome to the most successful use of the internet asa tool for advocacy, driving social and political discoursefor human rights and democracy.We have witnessed the emergence of a substantialnumber of online Baloch newspapers, blogs andvideo-sharing channels in the last couple of years.With the spread of the internet in every district of Balochistan(further facilitated by the spread of mobilephones), the Baloch nationalist movement experiencedan unprecedented change and activists startedcommunicating via the internet to a far greater extent.In 2006, the government took advantage of aSupreme Court ruling which called for the blockingof all blasphemous internet content accessible inPakistan. This ruling was seized on as the excuse fora crackdown on Baloch websites 11 by a governmentthat was already furious about the use of the internetby political activists in the region. The governmentblocked several Baloch websites 12 using its controlsover the internet and the Pakistan TelecommunicationAuthority, which turned out to be the worstpredator of internet rights in Pakistan. 139 Arshed, N. (2011) Cautious and selective, The News, 6 June. www.jang.com.pk/thenews/jun2011-weekly/nos-12-06-2011/spr.htm#310 Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (2011)Balochistan: Little Coverage in Mainstream Media, 24 June. www.unpo.org/article/1279811 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_Pakistan12 Pakistan banned websites in country, 10 August 2006. www.frihost.com/forums/vt-48590.html13 Pakistan 451 (2006) PTA letter blocking websites, 25 April.pakistan451.wordpress.com/2006/04/27/pta-letter-blockingwebsites-april-25-06Social media services such as Twitter, Facebookand YouTube now supplement existing national andinternational news channels like CNN, BBC and FoxNews in an era of new citizen journalism and activism.Both Twitter and Facebook, for example, havebeen playing a vital role in forming public opinion atthe local level as well. These days we find numerousBaloch activists publishing information about thereal picture of atrocities committed by governmentagencies and the army in their region; the activists’primary tool is, increasingly, social media.While activists have been posting shockingvideos of army human rights violations inBalochistan on YouTube and elsewhere, when theseare uploaded they are quickly blocked by the PakistanTelecommunication Authority, as it is withintheir policy framework to immediately remove contentthat is deemed abusive of the Pakistani army oragainst the “national interest”. In 2010, some particularlygraphic videos of human rights abuses werecirculated on the internet. In one such video, filmedon a mobile phone camera, Pakistani soldiers areseen brutally killing a number of teenage boys andprisoners. 14 Foreign media 15 picked up the story andspread it all over the world. The Pakistani army’s responsewas to deny the authenticity of the video andclaim that it was faked by militants. 16 But one localtold Human Rights Watch: “On February 16, 2010, thearmy shot all four dead in the area of the Grid Stationin the town. We heard the shots that killed theseindividuals.” 17As a result of the rise and visibility of the Pakistaniarmy’s human rights violations communicatedthrough online videos, the United States (US) StateDepartment and Pentagon decided to cut aid to a halfdozen Pakistani army units believed to have killed civiliansand unarmed prisoners in different parts ofthe country, including Balochistan. 18Another recent video which has damaged thecountry’s reputation – once again at the internationallevel – was the killing of five Chechen women14 Perlez, J. (2010) Video Hints at Executions by Pakistanis, The NewYork Times, 29 September. www.nytimes.com/2010/09/30/world/asia/30pstan.html15 FRANCE 24 Web News (2010) An online video accusing the Pakistanarmy of extrajudicial killings, 13 October. www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPt0_4NXnUA&feature=fvwrel16 Al Jazeera and agencies (2010) Pakistan army to investigatevideo, Al Jazeera, 8 October. english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2010/10/20101087424786823.html17 Human Rights Watch (2010) Pakistan: Extrajudicial Executionsby Army in Swat, 16 July. www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/07/16/pakistan-extrajudicial-executions-army-swat18 Schmitt, E. and Sanger, D. (2010) Pakistani Troops Linkedto Abuses Will Lose Aid, The New York Times, 21 October.www.nytimes.com/2010/10/22/world/asia/22policy.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=pakistan%20aid&st=csepakistan / 215


y officers at the Balochistan border. Video footagecaptured by local residents showed that unarmedforeign nationals were shot over and over again asthey lay on the ground pleading for help. Contraryto initial claims by the police and border control officers,there were no suicide jackets in the vehicleand no other explosive items were found. 19 Anotherreport revealed that the shooting happened after theChechen women turned down a demand for sexualfavours by the police and border control officers. 20One of the women killed was seven months pregnant.21 When the government failed to take any actionregarding the killings, Pakistan’s Supreme Court hadto finally initiate a suo moto action. 22Gone are the days when the voice of the masses,a populist movement or an uprising could be hushedor silenced by the authorities. The advent of the internetand social media in particular has changed therules of the game altogether. We have witnessed therecent revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and the MiddleEast, where despite government attempts at censorshipand information control, news has spreadrapidly and directly from the front lines of citizen activismto a worldwide online audience.The most popular “Balochistan” page on Facebookhas a following of thousands of individuals,which by any standard or stretch of the imagination issignificant. When one also takes into account the lowliteracy rate in the province and the volatile law andorder situation, such a public display of oppositionagainst the repression is all the more remarkable.Baloch youths and political activists/workers haveformed several Facebook groups and pages, wherethey share pictures of the missing Baloch people.Now it takes no time to upload the photos of theso-called “killed and dumped” for a worldwide audienceon Facebook, while newspapers still refuse topublish and circulate pictures of slain Balochistanactivists. 23 Ironically, they fear the retribution ofthe state, when these images are already available19 Baloch, S. (2011) Chechen suspects were not wearing suicide vests,police confirm, The Express Tribune, 19 May. tribune.com.pk/story/171770/chechen-suspects-were-not-wearing-suicide-vestspolice-confirm20 The Express Tribune (n/d) Chechen women “terrorists” refusedsexual advances: PTI (video). tribune.com.pk/multimedia/videos/17381221 Baloch, S. (2011) Chechen ‘terrorist’ was pregnant when shotdead, The Express Tribune, 20 May. tribune.com.pk/story/172557/chechen-terrorist-was-pregnant-when-shot-dead22 Baloch, S. (2011) Kharotabad incident: Judicial inquiry intoChechens’ killing ordered, The Express Tribune, 21 May. tribune.com.pk/story/173082/kharotabad-incident-judicial-inquiry-intochechens-killing-ordered23 Akbar, M. S. (2011) Taking social media by storm, CrisisBalochistan, 18 June. www.crisisbalochistan.com/secondary_menu/global-issues-development/general-development/takingsocial-media-by-storm.htmlonline. The great strength of social media is that theyprovide an instant, self-organising medium in whichyoung, lively and outspoken political activists canimmediately report local news and information andpublish for a worldwide online cyber community.Dangerous developmentIn response to this situation, there has been a disturbingdevelopment. Since 2007, the PakistanTelecommunication Authority has been using thesophisticated technology and services of a companycalled Narus which has the ability to spy oninternet and mobile phone users using deep packetinspection (DPI), which allows them to read contentin real time. This company has not only aidedrepressive regimes like Egypt’s (which is known tohave attempted a blanket cut-off of all internet communicationsthis year) but also provides its servicesto other repressive regimes notorious for onlinecensorship, such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Libya andChina. 24Even so, Baloch Facebookers and Tweeples havean advantage over a government which is increasinglyfrightened of adverse international attention onits domestic policies. In today’s climate, attemptingto restrict freedom of expression in the face of thepower of social media is not only technically difficult,it is also bound to be seen and widely reported. Forthe government, as much as for the individual citizen,the internet offers nowhere to hide.Action stepsFrom a Pakistani perspective, it is an establishedfact that cyberspace is the next big frontier and thewar on civil rights will be fought via the internet andusing digital tools. This is why it is important for theworld community to continue to:• Support internet freedom in repressive regimes• Strengthen the capacities of human rights activistsworking on digital security• Raise awareness about internet rights and principlesamong the general public• Promote the effective participation of womenand other marginalised segments of society inthe policy processes relating to digital rights• Inculcate and strengthen the human rightsagenda in cyberspace. n24 Karr, T. (2011) One U.S. Corporation’s Role in Egypt’s BrutalCrackdown, Crisis Balochistan, 28 January. www.crisisbalochistan.com/secondary_menu/news/how-pakistan-monitors-net-traffic.html216 / Global Information Society Watch


PERUPushing for the prosecution of human rights violationsRed Científica Peruana and CONDESANJorge Bossio, María Campos and Miguel Saraviawww.rcp.net.pe and www.condesan.orgIntroductionBetween 1980 and 2000 Peru suffered an internalarmed conflict 1 that led to the death of over 69,000people, besides a large number of indirect victims(e.g. displaced persons, widows, orphans, etc.).According to the final report of the Truth and ReconciliationCommission (TRC), 2 the Sendero Luminoso(Shining Path) rebel group 3 was the main party responsiblefor the deaths, but the actions of stateforces also resulted in the deaths of innocent people.The Peruvian state used the armed forces to try toquell the armed uprising and the terrorism that camewith it. However, in doing this numerous human rightsviolations were committed. The TRC stated that “thebehavior of members of the armed forces not onlyinvolved some individual excesses by officers or soldiers,but also entailed generalized and/or systematicpractices of human rights violations that constitutecrimes against humanity as well as transgressions ofthe norms of International Humanitarian Law.” 4The investigation and later prosecution of thoseresponsible began after the fall of the Alberto Fujimoriregime. Human rights activists, as well asUnited Nations (UN) Human Rights Special RapporteurMartin Scheinin, 5 have pointed out that whilemany of the trials are still ongoing, 6 they are at riskdue the fact that political groups close to the militaryare lobbying to end the prosecution.This report refers to the use of social networksby human rights activists to prevent the application1 This report adopts the terminology of the Truth and ReconciliationCommission.2 For more details see: www.cverdad.org.pe/ingles/ifinal/conclusiones.php3 For more details see: www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/540794/Shining-Path4 The Geneva Conventions of 1949.5 www.noticiasser.pe/08/09/2010/nacional/relator-especial-de-lasnaciones-unidas-sobre-los-derechos-humanos-concluye-su-m6 Rivera, C. (2010) El estado del proceso de judicialización de gravesviolaciones a los derechos humanos en el Perú, Justicia Viva, 22 July.www.justiciaviva.org.pe/notihome/notihome01.php?noti=333; seealso Burt, J. M. (2010) Los juicios invisibles, Noticias SER, 4 August.www.noticiasser.pe/04/08/2010/los-juicios-invisiblesof a law – Legislative Decree 1097 (DL 1097) – thatwould pardon the soldiers being prosecuted for humanrights violations in Peru.Social networks have for some time been used asa platform for activism and alternative media in Peru.However, the number of professionals and institutionsregistered on them was low until late 2010, when theelectoral campaign boosted their use. The case of DL1097 is special because it represents one of the firsttimes human rights activists have used social media tocreate awareness of a cause amongst the general population.The success of this campaign has become anincentive for civil society groups and human rights activiststo use new technologies in their campaigning.Policy and political backgroundOn 2 July 2010, during the second term in office ofPresident Alan García (who was implicated in humanrights violations during his first term between1985 and 1990), the Peruvian Congress gave himpowers to change the laws concerning individualsbeing prosecuted for human rights violations. Hewas given 60 days to enact the changes.On 1 September, a day before the deadline, theCongress approved a package of decrees presentedby the government, among which was DL 1097. Thisdecree mandated that ongoing trials for military andpolice personnel accused of human rights violationswould need to end if they exceeded the period stipulatedfor the prosecution of regular crimes. This measurewent against international treaties signed by the Peruviangovernment, which stipulate that crimes againsthumanity do not have a time limit for prosecution.When the decrees were passed, Peru was immersedin local government electoral campaigns. Allthe front pages of the main newspapers were filledwith news referring to the elections, and the decreewas hardly mentioned.Social networks for human rights advocacy:A chronology of DL 1097’s short lifeThe day after DL 1097 was approved, an NGO calledthe National Coordinator for Human Rights held apress conference in order to publicly criticise thedecree. Realising that this issue was not gettingenough public attention, a group of activists alsodecided to take action, and started a Facebook campaign.These activists were Javier Torres, head of theperu / 217


SER association, 7 Félix Reátegui, expert on transitionaljustice matters, and Eduardo Gonzales, headof the International Centre for Transitional Justice(ICTJ) Truth and Memory programme.The response was immediate. Nearly 300 intellectuals,artists and politicians, amongst others,signed a petition launched by the activists that wasposted on their walls. 8 A further 230 people signedup on Torres’ personal Facebook page.Given the great response to the initiative, the needto create a page entirely devoted to the campaignwas urgent. Dánae Rivadereyra, a well-known localblogger and reporter on the news and blog platformLamula.pe, met with Torres to propose starting adedicated Facebook page. The intention was to continuewith the signature collection process and tochannel news and comments referring to the matter.On 4 September, the page called No al DecretoLegislativo 1097 9 (No to Legislative Decree 1097)was created. During the fifteen days of activism,which ended in the decree being withdrawn, thepage attracted over 4,000 followers.The traditional media also started to providemore coverage of the issue. There were not enoughheadlines, but there was a certain general interestgrowing in newspapers, radio and TV shows as thesubject gained importance on Facebook and on blogs.On 9 September, as part of the strategy to annulthe decree, activists used the Facebook page to callfor a sit-in in front of the Palace of Justice the nextday. The turnout was not as strong as expected:around 300 people signed up to attend the event,but only around 100 showed up.However, according to Torres, the use of socialnetworks had already managed to get the media’sattention and the collaboration of more personalities.Thanks to their support, on 12 September theorganisers of the Facebook campaign published astatement objecting to DL 1097, which included supporters’signatures, in a national newspaper. 10In the meantime, Rafael Rey, the defence ministerand, ironically, one of the promoters of thedecree, came out on TV and radio shows declaringthat the government did not seek the immunity ofhuman rights violators and that he was “glad ofhaving been available to bring reason [to the situation]and to concretise the will of the Peruviangovernment.” 117 Servicios Educativos Rurales: www.ser.org.pe8 For a complete list see: www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=4256968592629 www.facebook.com/pages/NO-al-Decreto-Legislativo-1097/14440812892904610 www.larepublica.pe/pagina_impreso.php?pub=larepublica&anho=2010&mes=09&dia=12&pid=1&sec=15&pag=1111 www.larepublica.pe/07-09-2010/rafael-rey-niega-que-polemicodl-1097-busque-impunidad-de-violadores-de-ddhhHowever, the ruling party was starting to experienceinternal conflict in Congress. On 10 SeptemberLuis Gonzáles Posada, a ruling party congressman,declared on one of the most important radio newschannels that “there is a great incompatibility inperspectives, a position that Minister Rey is going tohave to explain. Yesterday I heard the prime ministersaying the government was not consulted.” 12On 13 September, Mario Vargas Llosa, head ofthe Memory Museum project (which commemoratesthe victims of the conflict), publicly resigned from hisposition, declaring that the reason for his resignationwas “the recent DL 1097 that (…) constitutes a thinlydisguised amnesty to benefit a large number of peoplelinked to the dictatorship and sentenced (…) forcrimes against humanity.” He called for “this ignobledecree” to be abolished. 13On the same day, President Alan García sent anurgent request to the Congress to annul the decree.On 14 September, only thirteen days after it had beenapproved, DL 1097 was annulled with 90 votes in favourand one against.After that, the activists continued their campaign,trying to get other anti-civil rights decrees annulled. 14However, they did not succeed in keeping the public’sattention and the Facebook campaign was a failure.Those decrees are still in force today.Not a revolutionThis was not a revolution. No regime fell. What happenedin the first half of September 2010 was anattempt by civil society activists to use social networksas an alternative media channel for campaigning. Thecampaign’s aim was to generate awareness on an issuethat, otherwise, would have passed by unnoticed.As we can see, the role that social networks playedin the campaign was mixed. According to Torres, socialmedia boosted the impact of the campaign, whichotherwise would only have involved a small group ofactivists. For him, Facebook served as a tool to raisepublic awareness. However, Reátegui says that “thedirect impact of social networks in the annulment ofthe decree was insignificant.” He believes they onlyechoed issues that emerged in other media spaces.It is important to say that the use of social networkshad a narrow reach in Peru. Just 34.8% ofthe Peruvian population has access to the internet:50.4% in the capital city, 38.4% in urban areas and9.9% in rural areas. Most of the users are young and12 www.rpp.com.pe/2010-09-11-gonzales-posada-sobre-dl-1097-rafael-rey-tendra-que-dar-explicaciones-noticia_294419.html13 www.scribd.com/doc/37361078/Carta-de-renuncia-de-Mario-Vargas-Llosa14 Such as DL 1095 which authorises military intervention and the useof force to deal with social demonstrations.218 / Global Information Society Watch


with high levels of education (82.1% of the populationwith college, technical institute or universitydegrees are internet users, while only 2% of the populationwith no more than primary education accessthe internet). 15 In urban areas, only 35% of internetusers are on Facebook. 16As noted by Castells, “Not every person in theworld participates in the networks (…). But everybodyis affected by the processes that take place inglobal networks.” 17 Although the author is referringto the global “network society”, the principle is applicableto the case at hand. Exclusion from digitalnetworks is a product of the social structures of society.18 Internet and social network users in Perurepresent a privileged sector of society, which hasgreater capacity to apply political pressure.The reason why media are considered a “fourthestate” is because they have the capability to exertpressure on the government by generating publicopinion. Traditionally, public opinion was measuredthrough surveys or by the evidence of mobilisation.The feelings expressed during daily conversationscould not be measured because they were fleeting.This does not happen anymore. Social networksoffer tangible evidence of how the population isprocessing certain information. In the Peruviancase, while they did not have great mobilising powerin terms of numbers, the political role of socialnetworks was to capture a sense of public discontentthat proved powerful. They let the governmentknow how people felt, albeit not through demonstrationsin the streets.ConclusionsFacebook played two roles during the campaignagainst DL 1097. The first was as an alternativemeans of information dissemination due to thetraditional media’s concentration on electoralnews. This created awareness amongst the generalpopulation. Second, it was used as a tool for the expressionof public opinion.While the surreptitious manner in which DL 1097was approved helped provoke a strong public reaction,the use of Facebook allowed the activists torespond quickly to the decree.However, the commitment to the cause didnot manage to transcend the social networks. As15 Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática (2011) LasTecnologías de la Información y Comunicación en los Hogares.Trimestre: Octubre, Noviembre, Diciembre 2010.16 Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (2010) Encuesta deOpinión, Junio 2010.17 Castells, M. (2009) Comunicación y Poder, Alianza Editorial S.A.,Madrid, p. 51.18 Ibid., p. 52.mentioned before, the attempt to translate the Facebooksupport into a public demonstration – througha sit-in in front of the Palace of Justice – failed. Thiscould be because the issue had already been takenup by the mass media, and political personalities hadalready spoken out against the decree. That is, therewas a feeling that the matter had been adopted byactors who had more influence over the governmentthan Facebook users. The consensus that was generatedaround the need to annul DL 1097 (except forthe position of its main defender, Defence MinisterRafael Rey) diminished the necessity to be committedbeyond the social networks.Finally, the commitment to human rights was intense– even though the intensity was circumscribedto the networks. However, it was short lived and focusedon a particular issue. This is seen in the failureto campaign against another decree, DL 1095 (whichsought to authorise military intervention against socialdemonstrations).We would like to end this report with an extractfrom our interview with Félix Reátegui:The bottom line, for me, is that these social networks,at least among us [Peruvians], have fornow a reactive character rather than a preventiveone, and that, in any case, they still do not havethe capacity to be “translated” into popular demonstrations.In other places in the world wheresocial networks have had shocking effects […]what has happened is that the net is little morethan a “coordination platform” for collective action...A government is not afraid of the net per se,but of the people who come out into the streets,who have been coordinated using the net.Action steps• In the Peruvian context, where social mobilisationis very rare amongst the middle and upperclasses, social networks are a good way toexpress opinions and generate pressure on governments.However, they have to be used withmoderation for campaigning. People seem tolose interest very quickly.• Human rights movements should focus on a particularcase in order to generate support using socialnetworks. A long campaign should be thought of interms of a series of time-separated causes.• It is, of course, very important to engage socialnetworks, so that users can share issues withtheir contacts.• Finally, it is important to engage the traditionalmedia in social media campaigns, using pressreleases and holding media briefings. nperu / 219


ROMANIAMobilising for an open eRomaniaStrawberryNet FoundationRozália Klára Bakówww.sbnet.roIntroductionInformation and communications technologies(ICTs) are key tools for economic and social inclusion,but the rural and elderly population havescarce access to advanced ICT infrastructure andfew skills to use the technology in Romania. 1 Theyounger generation’s digital skills 2 are also low, astudy has shown. 3 Under these circumstances, itis crucial that the government takes a lead role inreducing the digital divide. Does it meet such anexpectation, given that a digital culture accessibleto all is critical for promoting human rights? Andto what extent is a digital culture critical for humanrights? This report 4 considers the case of theeRomania programme, aimed at bringing Romaniancitizens online.The recent economic crisis had a moderateimpact on the ICT sector in Romania, with a 5%decrease in its turnover between 2009 and 2010.However, many ICT businesses – mostly small andmedium sized – went bankrupt: 3,140 companies in2009 and 4,870 in 2010. 5 At the same time, the crisishad a strong impact on the population’s qualityof life: 38% of Romanians barely reached a minimalincome level in 2009. 6 Romania’s 21.4 million inhab-1 Tufă, L. (2010) Diviziunea digitală. Accesul şi utilizarea internetuluiîn România, comparativ cu tările Uniunii Europene, Calitatea vieţii,21 (1-2), p. 71-86. www.revistacalitateavietii.ro/2010/CV-1-2-2010/05.pdf2 In terms of media literacy and digital content creation.3 Preoteasa, M., Comanescu, I., Avădani, I. and Vasilache, A. (2010)Mapping Digital Media: Romania, Open Society Foundations,p. 11. www.soros.org/initiatives/media/articles_publications/publications/mapping-digital-media-romania-20110501/mappingdigital-media-romania-20110501.pdf4 Compiled through desk research, key informant interviews andparticipant observation at: www.eurodig.org/romania5 Ghitulescu, R. (2011) Studiu IT&C: industria TI&C 2009-2010.Bilantul anilor de criza, Marketwatch.ro, 27 May. www.marketwatch.ro/articol/7717/STUDIU_ITC_Industria_TIC_2009-2010_Bilantul_anilor_de_criza6 TNS CSOP Romania (2009) Impactul crizei economice, TNS Socialsi politic, August 2009, p. 21. www.csop.ro/fck_fisiere/file/Panelul_efectele_crizei_asupra_populatiei.pdfitants 7 – nearly half of them living in rural areas – arestruggling to survive the economic downturn. Publicsector salaries were cut by 25% in June 2010.An overall assessment of Romania’s networkreadiness 8 for 2010‐2011 has shown stagnationcompared to previous years’ evaluations. Thecountry ranked 65th out of 138 after aggregatingthe three criteria for measurement: environment, 9readiness 10 and usage 11 of ICTs. While the infrastructurecomponent scored higher (45th of 138),readiness – including quality of education andtraining, tariffs for ICT services, and governmentalvisions and attitudes concerning information technology– pulled Romania down to the lower halfof the world ranking. 12 It is not a surprisingly poorscore if we only look at the apologetic governmentalstatements on ICTs. With a 13.7% broadbandpenetration rate in 2010 13 Romania ranked 27th of27 among European Union (EU) countries and 41stof 138 countries in the world. 14 Meanwhile, a mediascandal broke out after USD 120 million (EUR 84million) in EU funds were blocked by Brussels inJune 2010 because Romanian authorities intendedto divert them from broadband infrastructural developmenttowards the controversial eRomaniaproject. 15 In 2010, the EU’s ICT strategy 16 restatedthe objective of bringing basic broadband to allEuropeans by 2013.7 According to official statistics: www.insse.ro/cms/files%5Cpublicatii%5CRomania%20in%20cifre%202010.pdf8 World Economic Forum (WEF)(2011) The Global InformationTechnology Report 2010‐2011, p. 267. www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GITR_Report_2011.pdf9 Including market environment, political and regulatoryenvironment, and infrastructure environment.10 Individual, business and governmental level of readiness.11 Individual, business and governmental level of usage.12 Ranked 76th of 138 countries. WEF (2011) Op. cit., p. 267.13 Eurostat (2010) Broadband penetration rate. epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/tgm/table.do?tab=table&init=1&language=en&pcode=tsiir150&plugin=114 WEF (2011) op. cit., p. 371.15 Vasilache, A. (2011) Portalul eRomania si Programul national dereforma 2011-2013: Haos privind data finalizarii si scopul acestuiproiect. Domeniile de internet eromania.ro si e-romania.ro sunt inproprietatea unor firme, Hotnews, 3 May. economie.hotnews.ro/stiri-telecom-7437500-fonduri-europene-84-milioane-euro-pentruinternet-broadband-fix-vor-transferate-catre-proiectul-romaniaministerul-comunicatiilor-acuzat-deturnare-fonduri.htm16 European Commission (2010) A Digital Agenda for Europe,Brussels, 19 May, p. 19.220 / Global Information Society Watch


Policy and political backgroundDigital inclusion has been a high priority on theRomanian ICT Ministry’s agenda since 2004, and isstill present in the authorities’ official statements 17and actions. An important step in facilitating equalaccess to ICT infrastructure is the 200 Euro Programme,launched in 2004 and operational since2005, 18 in partnership with the Ministry of Education.The programme helps Romania’s low-incomefamilies purchase computers for school-goingchildren and for university students, assisted bygovernmental financial aid. A total of 198,248 pupilsand students benefited 19 from the 200 EuroProgramme between 2005 and 2011. 20Tangible results concerning digital inclusion inthe country have also been achieved by the KnowledgeEconomy Project (2006-2010). Romanianauthorities contracted a World Bank loan of USD 60million and, adding USD 9.4 million 21 to the budget,helped disconnected communities get internetaccess, and supported small business e‐developmentand local content creation. 22 This effort wasawarded the European Commission’s e‐Inclusionmedal in 2008 in the Geographical Inclusion section.23 Other projects, such as Biblionet, 24 are alsoworth mentioning.Romania’s EU membership since 2007 hasopened access to the so-called “structural funds”,aimed at resolving structural imbalances betweencountries, regions and social groups across the EU.As highlighted in the 2008 Global Information SocietyWatch (GISWatch) country report, 25 the Romaniangovernment has declared its commitment to ICT developmentby planning to allocate USD 550 million ofEU funds to stimulating ICT use, electronic servicesand the e‐economy. EU funding in general is a controversialissue in Romania due to the poor financial17 Ministerul Comunicatiior si Societatii Informationale (2011)Combaterea decalajului digital, alfabetizarea digitală şi accesul laserviciile de e‐Guvernare sunt prioritare pentru MCSI, Comunicatde presă, 17 May. www.mcsi.ro/Minister/Comunicate-de-presa/Combaterea-decalajului-digital,-alfabetizarii-digi18 euro200.edu.ro/19 Case studies conducted in central Romania’s rural regions showthe importance of the 200 Euro Programme. Gagyi, J. (2010) Újmédia: egy erdélyi vizsgálat, Reconect, 2 (2), p. 95. reconect.org/issue/nr-2-201020 Calculated from yearly reports available at: euro200.edu.ro21 www.ecomunitate.ro/proiect22 The Knowledge Economy Project was targeted at 255 disconnectedrural and small town communities across Romania.23 A total of 37 medals have been awarded for the best of 469projects from 34 European countries. www.citizensonline.org.uk/einclusionawards/media/display?contentId=523824 www.biblionet.ro25 Bakó, R. (2008) Romania, in Finlay, A. (ed) Global InformationSociety Watch, Association for Progressive Communications, p.167. www.giswatch.org/country-report/2008/romaniamanagement of the authorities, often attracting criticismfrom Brussels. As mentioned, in June 2010 theEU blocked the USD 120 million allocated initially forbroadband infrastructural development in rural areasbecause the Romanian Ministry of Communicationsand Information Society intended to redirect themoney towards the eRomania portal. 26The eRomania case: A portal,a project or a strategy?A media scandal around the eRomania programme27 was sparked in March 2010 whenRomanian authorities announced the intention tospend a total of USD 718 million (EUR 500 million)on the eRomania portal and its implementationstrategy. The amount was considered too large fora poorly prepared and presented initiative, withlittle public consultation involved. Mainstream mediaand the blogosphere reacted instantly. Formerchair of the Parliamentary Commission for ICTs,Varujan Pambuccian, declared his surprise that authoritieswere tendering a project before planningit properly. “What is eRomania? A site? A portal?A Romanian Wikipedia built from the taxpayers’money?” media representatives asked. 28 Publicanger was expressed in articles and online videosentitled “More expensive than Avatar” 29 or “eRomania,a governmental site for 500 million Euro”. 30The key question journalists asked was: What dotaxpayers get for such an amount of money? Asone publication put it: “The short answer, accordingto the ICT Ministry’s plan, is an IBM Blue Genesupercomputer, a unique database and 300 electronicservices by the end of 2011.” 31 In June 2011the eRomania portal was still not operational (thesite has been “under construction” for two years) 32and media criticism is continuing. 3326 economie.hotnews.ro/stiri-telecom-8301752-solutia-pentrudeblocarea-84-milioane-euro-pentru-internet-broadband-zonelesarace-din-romania-prezentata-comisiei-europene-saptamanaviitoare.htm?cfadac=27 The tag “programme” is given by this report. Media discourses calleRomania a “project” or a “portal”, while government officials tagit a “strategy”.28 Raileanu, S. (2010) Ce este eRomânia? Ce vom primi în schimbula 500 de milioane de euro?, Money.ro, 16 April. www.money.ro/ce-este-eromania-ce-vom-primi-in-schimbul-a-500-de-milioane-deeuro-1_551461.html29 www.dstanca.ro/2010/atentie-la-eromania.html30 www.zf.ro/business-hi-tech/eromania-un-site-al-statului-de-500-mil-euro-cred-ca-mai-mult-va-costa-coordonarea-lui-ce-spun-ceicare-fac-site-uri-cu-1-milion-de-euro-575427131 www.money.ro/ce-este-eromania-ce-vom-primi-in-schimbul-a-500-de-milioane-de-euro-1_551461.html32 Screenshotted in a blog (www.tashy.ro), available at: i34.tinypic.com/24vp4k9.jpg33 economie.hotnews.ro/stiri-telecom-8581597-portalul-eromaniaprogramul-national-reforma-2011-2013-haos-privind-datafinalizarii-scopul-acestui-proiect.htmromania / 221


On 14 April 2010, the Association for Technologyand Internet initiated an online petition 34 calling for anopen eRomania project – a protest broadly publicisedby Romanian open source forums, 35 mainstream media36 and blogs. 37 The Manifesto for an Open eRomaniaProject was signed by 200 NGOs, open source activists,bloggers and ICT business leaders. The petition – anopen letter addressed to Minister of Communicationsand Information Society Gabriel Sandu – pleaded for anopen and transparent eRomania project based on openaccess, open standards and technological neutrality:Manifesto for an Open eRomania Project 38An initiative supporting seven principles of anopen eRomania:1. Open access to all the content createdthrough the project, and making it available onthe internet.2. Publishing all the public data from activitiesfinanced with public money in an open contentformat.3. Reusing content already existing on the internet(including the content created by publicinstitutions).4. Use of open formats and open standards forthe eRomania project.5. Publishing all the computer programs createdthrough the project using public money ona specialised website and under free licences.6. Compliance with accessibility standards.7. Implementing projects needed for publicservices and ensuring that they do not competewith the private sector.Meanwhile, a public meeting was held on 30 April2010 by the Association for Technology and Internetand the Council of Europe Office in Romania, in partnershipwith StrawberryNet Foundation, to addressthe topic of open e‐government. 39 State Secretaryof the Ministry of Communications and InformationSociety Andrei Săvulescu was invited to answer questionsaddressed by ICT stakeholders 40 related to thecontroversial eRomania initiative. Multiple issueswere raised by ICT experts concerning the governmentalvision, aims, action plan and technical solutionsinvolved in such a costly programme. The governmentrepresentative was not prepared to address the widepalette of concrete and targeted questions, but rathertried to temper the discontent and criticism of workshopparticipants related to the level of transparencyand feasibility of the eRomania strategy.Both the workshop and media inquiries haveshown the poor level of communicating 41 this initiativeto stakeholders and to the public at large.eRomania’s six components have not been clearlypresented and explained, but rather simply listedfor the benefit of journalists: 42eRomania 1: information portal and access pointto eRomania platformeRomania 2: information and local services for3,300 localitieseRomania 3: standardisation of documentseRomania 4: ensuring information floweRomania 5: Ghiseul.ro tax e‐payment systemeRomania 6: search engine in a unique database.By June 2011, the eRomania 5 online payment serviceGhiseul.ro had been implemented, as a pilotproject that had started up in March 2011 – but withmajor security breaches. Detected and popularisedby bloggers, the security issues were then hyped bythe mainstream media 43 and corrected soon after.As for the initial eRomania web page launched inJune 2009, it can only be found in the web archive,in three versions: the first one 44 was changed veryquickly due to criticism 45 of its dysfunctionality;the second 46 and the third 47 versions – explainingthat the website features serve only to show theportal concept – have also been withdrawn by theMinistry of Communications and Information Society.As mentioned, the web page www.romania.gov.ro is “under construction”, and has been so sinceJune 2009 and up to the time of writing. 48 However,the data centre of the eRomania 2 component was34 www.apti.ro/proiect-deschis-eRomania35 forum.ubuntu.softwareliber.ro/viewtopic.php?id=876136 economie.hotnews.ro/stiri-telecom-7087154-manifest-pentru-utilizare-deschisa-resurselor-din-proiectul-eromania-estimat-circa-500-milioane-euro.htm37 www.manafu.ro/2010/03/manifest-pentru-un-proiect-deschiseromania38 English translation from: nicubunu.blogspot.com/2010/03/manifest-pentru-un-proiect-deschis.html39 Organised as a workshop, part of the Eurodig 2010 Programme.www.eurodig.org/romania40 Civil society organisation representatives, open source communitymembers, programmers, ICT business players.41 observator.a1.ro/eveniment/Interviu-incendiar-cu-Andrei-Savulescu-director-iT_6903.html42 www.money.ro/ce-este-eromania-ce-vom-primi-in-schimbul-a-500-de-milioane-de-euro-1_551461.html43 stirileprotv.ro/stiri/social/ghiseul-ro-fara-secrete-pentru-bloggeriiromani-au-depistat-cateva-erori.html44 web.archive.org/web/20090617080900/http://www.romania.gov.ro45 www.jurnalul.ro/jurnalul-national/jurnalul-national/guvernul-faceeconomii-sa-bage-romania-pe-net-536575.html46 web.archive.org/web/20090620065946/http://www.romania.gov.ro47 web.archive.org/web/20090626232532/http://www.romania.gov.ro48 Screenshotted by a blogger on 6 June 2010, in June 2011 it looksthe same: i34.tinypic.com/24vp4k9.jpg222 / Global Information Society Watch


already functional in June 2011 – the work of a largeRomanian ICT company. 49Under media and civil society pressure, authoritiesstill send unclear messages concerningan initiative meant to bring citizens online. Are thehigh expenses justified? Is it a properly designedprogramme and will it impact significantly on thedigital divide in the country, with only 36.82% ofhouseholds 50 connected to broadband internet inDecember 2010? Analysing the eRomania strategymight help to give an answer.The government’s Decision No. 195 on 9 March2010 concerning the eRomania strategy 51 establishedthe key principles, objectives and steps ofthe programme. 52 The strategy, aimed at developinga fair and efficient e‐government 53 and plannedto be implemented during 2010-2013, highlightsthree main components: firstly, e‐governmentservices, aimed at increasing the quality of interactionbetween citizens and government; secondly,integration with the broader concept of “Digital Romania”related to enhancing citizen participationand trust; and thirdly, a continuous alignment toinnovative technologies. The main services to beimplemented are those monitored by the EU, relatingto income tax payment, job searches, socialsecurity, the renewal of personal documents, carregistration, e‐health and e‐environment.What is wrong with the eRomania initiative?Bogdan Manolea, an ICT policy expert, explains:Although at first sight the programme looksall right, it has two main problems. On the onehand, it reinvents the wheel by paying for services that are already developed; on the otherhand, it creates a closed project that seems to becompeting with the business sector. For the objective“access to legislative information”, thereare already four databases created with publicfunding. 5449 economie.hotnews.ro/stiri-telecom-8985407-video-cheltuielipublice-ministerul-comunicatiilor-sute-mii-euro-intr-centru-datecare-gazduiasca-sisteme-eromania-eacademie.htm50 ANCOM (2010) Piata de comunicatii electronice din România,Autoritatea Natională pentru Administrare si Reglementare înComunicatii, Raport de date statistice 1 iulie-31 decembrie 2010, p.57.51 www.avocatnet.ro/UserFiles/articleFiles/strategia_nationala_04281549.html52 There is no link from the Ministry of Communications andInformation Society to the eRomania strategy on 23 June 2011.53 According to a United Nations 2010 survey, Romania ranks 47thof 183 countries for e‐government services. United Nations (2010)E-Government Survey 2010: Leveraging e-government at a timeof financial and economic crisis, p.114. unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/UN-DPADM/UNPAN038853.pdf54 Manolea, B. (2010) E-governmentul meu! Sau unde se duce 1/2miliard de euro?, Drept si internet – noutati & opinii, 16 March.legi-internet.ro/blogs/index.php/2010/03/16/egovernmentromania-eromania1-lipsa-continut-deschis#c14959%29As for the portal aimed at providing informationabout Romanian localities (eRomania 2), why pay for asecond Wikipedia-like site from the taxpayers’ money?Why “a pharaonic digitalisation project that doesn’teven work”? 55 Last, but not least, the programme hasbeen developed and launched with little public consultationinvolved, and communicated unprofessionally.ConclusionsRomania is committed to closing the digital gap andthe eRomania programme is an ambitious initiativewith the intention of bringing citizens online. Its coreservice provision is in line with the EU’s Digital Agenda,and with international e‐government standardsconcerning the transition from an online presence totransactional and connected governance.However, when it comes to content and financialmatters, the eRomania strategy shows that the authorities’approach to designing and implementingICT policy lacks clarity, fairness and stakeholders’involvement. The result is a largely contested patchworkof overbudgeted projects, poorly managedand communicated.The Manifesto for an Open e-Romania Project wasthe first civil society public protest on ICT policy matters.It mobilised 200 NGO leaders, bloggers and opensource activists. Even if the governmental machineryis moving on in promoting its own initiatives and interestgroups, mainstream media and civil society actorsare more and more vocal in advocating for proper informationand consultation in public ICT matters.Action stepsLessons learned by ICT activists from the eRomaniacase are manifold:• Mobilising small groups in a larger streammakes a protest more visible to the media andto the public at large.• Civil society actors should be more proactive inparticipating in ICT policy making and advocatingfor digital rights.• A connected, fair and inclusive informationsociety for all should be the common goal ofgovernment, business and civil society actors.As Tim Berners-Lee put it, “competitivedisclosure” 56 is necessary for an open internet:the public’s right to know overwrites the authorities’reflex for secrecy. n55 Radescu, A. (2010) Guvernul face economii să bage România penet!, Jurnalul National, 22 February. www.jurnalul.ro/jurnalulnational/jurnalul-national/guvernul-face-economii-sa-bageromania-pe-net-536575.html56 www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/7052785/Data.gov.uk-Sir-Tim-Berners-Lee-QandA.htmlromania / 223


RWANDABalancing freedom of expression: The need for limitationsand responsibilitiesMedia High CouncilEmmanuel Habumuremyiwww.mhc.gov.rwIntroductionThe inevitable freedom of expression that the internetbrings is still a matter of discussion in Rwanda,where the place and function of the mass mediain general have been complex and critical, quiteoften even central. The media, previously seen asperpetrators of propaganda for violence, preachersof hatred, instruments of repression and silencing,are now expected to be brokers of peace, healersof wounds, advocates for freedom and justice and,above all, partners in national reconstruction anddevelopment and democratic governance of thecountry. The advent of the internet in Rwanda hashad a mixed impact on this function.The internet has raised new ethical and controlissues due to the growing number of new technologies.A new trend amongst some local mediais to have a presence on the internet besides printand broadcast news items. The sharing of contenton Facebook, 1 Twitter and other social media oncurrent issues is becoming a culture amongst journalists.The main reason for this trend is the growingnumber of mobile subscribers which has reached4,125,033 people with a penetration rate of 38%. 2This goes hand in hand with a media sector that isundergoing transformation in terms of the legal andinstitutional framework.The issue of content published on the internetby some local media websites is being criticised bylocal leaders and the general public who are seeingthe media as working with “enemies of the state”. 3Online content from two local media houses has alreadybeen blocked in Rwanda. While this impactsnegatively on freedom of expression and opinion, alack of professional and public standards in internetuse has also had a negative impact on news production.However, as this report argues, improving1 www.facebook.com/groups/abanyamakuru2 RURA (2011) Mobile Subscribers as of July 2011. www.rura.gov.rw/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=278&Itemid=2373 www.cpj.org/2010/12/rwandan-adviser-must-retract-accusationagainst-ed.phpmedia ethics in the age of the internet is not simplya case of journalistic standards, but also involvesthe willingness on the part of the state to engagethe media.Policy and political backgroundThe value and importance of media freedom is articulatedin Rwandan laws and is endorsed andpromoted in international and regional legal instrumentsthat the Rwandan government has endorsed:Article 19 of the UN Universal Declaration of HumanRights of 1948, the International Covenant on Civiland Political Rights, the African Charter on Humanand Peoples’ Rights, the European Convention onHuman Rights, and the American Convention on HumanRights.Following these commitments, Article 34 ofthe 2003 Rwandan Constitution 4 stipulates: “Freedomof [the] press and freedom of informationare recognised and guaranteed by the State.” Theconstitution further requires the adoption of lawsthat determine the conditions for exercising thisfreedom.The media law, 5 particularly Article 16, states:“Freedom of the media and freedom to receive informationare authorised and recognised by theState. Such freedom shall be applicable in accordancewith legal provisions.” According to the samemedia law, censorship is prohibited. The media lawalso provides the right for individuals and organisationsto establish media enterprises and describesnecessary requirements.In April 2011, a Rwandan government cabinetmeeting approved a broadcasting policy which wasconsidered critical to the migration from analogueto digital broadcasting. 6 The policy discouragesconcentration of ownership of print and electronicmedia, 7 so as to promote a diversity of views andfreedom of expression.Access to information is also guaranteed in theconstitution. The Access to Information Bill is now4 www.amategeko.net/display_rubrique.php?Information_ID=1434&Parent_ID=30694645&type=public&Langue_ID=An5 www.mhc.gov.rw/fileadmin/templates/PdfDocuments/Laws/Media_Law_brief.pdf6 allafrica.com/stories/201104290013.html7 MINICT (2011) Rwanda Broadcasting Policy, Kigali.224 / Global Information Society Watch


tabled before parliament for consideration andapproval. It is widely believed that if this bill is approved,it will be a breakthrough for the right toaccess information in Rwanda. 8On 1 June 2011 the government of Rwandaadopted a new media policy which aims at strengtheningmedia self-regulation and reducing statutoryregulation. This was adopted by a cabinet meetingon 30 March 2011. The purpose of the policy was toallow media practitioners to regulate themselvesby holding each other accountable vis-à-vis professionalstandards. The process is voluntary andbased on a code of ethics. Its merit is that it promotesprofessionalism and builds a more respectedmedia industry.The Media High Council’s (MHC) 9 new mandatefocuses on advocating for media freedom, capacitybuilding in the media sector, and ensuring that theenvironment is conducive for media development.At the moment, MHC has an online platform for mediapractitioners to report any violation committedagainst them. 10Rwanda has big plans for the internet and itsplace in the future development of the country. Atpresent, barely 4.8% 11 of the population is onlineusing ADSL or accessing the fibre optic backbone.On a more positive note, Rwandan authorities arereportedly pushing officials to get online and usethe popular social media networks. 12When looking at the media sector, apart fromeasy access to the internet everywhere in the city ofKigali and urban and rural areas via mobile phones,media houses offer internet access and computertraining to practicing journalists. The MHC has alsostarted the Rwanda Press Centre, 13 which is equippedwith a considerable number of computers fully connectedto wireless broadband (WiBro) internet. Thesecomputers are accessed free of charge by practicingjournalists. This is manifested by an increasingnumber of blogs, and an increase in the numbers ofnewspapers and broadcasts accessed online.Changing communication habits…Despite the limited number of internet users inRwanda, the authorities are at least starting to usethe internet to communicate with the population eitherthrough mobile phones, institutional websites,or social media such as Twitter and Facebook. At thesame time, “opponents” of the government are usingthe same channels to tarnish and weaken theofficial leaders’ political agenda and the developmentefforts by the government, while sharing theiropinions on Rwandan history which are in manycases opposed to the government’s policy and strategiesto eradicate the causes of conflicts that led tothe 1994 genocide against Tutsis.International organisations also play a big roleeither in advocating for more freedom of expressionin Rwanda or in perpetuating “confusion” on thereal status of media freedom in Rwanda. Reportson media freedom violations in Rwanda by the Committeeto Protect Journalists (CPJ) 14 and Reporterswithout Borders (RSF) from 1994 to 2010 concernedmainly two newspapers: Umuseso and Umuvugizi.RSF says that the two newspapers “have long beentwo of the regime’s biggest bugbears.” 15 However,the MHC has responded to these reports by saying:“It is unfortunate that organisations that claim tobe internationally reputable and credible can basetheir conclusions on sentiments and hearsay ratherthan facts and evidence in the name of defence ofmedia freedom.” 16 For MHC the allegations madeby these watchdogs are “deliberately intended atmisleading the international community, divertingthem from the real problem of unprofessional practicesin the Rwandan media.”The Rwandan media’s ability to take a centralposition as the fourth estate appears a distant goal.Based on the discussion during a national dialogueon media development in Rwanda held in November2010, it was mentioned that “it is a commonknowledge that many media outlets of this countryare run like briefcase companies. Some operatefrom makeshift newsrooms with hardly any businessplans and without a vision for the future. Mostprivate media outlets are unable to hire and retainjournalists and pay all remunerations.” 17 The organisersof the dialogue felt that this was the cause ofall unethical practices that come with journalism:blackmail, which is common, extortion, and a concentrationon coverage of conferences and seminarswhere journalists will receive per diems. Such practicesof course put the profession’s credibility indeficit as it fails to attract qualified and experienced8 Various interviews, December 2010-March 2011, Kigali.9 www.amategeko.net/display_rubrique.php?ActDo=ShowArt&Information_ID=2872&Parent_ID=30704083&type=public&Langue_ID=An&rubID=3070420310 www.mhc.gov.rw/case11 Statistics from www.rura.gov.rw12 kigaliwire.com/2011/03/17/rwanda-prepares-to-tweet13 www.rwandapresscentre.org14 www.cpj.org/2011/02/attacks-on-the-press-2010-rwanda.php15 en.rsf.org/rwanda-paul-kagame-03-05-2010,37198.html16 MHC (2010) Response to RSF and CPJ on Umuvugizi andUmuseso Suspension. fesmedia.org/african-media-news/detail/datum/2010/04/22/rwanda-mhc-responds-to-rsf-and-cpj-onumuvugizi-and-umuseso-suspension-opinion17 MHC (2010) Concept note on the National Dialogue on MediaDevelopment.rwanda / 225


Table 1.Mobile subscribers as of July 2011Operators Active subscribers Mobile penetration rateJune July June JulyMTN Rwanda 2,793,788 2,824,874Tigo Rwanda 1,116,598 1,300,159TOTAL 3,910,386 4,125,033 36.5% 38.4%Source: Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA)graduates mindful of ethics and who would serve asrole models to new entrants.The print sector is the most vulnerable of all. Asif a shortage of daily newspapers and low levels ofprint copies were not bad enough, the newspaperdistribution systems remain weak. The haphazarddistribution systems reflect the low capacity of thecountry’s press which serves only Kigali City andother urban areas.Difficulties of access to information in publicoffices are a potential source of self-censorship,or, alternatively, the publication of rumours or onesidedstories. This is also caused by the practice ofmany senior government officials to shun the mediawhenever invited to debate or to react to media stories.All this points to serious challenges for a freemedia and affects media practice development.The fact that libel and slander are still consideredcriminal as opposed to civil offences in medialaw and, worse still, punishable by a prison sentence,is seen by many practitioners as a seriousimpediment to the media’s role in fighting corruptionand abuse of office.Looking at the newly published Media Sector Assessmentin Rwanda (June 2011), the difficulties facedby the local media to access some senior governmentofficials for interviews as compared to the foreign/international media, and the segregation betweenstate media and some private media, with the formergetting preferential treatment, point to an unhealthyrelationship between media and government.In this context, online media is flourishing. InRwanda, many people are exchanging informationthrough the use of internet, and many people accessthe internet through their mobile phones.An emerging number of news websites are becomingpopular and being considered as a free spaceto express citizen opinions on political and socioeconomicmatters. Among the popular sites are Igihe, 18Umuseke 19 and Igitondo, 20 which provide a free18 www.igihe .com19 www.umuseke.com20 www.igitondo.comspace for public comments. This is different to theNew Times 21 – an online version of a pro-governmentnewspaper – and the Rwanda Bureau of Informationand Broadcasting (Orinfor) 22 websites, which offerone-way communication without instant feedback.Another set of websites consists of governmentcriticalwebsites owned by some recognised mediahouses in Rwanda or based outside of the country.In this regard, Tom Rhodes from CPJ has asserted:“Even though there are four internet service providersin Rwanda, the government keeps a close, cozyrelationship with them allowing them to censorindependent news sites such as Umusingi and occasionallyUmuvugizi.” 23 This can give the impressionthat the private media sector in Rwanda is underrepression and that the government is aggressivetowards what watchdog organisations call “independent”media in Rwanda.Controversial and different views exist. Somepeople see the government’s efforts to put in placeinfrastructure and promote the use of the internetas progress towards changing the country’s socioeconomicsituation, which is a positive sign fora developing country, while others see the use ofthe internet as “a new way for Rwandans to discusstheir ethnic affiliations.” Others see it as a tool forpoliticians’ propaganda.In the meantime, Facebook is helping peoplepublish detailed information about their lives. Usersexpect some of these details to be public andothers to be kept private. They argue, reasonably,that adult users should be free to publish informationabout their lives if they choose to do so. Butlately many users have come to doubt Facebook’scommitment to privacy. 24Rwandan President Paul Kagame is very activeon Twitter. During the East African Internet21 www.newtimes.co.rw22 www.orinfor.gov.rw23 Rhodes, T. (2011) The Internet in East Africa: An aid or a weapon?,Committee to Protect Journalists, 17 June. www.cpj.org/blog/2011/06/the-internet-in-east-africa-an-aid-or-a-weapon.php24 roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/25/shouldgovernment-take-on-facebook226 / Global Information Society Watch


Governance Forum held in Kigali in August 2011,Senator Wellars Gasamagera stated that thepresident does not mind using social networksto respond openly to issues relating to the currentstate of governance in the country. Kagamewas recently featured on YouTube’s 25 Worldview,answering questions about Rwanda and life afterthe genocide. His presence here, in addition to hismonthly press conference with cabinet ministers,contributes to access to information for journalists,and makes the leaders accountable and responsiveto citizens. However, there is a need to measure theimpact of these interventions in solving people’sproblems.ConclusionIn Rwanda, the use of the internet is growing becauseof the government’s policy on infrastructurerollout. But despite the considerable number of internetconnection points all over the country, thereis still an information vacuum in Rwanda. Accessand literacy are all for the privileged few – evenelectricity is still a problem in rural areas. The internet’simpact on news standards is also mixed.Few local media publications enrich the far cornersof the country. Many of them plagiarise informationavailable on the internet. A large number of newsitems mix personal opinion with factual information– often a result of the lack of access to state information.As the Rwandan president has shown, thiscan to some extent be remedied using social media.The credibility of anonymous authors remainsan issue. According to Tom Ndahiro, a Rwandancivil society activist, “the internet has empoweredbigots and increased the anonymous sources ofdeleterious discourse. Before and slightly afterthe genocide Rwandans only received informationthrough print media and radios.” 26 In Rwanda, thereis a tendency towards not recognising professionaljournalism standards such as accuracy, fair balanceand responsibility where the news is often biased –both on and offline.Action steps• More space for debates between media andgovernment officials is needed so that thereis common agreement on issues of freedom ofexpression, access to information, privacy, legalframeworks, and the need for public awareness.• The youth and children should be proactivelyinvolved in discussions to prepare them for theresponsible use of the internet in the future.• Baseline research on internet use is needed inthe country. This should consider the issue offreedom of expression in conjunction with otherrights.• Clear instructions should be put in place toguide people on what to do when websites areblocked by internet service providers. n25 www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGbbK05nbJM26 Ndahiro, T. (2010) Media watchdogs in a post-genocide Rwanda:A Caveat, Friends of Evil, 30 November. friendsofevil.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/media-watchdogs-in-a-post-genocide-rwandaa-caveatrwanda / 227


