BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Languages
Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 March 2008, 14:33 GMT
Virtual demos over net censorship
Chinese internet user
One of the most targeted sites is the video-sharing website, YouTube
Thousands of people are taking part in "virtual protests" against countries accused of censoring the internet.

For its first Online Free Expression Day, media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has created virtual versions of nine public spaces.

These areas where protests are not normally possible include Beijing's Tiananmen Square and Kim Il-Sung Square in the North Korean capital Pyongyang.

RSF says at least 62 cyber-dissidents are in jail around the world.

More than 2,600 websites, blogs, or forums were closed down or blocked last year, the group says.

'Internet enemies'

The RSF demonstrations are running for 24 hours, until 1000 GMT on 13 March. Several hours after they opened, more than 5,000 virtual dissidents were protesting online.

A response of this kind is needed to the growing tendency to crack down on bloggers and to close websites
Reporters Without Borders

Users are invited to create an avatar, choose a message for a banner and take part in one of the demonstrations in Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Eritrea, North Korea, Tunisia, Turkmenistan and Vietnam.

This year, RSF has added Zimbabwe and Ethiopia to its list of "internet enemies".

The other countries blacklisted by the group are Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

"From now on, we will organise activities every 12 March to condemn cyber-censorship throughout the world," RSF said in a statement.

"A response of this kind is needed to the growing tendency to crack down on bloggers and to close websites."

One of the most targeted internet sites is the popular video-sharing website, YouTube, that has been blocked or banned in a number of countries including China, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Burma and Brazil.

The reasons for banning the site vary from country to country, but include government objections to religious and political material, foreign sites and pornography.



SEE ALSO
Web censorship: Correspondent reports
29 May 06 |  Technology
Net censorship spreads worldwide
04 May 06 |  Technology
Daily reality of net censorship
17 Oct 07 |  Technology

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific