Pacific Media Watch

13 March 2014

GLOBAL: Vietnam, China, Pakistan and North Korea key 'enemies of internet'

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Corporations are also criticised in the RSF report, particularly "internet mercenaries" working for repressive governments. Image: WSJ

GLOBAL (Reporters Without Borders / Pacific Media Watch): Reporters Without Borders has singled out Vietnam, China, Pakistan and North Korea for criticism on World Day Against Cyber-Censorship on March 12.

In their “Enemies of the Internet” report, which spotlights the government units and agencies that implement online censorship and surveillance, Reporters Without Borders says these countries have "used defence of national security as grounds for going far beyond their original mission in order to spy on and censor journalists, bloggers and other information providers".

But the press freedom organisation also says the NSA in the United States, GCHQ in the United Kingdom and the Centre for Development of Telematics in India are "no better".

Corporations are also criticised in the report, particularly "Internet mercenaries" or corporations that do surveillance work for repressive governments, earning huge amounts of money for their services.

Surveillance dealerships
International trade fairs or "surveillance dealerships" at which these spy corporations ply their wares are where the governments and spy corporations meet.

"ISS World, Milipol and Technology against Crime are among the most notorious," says the report.

Reporters Without Borders has called for anyone interested in opposing internet censorship and surveillance to register on “Thunderclap” - a new advocacy initiative to register opposition that was launched by the organisation this week.

They have also called for people to change their Twitter avatars or Facebook profile photo for RWB’s "against online censorship” logo.

Reporters Without Borders has previously documented how the government of Vietnam targets bloggers with criminal sanctions if they upload on social media any articles that have already appeared in the print media. Anti-government comments on Facebook are also outlawed.

The government of Pakistan has previously blocked all access to YouTube in the country, and is currently blocking about 40 thousand websites.

The Chinese government has a State Internet Information Office that has to approve all internet content, and pays government-funded "bloggers" 50 cents per article to write pro-government articles for the internet.

North Koreans have no access to the world wide web and can only access an "intranet" controlled by government intelligence agencies.

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Pacific Media Watch

PMC's media monitoring service

Pacific Media Watch is compiled for the Pacific Media Centre as a regional media freedom and educational resource by a network of journalists, students, stringers and commentators. (cc) Creative Commons