SAUDI ARABIASocial networking and the women who aren’t allowedto drive carsSaudi Arabian Strategic Internet Consultancy (SASIc)Rafid Fataniwww.SASIconsult.comIntroductionIn November 2010 a revolution began in the federalstate of Tunisia. Revolutionary fervour soon spreadthroughout the Arab world, as political uprisingswere ignited by a hope to emulate Tunisians’newly found freedom from oppression. The reignof tyrannical regimes, synonymous with the Arabworld, was to be challenged. Perhaps surprisingly,the catalyst for this change was neither a politicalfigure, nor an army of soldiers, but ordinary citizensarmed with a new instrument of power: theinternet, and Web 2.0.In the midst of these developments, the westernregion of Saudi Arabia (in particular, Jeddah)suffered major floods, leading to widespread devastationand the loss of many lives. Victims of thesetragic events blamed the government. They claimedthat corruption within both government and privateindustry exacerbated the scale of the devastation.Substantial funding for drainage infrastructurein the region had been set aside in 2009, but theplanned projects did not materialise. In responseto the catastrophic events that unfolded, the authoritiesin Jeddah said they did not have thecapacity to prevent the floods, or to properly helpthose affected.These sorts of incidents, combined with a highunemployment rate, created discontent amongstthe public. The revolutionary contagion in North Africalooked certain to spread to Saudi Arabia. Some40% of the population is under fourteen years ofage, and unemployment hovers at persistently highlevels. Consequently, the country did not escaperadical protest, and political demands could notbe circumvented. Ultimately, however, the “revolutionaryfever” never quite gathered the momentumneeded to seriously endanger the political landscape.During March 2011, an anonymous groupcalled for a public protest to voice opposition tothe political regime. In response, the Saudi Arabianauthorities clamped down, violating the rights tofreedom of expression.Simmering change…What could have been the Saudi Arabian revolutioncontinues to simmer. Dissidents and reformistshave found a use for new media. Facebook, YouTube,Twitter and online forums have become the newmedium through which an agenda for change is beingformulated. The ease in reaching the masses inrelative freedom and anonymity afforded by digitalmedia has bolstered the willingness for open discussion,largely free from fear of persecution.The Saudi Arabian government was quick to realisethe risk posed by such open and uncheckeddiscussions, and proceeded to publish new regulatoryrestrictions for digital media, including blogs. Thenew rules, effective since January 2011, encourage allusers to register officially with the government, andstrictly prohibit criticism of Islam and all statementsthought to compromise public order.The new legislation sparked an outburst of criticismonline. A petition was signed by over 6,000Saudi Arabian citizens and sent to King AbdullahBin Abdul-Aziz requesting the implementation of aconstitutional monarchy. While the petition receivedno direct response from the King, the act of defiancecatalysed a move to push for economic, social andpolitical changes in Saudi Arabia. In late June 2011,a draft was leaked of a new anti-terrorism law thatwould allow the authorities to prosecute peacefuldissent as a terrorist crime, in partial response to theonline demonstrations. This law, if enacted, would allowextended detention without charge or trial. 1On 18 March 2011 King Abdullah commendedSaudi Arabians for their loyalty in the wake of theweeks of unrest, before issuing eighteen royaldecrees stipulating the introduction of a nationalminimum wage and unemployment benefits. Thenation has maintained its highly conservative attitudethroughout the uprisings in North Africa. As aconsequence of a new decree designed to furthercontrol religious dialogue, the government haspointedly issued official warnings, and ordered theclosure of numerous websites and satellite televisionshows. The aim is to subvert the influence offatwas 2 issued by clerics not sponsored by the state.1 Questioning the integrity of the King or the Crown Prince wouldcarry a minimum prison sentence of ten years under this new act.2 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatw%C4%81228 / Global Information Society Watch


Extremists online…The growing presence, relevance and consequenceof digital media and social networking have beenfurther recognised within religious power circles.In an attempt to pre-empt further uprisings in responseto censorship, Saudi Arabian clerics lookedto use social media as a medium for influenceand coercion. Sites such as Twitter, Facebook andYouTube have been used, attracting thousands offans, dousing the fire of revolution.The active and dynamic use of Twitter has beenutilised to disseminate the perspective of a conservativeSaudi majority and religious scholars, in thiscase with reference to the permissibility of wo mendriving cars. Egotistical and extreme religiousorthodox“scholars” such as Al-Ahmad maintaintheir own Facebook fan pages and use their onlinepresence to revile any call for open discussion onreforming the role of female rights in the country.Nevertheless, internet-based initiatives continueto serve as a useful instrument for politicalpressure. A simple campaign was created, callingfor the human rights of Saudi Arabian women tobe upheld. As a result, 17 June 2011 saw more than29 Saudi Arabian women drive their cars in protestagainst the kingdom’s de facto ban on femaledriving.The story of Manal al-SharifWomen in Saudi Arabia have had limited freedomof movement for a long time. In practice they arenot allowed to drive motor vehicles (period), nor arethey allowed to leave Saudi Arabia without consentfrom their male guardian – and in some cases, awoman’s son is her guardian.In 1990, 47 brave Saudi Arabian women from Riyadh’sintelligentsia were arrested, dismissed fromtheir jobs, and banned from travelling after staginga defiant protest. Disgust at the unwritten “law ofconvention” prohibiting women from driving wascarefully surfaced publicly as the women drove ina convoy of fourteen cars into the capital. Despitethe consequences for the women in 1990, defiancewas rekindled in the wake of the Arab world revolutionaryuprisings in 2011. This time, the protest hadglobal reach, as images and videos of women drivingthrough Saudi Arabia were posted on Facebookand Twitter.One of these women, Wajeha al-Huwaider, cofoundedthe Association for the Protection andDefense of Women’s Rights in Saudi Arabia in 2007with Fawzia al-Uyouni, another women’s rights activist.Together they created a petition that was signedby 1,100 Saudis and sent to King Abdullah asking forwomen to be allowed to drive. The petition was notofficially responded to, yet Huwaider did not waver.On International Women’s Day 2008, she filmedherself driving and received international media attentionafter the video was posted on YouTube. Yetagain, the Saudi government did not react.In 2011, inspired by the Arab Spring, a groupof Saudi activists started a campaign on Facebookcalled “Teach me how to drive so I can protectmyself”, 3 as well as under the hash tag #Women-2Drive 4 on Twitter, in an attempt to raise the issuepublicly once more. In a matter of days, over 12,000signatories showed their support on the Facebookcampaign page. One of the founders of the page,Manal al-Sharif, drove her car in Khobar, one of theprominent cities in the Eastern Province, with Huwaiderfilming the protest. She posted the video onYouTube and Facebook, saying in the video: “This isa volunteer campaign to help the girls of this country[learn to drive]. At least for times of emergency,God forbid. What if whoever is driving them has aheart attack?”She had also invited all women in Saudi Arabiato start driving on 17 June. After posting the video,she was detained by the religious police on 21 May,and released six hours later. Two days later, around600,000 people had watched the video.The response this campaign had created worriedthe authorities and they arrested her againon 22 May, causing international news agencies tofocus the world’s attention on the issue. Her lawyerAdnan al-Saleh said that she was charged with“inciting women to drive” and “rallying public opinion”.In reaction to al-Sharif’s arrest, several Saudiwomen published videos of themselves driving overthe next few days. In response, the authorities statedthat al-Sharif would remain in detention until 5June 2011, according to lawyer Waleed Aboul Khair.Different news organisations attributed thelong duration of al-Sharif’s detention to the Saudiauthorities’ fear of protest movements in Saudi Arabiagenerally. The National, a government-ownedEnglish-language daily newspaper published in AbuDhabi, said al-Sharif had written a letter to King Abdullahand that 4,500 Saudis had signed an onlinepetition to the King. The article described “an outpouringof indignation and disbelief by both Saudisand critics abroad that Ms al-Sharif was jailed forsomething that is not a moral or criminal offence.” 53 www.facebook.com/pages/Teach-me-how-to-drive-so-I-canprotect-myself/1322058668548794 See Twitter hashtag #Women2Drive for photos, videos, andcommentary.5 www.thenational.ae/news/worldwide/middle-east/saudi-womandriver-released-from-jail-after-nine-daysSAUDI ARABIA / 229


On 30 May al-Sharif was freed, under conditionsthat included bail, returning for questioning if requested,not talking to the media and not driving.Can social media help Saudi Arabianwomen drive?While not a reflection of the general public’s perspective,there has been vocal opposition to theprotests by conservative groups. An anti-drivinggroup on Facebook has called for “real men” tophysically attack those women choosing to drive.Female activists were dubbed “Westernisedwhores” on Twitter. It is clear that the far-reachingimmediacy of social media is now recognised byboth the orthodox conservatives and revolutionaryactivists.Those in defence of the right of women to driveargue that widespread support of the issue is immaterial;instead it should be considered an issue ofconstitutional morality, a matter of individual rights.While positive, statements by the social mediaactivist Eman Al Nafjan such as “We need to do itagain” are somewhat misguided. Protests thatendanger the well-being of women should not beconsidered an event – rather a means to an end.The campaign should remain active and ongoingsupporters should build momentum in order to galvanisechange.Social media have given voice to the masses, andinspired young, forward-thinking progressive SaudiArabians to ambitiously chase their aspirations.Many appealed to United States (US) Secretaryof State Hillary Clinton to emphasise her supportfor the issue. In response, she openly praised theactions of protesters, while stressing that their actionswere not motivated by outsiders.There remains a new sense of hope for constitutionalreform in Saudi Arabia. The relativeconservatism and diplomacy of the kingdom’smedia have been circumvented through access tothe internet. People from all over the world havecontributed to the “Honk for Saudi Women” viralcampaign.It has become apparent that times are changing,that the rules of engagement are now relevant tothe 21st century, but that the question still remainsas to whether social media can help change legislationin practice.Thoughts towards action stepsThis discussion represents only a small part of acomplex and evolving debate over the role of virtualand civil freedoms in Saudi Arabia. At the same time,online censorship reflects draconian laws in the “offline”world. The fact that Manal al-Sharif’s campaignwas kept alive by her supporters online, even afterit was deleted from various social media channels,shows the dramatic impact social media have inSaudi society. As seen in previous cases, today’s sociallyengaged audience likes to discuss things; andonce an incident goes viral, there is not much governmentcensorship can do in terms of controlling whatfollows. Uploading al-Sharif’s video on YouTube empoweredher cause in a smart way that enabled themessage to impact on internet users directly.Although the 17 June movement saw severalwomen drive around the country, it will beinteresting to see how much additional support andattention the #Women2Drive social media movementwill draw in the coming months. According toraw data, the male population, especially on Twitter,has been very active in discussions on the issue.However, as the campaign continues to gathersupport, more and more women tweet about theirsuccessful driving experiences in Saudi Arabia. Asthe momentum continues to build, we can expectto see an increase in the number of women usingsocial media to make their voices heard.The Saudi social media scene has been exceptionallyactive in the last few months following the ArabSpring. This has created an anti-autocratic movementamongst the Saudi youth to voice their concerns,knowing that the Saudi government can do little tocensor dialogue. While the government needs to introducelaws on privacy and individual rights, onlineas well as offline, young activists all over the kingdomare engaging in dialogue with the Saudi youth throughsocial media and people are becoming more aware ofthe political and social changes in the region.We have yet to reach the peak of the social mediaphenomenon, as there is so much more to expectfrom the tech-savvy youth of Saudi Arabia. Governmentalperspectives have yet to become a centralpart of the debate. The potential of technologies tocontribute to broader dialogue using Web 2.0 toolscan be felt – and the youth are now more capableand qualified to identify their liberty and rights. It isnow time for the government to choose, either to bepart of the debate, or part of the problem. n230 / Global Information Society Watch


spainThe internet in a new age of digital activismPangea and BarcelonaTech (UPC)Leandro Navarropangea.org and upc.eduIntroductionSeveral important events in Spain in the last year illustratehow intertwined and influential the internethas become in the life of citizens, human rights anddemocracy. These events include an online discussionon freedom of access to content, given a new lawlimiting web links and peer-to-peer (P2P) downloadsof copyrighted content; an online debate around theinternational Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement(ACTA); a discussion on equality legislation withrisks for content censorship on the internet; and thehighly visible 15 May (15M) social movement, 1 whichhas a strong internet presence. All of these show howthe internet has acquired a central role, not only asan enabler for access to knowledge and supportingfreedom of expression, but also as an effective toolfor collective expression and social activism and action– and its influence on the political and policyagenda is beginning to be felt.Given these events as background, this reporthas been compiled from the responses to questionnairescirculated to three internet and human rightsorganisations: X.net, 2 Asociación de Internautas(Internauts Association), 3 and Partit Pirata de Catalunya(Pirate Party of Catalonia). 4 In particular, wewanted to find out how they felt about the role ofthe internet in a new age of digital activism.Policy and political backgroundThe Spanish legal system is underpinned by EuropeanUnion (European Parliament) directives.The Spanish Constitution also takes into accountwhat it calls Popular Legislative Initiatives(ILPs) that allow grassroots initiatives to submit petitionsto be discussed by the Spanish parliament,or the parliaments of autonomous communities.However, this mechanism is seldom used, with a1 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Spanish_protests2 whois--x.net3 www.internautas.org4 pirata.catfew exceptions (e.g. a recent ILP to ban bullfightingin Catalonia due to animal abuse and killing wasdiscussed and approved as a law by the Catalanparliament), 5 and proposals are usually discardedin the parliamentary process.Privacy, data protection and data retention arementioned in the Spanish Constitution and coveredby the Data Protection Law (LOPD, 1999), whichcomplies with the European Directive 95/46 CE, theE‐Commerce Law (LSSI, 2002) – implementing Directive2000/31/CE, and partially Directive 98/27/CE – and Law 56/2007, dealing with the promotionof the information society.Freedom of expression on the internet was recentlychallenged by the so-called “Sinde Law”,which contains a controversial clause that wouldallow blocking websites with content or links infringingcopyright. However, this clause has notyet been implemented to our knowledge. Anotherpotential challenge to freedom of expression on theinternet is the proposed law on equality and nondiscrimination(popularly know as the “Pajín Law”)that might fine websites when content (includingcomments from visitors) could constitute direct orindirect discrimination.The role of the internet in citizenparticipationThe recent year in particular has been marked byonline activist initiatives. In many instances thishas been the result of tensions between businessinterests and social movements supporting humanrights. These tensions are evident at the nationaland global level. One of these local events was the15M movement. Many people participated in the15M gatherings, demonstrations and camps thathappened all over Spain. The movement used internetsites and tools to inform and promote the activeparticipation of citizens who felt the political andeconomic system was abusing democracy.For example, protest statements included oneslike “Europe for the citizens and not for the banks”.The movement developed a manifesto calling for anend to the privileges of politicians, an end to unemployment,the right to housing and good quality5 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ban_on_bullfighting_in_Cataloniaspain / 231


public services, the need to control banks, a taxon wealth and speculative capital movements, theguarantee of citizen freedoms and participatory democracy,and a reduction of military spending.The internet is playing a key role in complementingthese sorts of activities, and has been usedto collect and disseminate information, discuss andprioritise ideas, build consensus, and produce documentsand manifestos about how the political andeconomic system could be regenerated.When respondents were asked how effective theinternet was in collecting representative opinionsof Spanish citizens, the replies highlighted the keyimportance of extending internet access to morepeople; the fact that the internet is an interactivemedium that is democratising participation in politics;the role of internet communities and thematicthreads (including on Twitter) as a way for collectivedebate to occur; and the proliferation of voices,which stands in contrast to the presence of singleperspectives from the so-called “popes” of the net.Regarding the effectiveness of tools for collectiveparticipation and collective decision makingon the internet, replies highlighted the importanceof tools for the collaborative editing of documents(pads), knowledge sharing (wikis), email lists (witheducated users following netiquette) or websitescombining these with other specific web campaigningapplications – for example, the “Todos contrael canon” 6 (Everyone against the levy) campaignagainst the private copying levy. Decision-makingtools based on voting securely online were alsomentioned (e.g. IdeaTorrent, Helios Voting).Organisations, informal groups or campaignstaking an active role or representing the internetcommunity on issues of human rights and the internetwere also identified by respondents. Apartfrom the organisations surveyed themselves, theSpanish Association of Small and Medium Informaticsand New Tech Companies, 7 Hacktivistas,Red-SOStenible.net, the Oxcars, and the campaigns“Democracia Real YA” (Real Democracy NOW), FC-Forum.net, “Todos contra el canon”, and “No lesvotes” 8 (Don’t vote for them) were mentioned.Respondents shared the opinion that the establishedpolitical world effectively ignores criticalinternet issues, as events over the past year showto a different degree. For this reason the power ofthe internet to aggregate ideas and opinions usuallysurprises them. The reasons behind this generallack of interest in the internet include the idea that6 www.todoscontraelcanon.com7 www.apemit.org8 www.nolesvotes.comtraditional political parties and the public administrationdo not fully understand the internet or arenot able to incorporate its potential for a new way ofinteracting into their work, and that political partiesare based on a model that precludes close interactionwith citizens. It is illustrative to see that politicalparties during political campaigns tend to hire advertisingcompanies to create “an active presence” onsocial media sites – but after that they return to theirwebsites that largely offer a one-way flow of informationwithout any kind of support for “participatorydemocracy” or organised interaction with citizens.Even more worrying is that ideas from citizensexpressed and collectively formulated online canbe perceived as challenging the established politicalorder. This resistance to change affects politicsand social progress negatively.The net effect is that the political world ignoresmost initiatives or ideas coming through spontaneousor less formal groups that use the internet asa means to build or make visible proposals withoutgoing through the formal structures of politicalparties. They are usually perceived as manipulatedideas coming from a non-representative minority.There are a few exceptions of initiatives born on theinternet with a real impact, sometimes forced by theuse of established structures such as judicial decisionsor petitions.Regarding how internet rights should be consideredin the Spanish social and legal environment,the following issues were highlighted by respondentsas relevant given the tensions between internetpolicies, economic and business interests, humanrights and democracy:• The internet should be considered a basic toolfor communication, creation and innovation thatsupports citizen participation. Its neutrality andfreedom should be preserved.• Privacy, data protection and security are challengedby specific issues such as terrorismand the protection of intellectual property.This presents a dangerous move towards anOrwellian society. While security is necessary,it should not be at the expense of civil liberties.National laws and the European directivesshould be reformulated accordingly. Transparencyin mechanisms for security andprotection and their application is required fromthe government.• While the internet has helped to make governmentdecision making more transparent, it alsoallows for personal data to be accumulated. Citizensneed to be empowered so that they havemore control over how they are being tracked.232 / Global Information Society Watch


• Participation: ICTs enable the more democraticand direct participation of citizens. There is noneed to call for expensive and time-consumingreferendums to know the opinion of citizens, asthere are internet-based tools that can be usedto poll citizens on topics that affect them.• Universal broadband: Apart from the wellknownarguments in favour of universal access,there is also a growth in the provision of publicservices in the public administration in general.Services such as health or education are beingdelivered over the internet. In this way the netbecomes a means for citizen service and socialparticipation and access to the internet becomesa growing human rights concern.• Network neutrality: From the perspective of fundamentalhuman rights this is equivalent to theprinciple of equality and non-discrimination ofnetwork users, and its defence is essential forthe internet to be a basic tool for communicationfor everyone.• Author rights (intellectual property): Technologychanges require new business models. Thedigital private copying levy is unsustainable anda new equilibrium must be restored betweenauthor rights and the collective right of accessto culture. As the European Directive 2000/31/CE suggests, there is a need to “agree uponcodes of conduct.” Events such as FCForum orthe Oxcars have helped the creative sector tosee the social function of cultural production asa service to the community, as opposed to theindustrial model imposed by large multinationalmedia industries.Action stepsThere are several key topics of common interest forICT activists in Spain and Europe:• An obvious direction is strengthening coordinationamong multiple organisations in Spain towork in common directions. That is already happeningin most campaigns and occurs throughpersonal or organisational links. This type ofcoordination is also relevant to organisations inother countries of the EU or with pan-Europeanorganisations such as the European DigitalRights Initiative (EDRI) (Pangea and X.net arealready members).• Widening the political representation of the “internetworld” implies working towards includingmore citizens in the digital world. Strategies for“universal service” or “broadband for all”, timidlydiscussed at the national or European level(e.g. Digital Agenda 2020), or community networkinginitiatives such as Guifi.net, are waysto enable the internet as a tool for participationand e‐democracy. As has been said: “Theinternet is not just another TV.” 9 An accessible,affordable, universal and content-neutral internetwith open knowledge and open services isessential in the battle for civil rights in the 21stcentury. This requires supporting regulations: anational law, a European directive.• Network neutrality: Its defence is essential toavoid the internet ending up under the controlof just a few. Net neutrality requires the developmentof supporting regulations.• Independent internet media and services: Thishighlights the importance of choosing commerciallyindependent and community-ownedinternet services and applications (i.e. run bynon-profit social movements, such as the Wikimediafoundation) over those with commercialinterests (e.g. Facebook, Twitter). New modelsof cultural production have a key social role infacilitating access to rich and diverse contentfor communities.• Visibility on the street: ICT activism and politicalactivities on the internet should have a strongpresence “on the street” and a real impact inthe political arena. But the way to go is throughcomplementing internet initiatives with activitieson the ground, rather than working fromthe other way around (e.g. in the way that traditionalpolitical campaigns typically have a weakinternet presence).• ICT activism, “bottom-up politics”, and citizenparticipation using the internet are alreadystrong in Spain, as clearly shown by the 15Mmovement. These sorts of movements havebeen successful in developing manifestos followinga bottom-up and participatory process,and have been successful in attracting the attentionof both citizens and the traditionalmedia (press, TV). The challenge now is to beheard effectively by political parties and governmentalstructures – a task that is very difficultgiven that the political voice is coming from anunconventional source. n9 internetnoseraotratv.net/enspain / 233


© 2010 Zapiro (All rights reserved). Printed with permission from www.zapiro.com. For more Zapiro cartoons visit www.zapiro.com234 / Global Information Society Watch


swedenWikiLeaks in Sweden: A note on local source protectionin a global online worldAssociation for Progressive Communications (APC)Henrik Almströmwww.apc.orgIntroductionWhile the internet has enabled almost limitless possibilitiesto publish and disseminate large quantities ofdata, and opened up whistle-blowing opportunities innumerous contexts, the case of WikiLeaks has shownthat protection of sources has become a critical issue.Soon after it was established in 2007, WikiLeaksmoved its content to Swedish and Belgian serversto enjoy the strong legal protection of free speechthat these countries provide.WikiLeaks was not the only whistle-blowingsite around, but it had slowly built up confidence inthe internet community through strong encryptiontechnology and security routines. Together withsome very extraordinary leaks during 2010, the sitedeveloped into the most well-known global whistleblowingsite in the world.Since its inception, WikiLeaks has created majorcontroversies, whether through making informationpublically available, or being blocked from creditcard donations, or through accusations of sexualcrimes against its founder, Julian Assange.This report focuses on WikiLeaks’ presence inSweden, and what WikiLeaks may have achievedor not achieved through this. The rape allegationsagainst Assange and the issue of his extradition toSweden have deliberately not been dealt with. Forone, the situation has the potential to cloud the issueof the function of WikiLeaks and fundamentalcivil rights. Some might argue that the accusationsare part of attempts by the Swedish state in collusionwith the United States (US) authorities to continueto discredit WikiLeaks, and to deny its potential as apowerful human rights tool. Others may argue thatAssange, by using WikiLeaks as leverage to avoidpersonal legal proceedings, is jeopardising the futureof WikiLeaks. How the controversy fits into thescenario is currently open to speculation only.Policy and political backgroundFreedom of expression has a long history in Sweden,and the first law protecting free speech dates backto 1766. In addition to the right for any individualto express oneself freely there is strong and comprehensiveprotection for the press through twoconstitutional laws, the Freedom of the Press ActSFS 1949:105 and the Fundamental Law on Freedomof Expression SFS 1991:1469.The legislation, which establishes protectionfrom interference from the government and otherstate bodies, is detailed and describes a number ofrequirements to qualify for protection. These relateto how, in which form, to what purpose and throughwhat media the material is being published, butdo not relate to the actual content of the publication.For example, commercial advertising doesnot qualify because of its commercial purpose and,similarly, private email does not qualify because it isnot intended to be published publicly.The main requirements for protection of internetcontent are: 1• That the material is provided upon specificrequest from a user (i.e. not through using automaticwebsite pop-ups).• That the website appears as a uniform product(e.g. it should have a coherent design and cannotbe a mass of unformatted or unedited dataor text simply put online).• That the website content cannot be altered orchanged by anyone other than the editorial staffrunning the website.If these requirements are fulfilled, the editor mayfile for a so-called “Certificate of No Legal Impedimentto Publication”, which certifies that thewebsite and its content, as well as the editorial staffand their sources, are protected through: 2• Source protection – sources have the right tostay anonymous and it is a criminal offence foreditorial staff to reveal any information aboutthe source.• Inquiry protection – no public authority or otherpublic body may inquire into the identity of thesource. 31 The Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression, Article 9, Chapter 1.2 The Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression, Chapter 2.3 The Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression, Article 4, Chapter 2.SWEDEN / 235


• Prohibition of censoring 4 – any scrutiny ofcontent prior to publication or similar act of censoringfrom a public authority or other publicbody is prohibited.However, a Certificate of No Legal Impedimentto Publication not only entails protection, it alsomeans responsibilities: it requires the appointmentof a named responsible editor who is liable for allcontent on the website. This is only in relation to anexclusive and limited list of criminal offences, whichcan only be prosecuted by the Chancellor of Justicein accordance with the rules laid down in the Freedomof the Press Act. 5The principles behind the constitutional protectioncan be compared to that of a boxing ring. Boxersenter the ring knowing that in the ring certain rulesapply, protecting them from illegal actions; but theyare at the same time subject to certain physicalrisks that are allowed by the same rules that protectthem in the first place. The risk of taking on theliability of being a responsible editor is somethingthe editor would have to accept to be able to enjoythe benefits of source protection, inquiry protectionand prohibition of censoring.It is, however, important to understand that theprotection of sources only relates to the protectionof anonymous sources, and not the protection of awhistle blower as such. If an anonymous source isrevealed, the protection for the individual is very limited.The Swedish legislation does not provide anyprotection from retaliatory actions taken by, for example,private companies or foreign governments.It is therefore critical to protect the anonymity ofthe source in the first place, particularly in the caseof international leaks, where the source may comefrom a country with poor rule of law, and thereforemay face arbitrary retaliation from the state.The benefits of legal uncertainty...Being a whistle-blowing site, WikiLeaks is criticallydependent on sources for information, and onthe protection of these sources. One of WikiLeaks’strong advantages, which has contributed to thesuccess of the site, is its reputation of being able tokeep its sources completely anonymous.WikiLeaks source protection is primarily technical,with a sophisticated and partly secret systemwhere individuals can file information in a “dropbox”.This first step is important as it avoids anyface-to-face interaction between the source andWikiLeaks. While traditional journalists often have4 The Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression, Article 3, Chapter 1.5 The Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression, Article 1, Chapter7, with reference to Freedom of the Press Act, Article 1-4, Chapter 9.to build up trust with sources to develop a story,the drop-box system enables leaking at anytime byanyone, without a relationship being developed betweentwo individuals.After the drop-box system, multiple servers indifferent countries create a complex system of informationflow that makes it virtually impossible forany individual within the WikiLeaks organisation toidentify a source without collaborating with numerousother colleagues in the organisation. This wayWikiLeaks has ensured technical measures as wellas organisational structures and staff routines toprotect the sources.When looking for strong legal protection, thestep to Sweden was not a long one; already earlyin the history of WikiLeaks, the organisation hadput many of its servers in Sweden with help fromcompanies with a background in the Swedish filesharingsite Pirate Bay.As described above, the Swedish legal protectionoffered to sources is strong – as long as the leakis kept anonymous. Locating its servers in Swedenalso means that any foreign government that wouldbe interested in investigating a leak, or in tracing theinformation back to a possible leak, or even takingmeasures to prevent the publication of a particularleak, would have to take legal measures in Sweden.Generally this would not be possible without collaborationwith Swedish public authorities. Any suchcollaboration would mean that Swedish public authorityofficials would be guilty of violating the law, whichis punishable by a fine or imprisonment for up to oneyear. 6 They could also face being fired. Of course, itdoes happen that Swedish public authority officialsviolate the freedom of the press laws, but generallythe laws are well known and well respected, and casesof violations are brought to court in accordance withthe special procedures set forth in the Freedom of thePress Act. 7 This means that foreign governments orother actors would be left to take measures againstWikiLeaks entirely on their own, without support fromSwedish public authorities.With this protection in sight, WikiLeaks decidedto apply for the Certificate of No Legal Impedimentto Publication in accordance with the FundamentalLaw on Freedom of Expression. 8 Appearing tocomply with the requirements for the certificate,this was a natural step to enjoy strong legal protection.An important factor here was that WikiLeaks,in spite of its name, is not a wiki: its content is not6 The Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression, Article 5, Chapter 2.7 The Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression, Article 1, Chapter7, with reference to Freedom of the Press Act, Article 1-4, Chapter 9.8 The Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression, Article 4, Chapter 2.236 / Global Information Society Watch


