Netizen Report: Blackout Edition

This week’s Netizen Report on Global Voices Advocacy begins in Russia:

This week’s Netizen Report continues our coverage of the Russian government’s censorship of the Russian Internet (Ru Net), which could escalate to include a draft bill that would create a blacklist for websites dedicated to pornography, drugs, or extremist activity. Global Voices reported on Tuesday 10 July that this censorship effort could resemble the Great Firewall of China, and would require a website owner to delete content deemed controversial within 24 hours or risk being shut down. Wikipedia’s Russian website went dark on Tuesday in protest, mimicking a prior website blackout that helped galvanize criticism of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the United States. The Russian blackout coincided with a debate on the bill in the Russian parliament on Tuesday. More posts on this issue can be found at Global Voices’ RuNet Echo, a project that aims to expand and deepen understanding of the Russian language Internet and related online communities.

Click here to read the rest of our global roundup on the struggle for freedom and control of the Internet.

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Netizen Report: Fight for the Future Edition

By monashosh on Flickr

Meet Khaled Alaa Abdel Fattah, born last Tuesday to two Egyptian cyber-activists: mother Manal Bahey al-Din Hassan and father Alaa Abd El-Fattah, who is currently in prison. Khaled is named after Khaled Said, the young man whose violent death at the hands of police in 2010 became a symbol and rallying point for activism that brought down the Mubarak regime earlier this year.”

Little Khaled was born as Internet-driven activism in another part of the world, Russia, is bringing a new generation of young people – many of whom had never participated in a protest beforeinto the streets to oppose election results that they believe to have been rigged in the ruling party’s favor. One blogger told TIME magazine that he risked reprisals by United Russia supporters to post flyers around Moscow on the eve of the election, calling on people to vote against them. One flyer said:

“One day, your child will ask you, Papa, what were you doing when the crooks and thieves were robbing our country blind?”

People like Alaa, Syrian blogger Razan Ghazzawi who was arrested on the Jordanian border last weekend, and Ali Abdulemam, the Bahraini blogger who has been in hiding since February, are all fighting for a world in which their own children will be able to speak their minds and participate in opposition politics without going to prison. But what about the rest of us? To echo the Russian blogger’s question:

What are we doing to make sure that our children will even be able to use the Internet to fight for their rights speak truth to power?

The war for freedom and control of the Internet continues to rage. To get the full rundown, check out the latest Netizen Report on Global Voices Advocacy. Since September I have been working with the Global Voices team and several volunteers to publish these twice monthly updates on global developments related to the power dynamics between citizens, companies and governments on the Internet. You can even subscribe to them by e-mail here.