Tag Archives: politics

Internet Censorship vs Freedom of Expression

Zachary Sniderman on Mashable published an interesting article titled, Just How Open Is Your Internet?. I thought the featured map looked a little bit fishy – Mongolia has less internet censorship than Sweden? Really? What does that mean? It seemed to me that there might be something missing from the account. To his credit Mr Sniderman does note

…it raises some inherent problems with defining “censorship.” For example, screening out child pornography and illegal file sharing technically registers as “censorship” even though most people wouldn’t consider that a human rights offense.

Even accounting for his concerns it still looked a bit odd to me.

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UN Commission on Human Rights Loses All Credibility

On 24 July 2003 Reporters Without Borders was suspended from the United Nations Human Rights Commission for one year. For details of why this injustice happened see my previous entry Farce at the United Nations Human Rights Commission. Reporters Without Borders have published a press release and a report on the commission’s accelerating decline, entitled UN Commission on Human Rights Loses all Credibility. Wheeling and dealing, incompetence and non-action.

The results of the vote on the suspension of the consultative status of Reporters without borders :

In favour (27): Azerbaijan, Benin, Bhutan, Brazil, Burundi, China, Congo, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Iran, Jamaica, Kenya, Libya, Malaysia, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

Against (23): Andorra, Australia, Chile, El Salvador, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Peru, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and United States.

Abstentions (4): Argentina, Ecuador, Japan, and Senegal.

Taken from the Reports without Borders press release

It seems Argentina, Ecuador, Japan and Senegal were too spineless to even have an opinion! The report by Reporters Without Borders makes clear that the noble idea of the United Nations Human Rights Commission is far from it’s ignominious reality.

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Farce at the United Nations Human Rights Commission

When the new Libyan president of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Najat Al-Hajjaji, made her inaugural speech at the opening of the 59th session of the Commission in Geneva on 17th March 2003 she was interrupted by six activists from Reporters Without Borders who threw leaflets into the meeting room. (Reporters Without Borders are also known as Reporters san Frontieres or just RSF)

As a result the pressure group may have its UN consultative status suspended. The way this harsh punishment has been decided and the process that led to this decision is farcical and sets a precedent that should not be allowed to stand.

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Redrawing the Pentagon’s new Map

In 1999 Ryan McCormack and I wrote a marketing piece on Globalization for Sapient Corporation. Aimed primarily at raising awareness of the issues involved in building global Internet systems it also touched on national market analysis and selection. I was reminded of this diagram showing income and connectivity for every country in the world from that piece while reading various articles on US Foreign Policy recently. These articles included this piece called the Pentagons new Map by Dr Thomas P.M. Barnett a US military Strategist on Globalization and US Foreign Policy and this more >jaundiced view from the Washington Monthly.

Basically I think Dr Barnett is on to something when he claims that “disconnectedness defines danger”.

Show me where globalization is thick with network connectivity, financial transactions, liberal media flows, and collective security, and I will show you regions featuring stable governments, rising standards of living, and more deaths by suicide than murder. These parts of the world I call the Functioning Core, or Core. But show me where globalization is thinning or just plain absent, and I will show you regions plagued by politically repressive regimes, widespread poverty and disease, routine mass murder, and “most important” the chronic conflicts that incubate the next generation of global terrorists. These parts of the world I call the Non-Integrating Gap, or Gap.

Having said I think Dr Barnett is on to something I don’t think his conclusions are correct! He makes three mistakes;

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