user-generated. All content is submitted or leakedthrough the drop-box system, but then, as a secondstep, published by the WikiLeaks organisation. Thislevel of gatekeeping means that it functions morelike a traditional media outlet.For WikiLeaks to receive the certificate, the organisationneeded to appoint a responsible editor,and this editor needed to be accountable in Sweden,which means the editor would need to be aSwedish citizen or have valid Swedish residenceand a work permit. Assange was appointed responsibleeditor and applied for Swedish residence anda work permit at the Swedish Migration Board.The application for residence and work permitwas, however, denied and WikiLeaks did not qualifyfor the Certificate of No Legal Impediment to Publication.The reason behind the decision by the SwedishMigration Board is not available as the board’s decisionsare not public. At the time of writing, thegrounds for the decision of the Swedish MigrationBoard have to the best of my knowledge not beenleaked by the Board, nor by Assange himself.Being denied the certificate means that Wiki-Leaks did not become expressly protected by theSwedish constitution. But since the website maycomply with the requirements for protection, the sitemay still be considered protected, as the legislationprovides for automatic protection in some cases, includingfor some mass media organisations. 9 Thissecond type of protection, which includes the sameprotection as the “regular” protection, automaticallyapplies and is in force without any form of priorregistration or application process. Whether Wiki-Leaks should be considered protected or not, underthe automatic protection for mass media organisations,currently remains unclear.The denial of the application is, of course, a setbackfor WikiLeaks. However, the fact that WikiLeaksmay enjoy protection without the Certificate of NoLegal Impediment to Publication is an uncertaintythat in itself is a protection from interference fromany inquiry, scrutiny or censoring from a Swedishpublic authority. The uncertainty is likely to determost Swedish public authorities and their employeesfrom investigating leaks and sources, as well astrying to interfere with what is being published, asthe individual conducting the search or action facesthe risk of criminal charges. As a result, the uncertaintymay still work in WikiLeaks’ favour.ConclusionsEven if Assange was given a work permit, enablingWikiLeaks to be granted the Certificate of No LegalImpediment to Publication, would this then havebeen something valuable for WikiLeaks?Clear legal protection often implies being subsumedinto a legal system, a system which mightnot be adapted to all the needs of Wiki Leaks. TheSwedish system for the protection of the pressis aimed at traditional printed newspapers, withadjustments that cater for online supplementsto newspapers and, more recently, to onlinedatabases. 10 Instead of publishing traditionally editedarticles, original documents are published onWikiLeaks after a somewhat limited fact check. Thismodel of mass media might not fit perfectly well ina system which requires a single responsible editor,which is the main requirement for enjoying fullprotection in Sweden.Instead, the legal uncertainty of WikiLeaks,which is currently the case, may work in WikiLeaks’favour.Action stepsThe process of WikiLeaks’ endeavours to enablesafe and secure leaking is an ongoing story whichis the case for anyone dealing with the publicationof sensitive content online. In the case of WikiLeaksthe outcome is unclear, with more questions thananswers. However, some conclusions can be drawn:• Source protection, legal as well as technical,must build upon strict procedures and routines.• Legal source protection should always be combinedwith technical protection and vice versa.• Legal source protection is normally not the sameas whistle-blower protection. Even under Sweden’slegal protection, an individual source whois revealed would only enjoy very limited protection,particularly in an international context.• Strong legal protection might not always be thebest option – stronger technical measures thatprotect the anonymity of sources, including mirroringservers in different parts of the world,may prove more effective. n9 The Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression, Article 9, Chapter 1.10 The Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression, Article 1, Chapter 1.SWEDEN / 237


switzerlandSurveillance and security mania violating basic rightsComunica-chWolf Ludwigwww.comunica-ch.netIntroductionSwitzerland is generally not perceived as a countryconflicting with international human rights standards.According to United Nations (UN) reportsand other specialised human rights sources, basicrights like freedom of speech and associationand the right of access to information are normallygranted. Problem areas, with obvious deficits anddemands for improvement, are the rights of asylumseekers, migrants or religious minorities suchas Muslims living in the country. 1 In the 2010 WorldPress Freedom Index published by Reporters WithoutBorders, Switzerland again shares first placewith a number of Nordic countries: “These sixcountries set an example in the way they respectjournalists and news media and protect them fromjudicial abuse.” 2But in the context of digital access rights, Switzerlandis still not at the forefront compared toNordic countries like Finland. And issues of privacy,amongst other concerns, have been raised regardingnew surveillance regulations that are part ofnational security and telecommunication laws. Asin other countries, widespread security considerations– mostly referring to terrorist threats or childpornography – are increasingly threatening and underminingthe principles of access and openness,as well as civil rights.1 UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,Concluding observations of the Committee on Economic, Socialand Cultural Rights, Switzerland, 26 November 2010; UN HumanRights Committee, Concluding observations of the Human RightsCommittee, Switzerland, 3 November 2009. www.unhcr.org/refworld/country,,HRC,,CHE,4562d8b62,4afbda552,0.html;Internet should remain as open as possible – UN expert onfreedom of expression, Press Releases, Special Rapporteur onfreedom of expression, June 2011. www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=11108&LangID=E2 Reporters without Borders (2010) 2010 World Press Freedom Index.www.reporter-ohne-grenzen.de/fileadmin/rte/docs/2010/101019_Europa_GB.pdfPolicy and political backgroundMost attempts to revise legal instruments and lawsin Switzerland have been strongly disputed and criticisedin the last years. Even if “most internet usersare concerned about security,” according to a 2010survey on internet use conducted by the Federal StatisticalOffice (FSO), the proposed law revisions seemto be inappropriate and do not find approval fromcivil society organisations and the business sector. 3The proposed revision of the Federal Act on Measuresfor Safeguarding National Security (BWIS) 4 wantsto introduce new preventive security measures, butwas rejected by Parliament in spring 2009. One ofthe main concerns is the suggested surveillance ofnon-public spaces. From a human rights viewpoint,a thorough assessment of legally protected interestsas well as of the concept of freedom versus security isneeded. 5 The process of revision is still ongoing andwill not be completed until the end of 2012.Another law that is strongly contested is theRevision of the Federal Act on the Surveillance ofPost and Telecommunications (BÜPF). The FederalDepartment of Justice and Police argues that theact “needs to be adapted to new technologicaldevelopments, including the Internet” and relatedcommunication tools. 6 In the BÜPF consultation,from May to September 2010, the official languagesounds merely technical, and avoids stating anypolitical implications. Government officials justpromise: “Not more but better surveillance.” 73 Omnibus 2010 Survey on Internet Use conducted by theFederal Statistical Office (FSO), February 2011. www.admin.ch/aktuell/00089/index.html?lang=en&msg-id=375404 Please note that English is not an official language of the SwissConfederation. The legal and other translations provided here are notnecessarily “official” translations and therefore have no legal force.5 Zusatzbotschaft und Entwurf für die Änderung des Bundesgesetzesüber Massnahmen zur Wahrung der inneren Sicherheit, pressrelease, October 2010. www.vbs.admin.ch/internet/vbs/de/home/documentation/news/news_detail.35915.nsb.html;Staatsschutz in Lightversion – Wichtige Punkte werden spätergeregelt, humanrights, Focus Switzerland (Update: 08.11.2010).www.humanrights.ch/de/Schweiz/Inneres/Person/Sicherheit/idart_8257-content.html?zur=8276 „Ablehnende Stellungnahme zum Entwurf BWIS II“, press release,29 September 2006. www.humanrights.ch/de/Schweiz/Inneres/Person/Sicherheit/idart_4576-content.html7 Überwachung des Fernmeldeverkehrs an die technischeEntwicklung anpassen, Vernehmlassung zur Änderung des BÜPFeröffnet, press release EJPD, 19 May 2010. www.ejpd.admin.ch/content/ejpd/de/home/dokumentation/mi/2010/2010-05-19.html238 / Global Information Society Watch


Broad-scale surveillance widely contestedOver the last years the legal instruments and optionsto increase state surveillance were systematicallyextended in Switzerland – by the two legislativerevisions mentioned, and through other laws stillpending. The official tapping of phone lines andcomputers, wiretapping of private spaces or theuse of other surveillance methods are, accordingto various civil and human rights organisations andnetworks, “violating several basic rights grantedby the constitution and are not appropriate underrule of law considerations.” 8 A spokesperson for theSwiss Pirate Party recently said: “[There] are manylittle steps that we accept in the name of security.But suddenly we have a surveillance state.” 9State security forces are permitted to stake outpeople in public and generally accessible spaces,including using cameras and bugging devices. Butthe private sphere has been legally protected sincethe Secret Files Scandal which shocked the publicin 1989. 10 Following this, the Federal Court affirmedthat measures by security forces interfering in theprivate sphere needed a judicial writ. 11According to the proposed BÜPF law, internetservice providers (ISPs) are forced to upgrade theirsurveillance and storage capacities to completelycontrol broadband internet communication – in realtime. This enables a systematic surveillance of anysurfing behaviour of internet users in the country.The technology and devices for surveillance upgradeson behalf of state security must be paid forby the service providers themselves. According tosome, the cost could amount to anything from halfa million to more than one million Swiss francs,depending on the size of the access provider. Theusual compensation for these sorts of collaborativeefforts and services will not be given under the newlaw. Observers predict that most of the 650 ISPsin Switzerland will not be able to afford costly upgradeslike this and – except for the bigger marketplayers – will have to close down. 128 „Ablehnende Stellungnahme zum Entwurf BWIS II“, press release,29 September 2006. www.humanrights.ch/de/Schweiz/Inneres/Person/Sicherheit/idart_4576-content.html9 „Überwachungswahn der Beamten in Bern“, Tagesanzeiger,19 August 2010. www.tagesanzeiger.ch/digital/internet/berwachungswahn-der-Beamten-in-Bern/story/1240327110 Wikipedia, Secret Files Scandal. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secret_files_scandal11 „Unter Druck der Amerikaner“, Interview „Der Bund“, April 2006.www.humanrights.ch/upload/pdf/060218_bund_staatsschutz_weber.pdf12 Spitzel im Netz, Handelszeitung, 14 July 2011. www.handelszeitung.ch/unternehmen/spitzel-im-netzFederal department pushed to explainIn the first round of the usual consultations on newlaws 13 between May and September 2010 the proposedBÜPF revisions were harshly criticised by moststakeholders from the business sector and civil society.The strongest concern was raised about theintended installation of Trojan horses on computersof suspects and the lengthening of the current dataretention period from six to twelve months. (Underthe contested data retention rules, ISPs are obligedto store comprehensive customer data to be deliveredto security forces on demand). Another bone ofcontention is a new broad definition of “access providers”,including all sorts of internet-related services.The broad resistance from various parts of society –including the right-wing Swiss Peoples Party (SVP/UDC), usually at the law and order front – causedsome delays in the legislative procedure and pushedthe Federal Department of Justice and Police into a crisiswhere they needed to explain their motives. Sincethe end of the consultation period, almost a year ago,there has been a remarkable silence.Until recently: in early June 2011, the FederalDepartment of Justice and Police launchedanother consultation regarding a part-revision ofthe Ordinance on the Surveillance of Post and Telecommunications(VÜPF). 14 Observers are surprisedthat the Ordinance suddenly needs to be revised beforethe respective federal law (BÜPF) is passed – itnormally happens the other way round. One of theofficial arguments for the hurry is that the Ordinancewill allow Switzerland to sign the Council of Europe’sCybercrime Convention at the beginning of 2012. Butcritics surmise that an accelerated revision of the Ordinancemay circumvent the legislative power of theParliament without creating the required legislativebasis for any new surveillance laws. And the recentVÜPF proposal still includes many of the stronglycontested measures from the BÜPF: comprehensivestate surveillance of internet traffic, lacking limits ofmonitoring options and areas, as well as too vaguelydefined legitimate targets for surveillance (not onlyvery serious crime or terrorism, as some suggest).The protection of privacy has also not been consideredproperly. 15 This has pushed some in the Swissmedia to ask for a “pause for reflection.” 1613 Vernehmlassungen, Swiss Confederation website. www.admin.ch/dokumentation/gesetz/pc/index.html?lang=de14 Revision des BÜPF und der VÜPF, Federal Department of Justiceand Police website, August 2011. www.ejpd.admin.ch/content/ejpd/de/home/dokumentation/info/2011/2011-08-120.html15 Spitzel im Netz, Handelszeitung, 14 July 2011. www.handelszeitung.ch/unternehmen/spitzel-im-netz16 Überwachung, Eine Denkpause ist nötig, Handelszeitung, 14 July2011 (not available online).switzerland / 239


