Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
– David L. Stern covers the former Soviet Union and the Black Sea region for GlobalPost, where this article originally ran. –
With less than six months until it takes over the chairmanship of one of Europe’s flagship human rights organizations, Kazakhstan has thumbed its nose to Western governments and introduced a draconian Internet law.
The new legislation follows similar crackdowns on online political communication in other former Soviet republics and signals a growing fear among officials in authoritarian states after public uprisings in Iran and Moldova were fueled by internet social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook.
Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed a law on July 10 that classifies all online public discussions as forms of publication. As a result, any comment that appears on a blog, forum, chatroom or social networking site, such as Facebook and Live Journal, is subject to the country’s already punitive mass media and libel laws. The law also restricts foreign news outlets, which can be blocked if they are likewise found to disseminate information that violates the Central Asian state’s laws on expression.
Should rappers be able to sing whatever they like in the name of art and should politicians be able to stop them taking to the stage? The question of censorship has jumped back to the fore in France with President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government, in a rather unlikely about-turn, jumping to the defence of a foul-mouthed rapper, while a leading Socialist has tried to muzzle him.
The rapper — pictured in the video above — is called Orelsan, a white, middle-class singer sometimes referred to as “France’s Eminem”, who shot to prominence earlier this year when a video of one of his songs became an Internet hit. Here is a taste of the lyrics (with the worst of the sexual imagery omitted!)
– Tom Abate covers the technology sector for GlobalPost, where this article first appeared. The views are his own. —
When Iranian protesters used internet services like Twitter to gain global attention they also reminded the world that oppressive regimes continue to buy or build technologies to enforce censorship.
Juliana Rincon is video editor of Global Voices, which monitors citizen media in the developing world. Thomson Reuters is not responsible for the content of this post — the views are the author’s alone.
On May 2nd, 2008, Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar (Burma), generating massive damage and tens of thousands dead or missing. The situation would be considered critical for any country. However, the military government or “junta” has restricted the entrance of aid by requiring all donations to pass through them. The junta has also set up guidelines for journalists on how to report on the cyclone, restricting their communications, particularly on showing dead bodies or reporting about insufficient aid for victims, according to Burma News, a local online news source.
In spite of these restrictions on people carrying cameras and taking pictures, some have gone out to record the extent of the damage. There is anger over the failure of authorities to evacuate the affected villages, even when they were allegedly aware of the impending cyclone and the possible devastation it could cause. The following images, uploaded by YouTube user aungsayapyi may affect sensitive people: they are very graphic, include dead bodies and should be viewed with discretion and an adult’s consent: