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Global Information Society publishes updates on internet rights in six countries

The 2011 edition of the Global Information Society Watch, titled “Internet Rights and Democratization: focus on freedom of expression and association online” has published the first in a series of updates on six country reports. This special edition contains updates from Argentina, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa as well as an introduction from the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Jillian York.

The update on Indonesia, titled ‘Monitoring and defending the freedom of expression and association on the internet in Indonesia’ is authored by Ferdiansyah Thajib for EngageMedia. Ferdi was interviewed here.

From the introduction to the volume by Jillian York of the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

[blockquote text=”‘In Indonesia, where Thajib writes that media has become a central indicator of freedom and openness post-Soeharto, the online sphere is often reflective of the country’s great diversity, harbouring a “broad spectrum of political differences, ideologies and behaviours”. But, as Thajib notes, it is “not uncommon” for online exchanges to result in hate speech, which is in turn arbitrated by the Ministry of Communication and Informatics (MCI).” show_quote_icon=”yes”]

In some cases, “given enough political weight”, the ministry interferes by blocking or removing content. The MCI has taken greater steps to censor content as well, banning YouTube, MySpace and other sites in 2008 in an effort to block the Dutch film Fitna and, more recently, blocking 300 websites allegedly publishing “radical content” in an effort to “clean out” the web of immorality.’