Substantial privacy concernsIn his proposal regarding the BÜPF revision, the FederalData Protection and Information Commissioner(FDPIC) found fault with the “too openly defined fieldof application of the law.” Furthermore, the FDPIC considersthe intended catalogue of criminal offences, inthe Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO), as “too comprehensiveregarding the placement of Trojan horseson computers and smartphones” because this offers“massive interference with the private life of peopleconcerned.” Besides telecommunications, all data onthe computer, including private and personal data, canbe monitored after the installation of the surveillanceprogrammes. These concerns were not taken into considerationin the BÜPF consultation draft.The draft law provides access to the information ofmonitored persons but not for their spouses or communicationpartners who are not part of the criminalprocedure, but were affected by the surveillance anddata storage. In his statement the Commissioner furtherreferred to the German Constitutional Court judgementthat data retention should be allowed only undercertain conditions. In view of this, the planned prolongationof the data retention period to twelve monthsin Switzerland should be reassessed under aspects ofproportionality. 17 According to other official sources,such as the Federal Department of Justice and Police,around 50 internet surveillances have been conductedagainst criminal organisations (involved in crimes suchas blackmailing and money laundering) over the lastyears. 18 This figure does not offer much evidence for thestate’s demand for the widespread upgrade of surveillancecapacities of Swiss access providers.The biggest player on the Swiss telecom market,Swisscom and its competitor Sunrise, recentlysuccessfully sued the Federal Department of Justiceand Police. In its verdict the Federal AdministrationCourt approved the refusal of the two telecomproviders to monitor the mobile internet traffic ofsuspects in police investigations. Costly investmentsin special devices would be needed for thispurpose. And the provisions in law for such forcedinvestments are missing. How the internet may bemonitored is also not specified in the draft law norin the Ordinance. The state ordering the surveillancewas therefore judged “unlawful”. 1917 FDPIC proposal on the revision of the BÜPF, 18th AnnualReport 2010-11, point 1.4.9, June 2011. www.edoeb.admin.ch/dokumentation/00445/00509/01732/01753/index.html?lang=de18 Swisscom kritisiert Schnüffelaufträge, Handelszeitung, 13 July2011. www.handelszeitung.ch/unternehmen/swisscom-kritisiertschnueffelauftraege19 Swisscom kritisiert Schnüffelaufträge, Handelszeitung, 13 July2011. www.handelszeitung.ch/unternehmen/swisscom-kritisiertschnueffelauftraegeSince the revelation of a second Secret FilesScandal in summer 2010, and similar incidents,the confidence of the public in security forces hasnotably decreased. A Swiss daily paper, under theheadline “The Secret Files Scandal – a story of liesand deception”, said the recent scandal is “not onlya story of over-zealous spies and sluggish controllersbut a chronicle of lies and deception – from thesecret service up to the Federal Council.” Regardingthe continuous revision of the Federal Act on Measuresfor Safeguarding National Security (BWIS), aparliamentarian and member of the Social DemocraticParty announced that “our side will only givehand to it [support the new legislation], if strongcontrol mechanisms are granted.” 20 Until now securitymatters are usually ab/used to increase thepower and impact of secret and security servicesand law enforcement agencies.Conclusions: A question of credibilityand proportionalityAs in other European countries, state security andcyber crime continue to be raised as worrying issuesin the media and in public opinion. Any socialor security issue, such as child pornography orpaedophilia, the lack of privacy awareness amongsocial networks users, or other current irritationsand abuses in the digital age, give ground to theproponents of all sorts of new laws and protections,and to those who argue for more power and controlof society by security forces.Generally, human and civil rights concerns areraised by the usual suspects, such as civil societyorganisations, trade unions and left-wing parties,and do not find much support in other political circles.In the case of the BÜPF and VÜPF revisions,a broad alliance of different stakeholders in Swisssociety has already shown resistance against thenew surveillance laws. The row of unusual suspectsranges from access providers, various business associationsand the right-wing Swiss People’s Party(the Christian Democratic People’s Party and theLiberal Party announced themselves indifferent inthis matter). Swiss telecom and access providers almostunanimously refuse to be (mis)used as deputysheriffs for state prosecutions. This broad politicalconcern and alliance offer reason for hope that theplanned surveillance act may not be applied.20 Die Fichenaffäre – eine Geschichte von Lug und Trug,Tagesanzeiger, 5 July 2010. www.tagesanzeiger.ch/schweiz/standard/Die-Fichen affaere--eine-Geschichte-von-Lug-und-Trug/story/16223362240 / Global Information Society Watch


The analysis of the Swiss human and civil rightssituation in the information society shows that thecountry may be among the best candidates in termsof freedom of expression and access and opennessprinciples, but that all sorts of security concernssystematically violate basic citizen rights – as inmany other European countries where human rightsare said to be fundamental and respected.Action steps• If the BÜPF should pass the legislative chambers,civil society networks and businessassociations may consider calling for a referendumto stop this law, in line with the Swisstradition of direct democracy. The chances forsuccess are not evident, even considering abroader political alliance, but it will prolong thepublic discourse on state surveillance and securitymeasures undermining fundamental rights.• Strengthen parliamentarian and public controlover any new security and surveillance laws includingordinances.• Establish an independent national human rightsinstitution that complies with the principles relatingto the status of national institutions for thepromotion and protection of human rights (ParisPrinciples and Recommendation 6, UN Committeeon Economic, Social and Cultural Rights).• Provide more human rights education to parliamentarians(in line with Recommendation 21,UN Committee on Economic, Social and CulturalRights).• Expunge Article 293 of the Swiss CriminalCode which threatens media and other peoplewith punishment when quoting official sourcesdefined as “confidential” and in doing so contradictsthe Federal Open Government Act. nLinks of stakeholders – civil societyand business actorsHumanrights.ch (MERS), Focus Switzerlandwww.humanrights.ch/de/Schweiz/Inneres/Person/Sicherheit/index.htmlAmnesty International, Swiss sectionwww.amnesty.ch/en?set_language=en&cl=enGrundrechte.ch www.grundrechte.chDemokratische Juristinnen und Juristen der Schweizwww.djs-jds.chSwiss Privacy Foundation www.privacyfoundation.chDigitale Gesellschaft www.digitale-gesellschaft.chDigitale Allmend blog.allmend.chSwiss Internet User Group (SIUG) www.siug.chICT Switzerland www.ictswitzerland.chInformation Security Society Switzerland (ISSS)www.isss.chSwiss Telecommunications Association (asut)www.asut.ch/content/content_renderer.phpswitzerland / 241


tanzaniaJamming the news: Taking the struggle onlineCollaboration on International ICT Policy for Eastand Southern Africa (CIPESA)Lillian Nalwogawww.cipesa.orgIntroductionSince independence, Tanzania, under the ChamaCha Mapinduzi (CCM) party, has enjoyed politicalstability and national unity more than other countriesin a region wrecked by civil wars. However, therecent elections in October 2010 won by incumbentpresident Jakaya Kikwete saw CCM’s popularityslide from 80.2% in the December 2005 elections 1to 61.2% of the vote. 2 With this came a worrying intolerancefor critical media both online and offline.A number of journalists have been intimidated andharassed by government officials for questioningthe government’s democratic credentials, whilesome political and social rallies and demonstrationshave been repressed. To fight this new authoritarianism,some Tanzanians, including politicians, 3have resorted to social media to express their views.However, the government has also been implicatedin attempts to block websites and blogs whose contenthas been perceived as a threat.To its credit, Tanzania’s government has workedto boost the country’s internet infrastructure. Thenational fibre-optic network currently under constructionis set to cover all districts in the countryby June 2012. Out of the 26 regions and 127 districtsin the country, 19 regions and 59 districts have beenconnected to the network so far. 4 The Tanzania CommunicationsRegulatory Authority (TCRA) reportsthat by June 2010 there were 4.8 million internetusers and 19.5 million telephone subscribers froma population of 43.7 million. 5 Nonetheless, the lowliteracy levels, low levels of infrastructure rollout1 Tanzania 2005 presidential election results:www.eisa.org.za/WEP/tan2005resultsa.html2 National Electoral Commission: nec.go.tz/pdf/Presidentials.pdf3 Tungaraza, J. N. (2011) Tanzania: Opposition MP Tweets His Arrest,Global Voices, 5 June. globalvoicesonline.org/2011/06/05/tanzania-opposition-mp-tweets-his-arrest4 Saiboko, A. (2011) Kikwete: Fibre-optic network to cover alldistricts next year, Daily News, 25 May. www.dailynews.co.tz/home/?n=20151&cat=home5 Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (2010) Reporton Internet and Data Services in Tanzania. tcra.go.tz/display.php?type=headlines&code=46beyond major urban centres, and high access andusage costs still bar the wider majority of Tanzaniansfrom the information society.Policy and political backgroundAt the policy level, the country has laws that seem toimprove citizens’ rights to information and freedomof expression. However, for the most part the samelegislation gives with one hand and takes away withthe other. Article 18 of the Tanzanian Constitutionguarantees the right to freedom of expression andthe right to seek, receive and impart information.But the constitution in semi-autonomous Zanzibaronly gives citizens the right to receive information.It gives no rights to seek or impart it. Theseguarantees are also insufficiently implementedin Tanzanian domestic legislation. This is mainlywitnessed in restrictive laws applied by the governmentthat limit freedom of expression.For example, in the Police Force and AuxiliaryPolice Act of 2002, Sections 43, 44, 45 and 46 providea number of subjective unrestricted powersto police officers without laying down objectivecriteria for issuing stop orders when censoring information.Further, the National Security Act of 1970gives the government absolute capacity to definewhat should be disclosed to or withheld from thepublic, and makes it a punishable offence to in anyway investigate, obtain, possess, comment on, passon or publish any document or information whichthe government considers to be classified. In addition,the 1976 Newspaper Act sets limitations onwhat public servants can reveal to the public.Whereas the Electronic and Postal CommunicationsAct of 2010 6 calls for the observation of therights to freedom of expression and information, ithas come under scrutiny for not being user friendly,as it focuses more on punishing offenders ratherthan exploring the possibilities and potential in thecommunications sector. 76 The Electronic and Postal Communications Act was enacted tokeep abreast with developments in the electronic communicationsindustry, and provide for a comprehensive regulatory regime forelectronic and postal communications services providers.7 Media Council of Tanzania (2011) Tanzania: State of theMedia Report, 2010. www.mct.or.tz/mediacouncil/index.php?option=com_phocadownload&view=category&download=27:state-of-the-media-report-2010&id=1:downloads&Itemid=867242 / Global Information Society Watch


Attempts to control social media…Tanzania has seen an increase in online publishing.In a country where freedom of expression and associationare being suppressed, internet users haveresorted to searching for information from othermedia such as the internet. Because of this, theTanzanian government has been accused of blockingwebsites and blogs it has perceived as a threat.One such website is JamiiForums.com, whichhas become a target for the Tanzanian government.The website publishes and discusses topics rangingfrom politics and economics to societal issuesin Tanzania and beyond. On average, over 20,000people visit the forums daily and spend at least seventeenminutes browsing at least eleven pages perperson. The membership registration increases at arate of 25% every month. Currently there are about40,000 registered members. 8 This makes JamiiForumsone of the most popular and vibrant websitesin Tanzania.However, on a number of occasions, the forumhas come under attack by the government over allegationsthat it was working to “undermine” theruling party and the government. In April 2011 theforum’s hosts reacted with a press release reassuringtheir members that the government allegationswere intended to threaten and deter the onlinecommunity from exercising their freedom of speechand association. 9 The forum’s hosts have also, ona number of occasions, been interrogated by theauthorities over content that irked the government.In a recent British Broadcasting Corporation (BCC)article, it was reported that the government is cloningthe JamiiForums website in an attempt to controlcontent produced on that website. 10 Although thegovernment has not come out and admitted thisnew allegation, it is believed that it is now tryingto institute a mechanism through which contenton social media sites can be controlled or evencensored, as seen in China. 11 Evidence of this is inthe proposed Information and Broadcasting Policy2007, currently under review, which will requireeveryone wishing to establish blogs or websites toregister with the registrar of companies and also get8 JamiiForums, where we dare to talk openly: www.jamiiforums.com/index.php9 JamiiForums (2011) Tanzania’s Ruling Party threatens online socialmedia, Fikra Pevu, 19 April. www.fikrapevu.com/habari/politicalparanoia-tanzanias-ruling-party-in-fear-of-online-social-media10 Allen, K. (2011) African jitters over blogs and social media,BBC News, 18 June. www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13786143#story_continues_111 Internet censorship in the People’s Republic of China:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_the_People%27s_Republic_of_Chinaa licence from the TCRA. 12 However, this policy hasnot been welcomed by media activists, who haveproposed a number of recommendations includingremoval of the proposition on the internet, notingthat that the internet cannot be treated in the samemanner as radio and television broadcasters.Print media has not been spared in the governmentcrackdown. Local newspapers have comeunder constant attack for allegedly publishing articlescritical of the government. 13 A crackdown onopposition demonstrations has also seen freedomof expression and association come under attack.Demonstrators have faced resistance from policeand government when they have attempted to exercisetheir rights to protest. 14An increase in internet penetration from 5%in 2005 to 11% in June 2010 in Tanzania indicatesa gradual increase in internet usage. This increasemay be attributed to the proliferation of mobilephones in the country, which allows citizens to accessmobile internet anywhere. Political activists,civil society organisations and journalists are usingthe internet to voice their concerns, and to reach awide range of citizens. Organisations like Article 19,the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT), the TanzaniaMedia Women’s Association (TAMWA) and Darajaare using online platforms to urge citizens to holdthe government accountable.In cases of biased reporting from government-