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Censorship Your Rights Online Politics

UN Officials Remove Poster Mentioning Chinese Firewall 409

Posted by kdawson
from the can-you-spell-hypocricy dept.
At a UN-sponsored Internet Governance Forum in Egypt, anti-censorship group Open Net Initiative was startled by a demand from UN officials to remove a poster mentioning Chinese Net censorship. When ONI refused the request, security personnel arrived and took away the poster. The group was promoting a new book, Access Controlled, a survey of Internet censorship, filtering, and online surveillance. A witness said, "The poster was thrown on the floor and we were told to remove it because of the reference to China and Tibet. We refused, and security guards came and removed it. The incident was witnessed by many." Here is a video of the removal.
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UN Officials Remove Poster Mentioning Chinese Firewall

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 15, 2009 @07:37PM (#30110112)

    The applause was sarcastic, or did you miss that?

  • Re:Values (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 15, 2009 @08:12PM (#30110418)

    They were. At least if you believe their member states.

    To take one example, muslim states never actually signed the human rights declaration, instead they signed a document that's called the "Cairo declaration of human rights in islam" specifying [wikipedia.org]
    -> sharia takes precedence over human rights, and the declaration cannot be understood except as a summary of sharia
    -> women can not choose whether to marry, nor to whom
    -> women are not equal to men, and have "duties" to perform
    -> discrimination on the basis of religion is, in fact allowed
    -> any action that might in any way convince a muslim to become either atheist or other faith, is punishable by death (yes, might, you read that correctly)
    -> muslims have the duty (not the right, the duty) to use any amount of violence if there are any non-muslim members of government
    -> any expression of speech that leads to "weakening of faith" is punishable by death, as is anything that could (not would, could) undermine governmental authority

    These are the people that have majority in the "human rights council". These are the people Obama wants us to follow.

  • Undemocratic? (Score:5, Informative)

    by mc6809e (214243) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @08:18PM (#30110454)

    "We condemn this undemocratic act of censoring our event... "

    The UN is a democratic organization and this act of censorship is completely democratic. It's wrong, but democratic.

    That should be a lesson to those that confuse freedom and democracy.

  • Re:Values (Score:4, Informative)

    by qbzzt (11136) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @08:27PM (#30110532)

    Not exactly. The League of Nations disbanded itself in 1946 [wikipedia.org], giving its assets to the UN. The UN itself was first thought out in 1943 in the Tehran conference [slashdot.org]. It was during WWII, so only the allies were in attendance.

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday November 16, 2009 @12:42AM (#30112024)

    Like the rest of the world, the U.N. would like to think that China and their human rights abuses don't exist.

    You're aware of the fact that the United States was kicked off the human rights counsel, and that's when China became a member, correct? Unlike the United States, China has pledged to the UN to make human rights reforms -- whereas the US was stubbornly belligerant about the whole "enemy combatant" / Guantanamo Bay business, as well as a lack of shield laws for journalists, who can be jailed indefinately for publishing information critical or embarassing to the government. Apparently a "we're pretty bad, but we're working on it" means more to the counsel than "we're okay, not great, but we're not changing" from a policy standpoint.

  • by coaxial (28297) on Monday November 16, 2009 @01:25AM (#30112228) Homepage

    That's roughly accurate, although saying "everybody knows" is silly. Now, do you realize that CNN and MSNBC, and yes, even NPR, are no better? Or do you think they're magically better because they correspond more closely to your beliefs?

    With the exception of MSNBC which does have an unabashedly liberal bias in primetime, I'm not aware of either CNN or NPR promoting astroturf political rallies ("tea parties"), orchestrating the crowd [huffingtonpost.com]. and promoting partisan language. To claim equivalency between Fox News and CNN and NPR just doesn't pass muster. There just never have been any blatant cheerleading on either of those. Complaints of "liberal bias" are limited to such wishy washy statement like "Postcards from Buster" having the audacity to show a lesbian family without commentary, the there being too many blue muppets on Sesame Street. Even a 2003 poll on perceived bias PBS [usnews.com] revealed that only about 1 in 5 thought there was a liberal bias, lower than other networks or CNN. The only difference being that a third of Republicans thought there was a bias, versus 10% of Democrats.

    The complaints of "liberal bias" against the mainstream media, have always been a canard. Rich Bond, 1992 chair of the Republican Party, said in an interview "There is some strategy to it [bashing the 'liberal' media]. If you watch any great coach, what they try to do is 'work the refs.' Maybe the ref will cut you a little slack on the next one." In 1996, Bill Kristol said, "I admit it. The liberal media were never that powerful, and the whole thing was often used as an excuse by conservatives for conservative failures."

  • by Jeian (409916) on Monday November 16, 2009 @01:43AM (#30112316)

    A few years ago, as a student, I got to go visit the UN's Geneva campus, sponsored by one of the various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that has a presence at the UN. While I was there, I got to go sit in on one of the meetings regarding the formation of the Human Rights Commission. (Committee? Council? I can't remember.) During the meeting, representatives from one of the other NGOs in attendance started to hand out flyers encouraging action in Darfur.

    The representative from Sudan was not pleased with this, to say the least, and demanded they cease distributing the flyers. The NGO in question was informed that they were not to do that, and that they'd be removed if they continued to do so.

    The UN is a farce when it comes to doing anything useful about human rights.

  • by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Monday November 16, 2009 @02:00AM (#30112390) Journal

    We have no such tradition of legal fiction.

    Article 1:
    His Brittanic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and independent states, that he treats with them as such, and for himself, his heirs, and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, propriety, and territorial rights of the same and every part thereof.

    Treaty of Paris, 1783 [ourdocuments.gov]

  • Re:Values (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nazlfrag (1035012) on Monday November 16, 2009 @02:04AM (#30112396) Journal

    I smell bullshit. Let's take a closer look at that document [religlaw.org] shall we?

    -> sharia takes precedence over human rights, and the declaration cannot be understood except as a summary of sharia

    Wrong. It actually states that such rights are integral to Islam and the document is in accordance with Shaira, not that Shaira takes precedence or that it is a mere summary.

    -> women can not choose whether to marry, nor to whom

    Wrong. Nowhere does it state this, though it does state "Men and women have the right to marriage, and no restrictions stemming from race, colour or nationality shall prevent them from enjoying this right."

    -> women are not equal to men, and have "duties" to perform

    Possibly. Article 6(a): "Woman is equal to man in human dignity, and has rights to enjoy as well as duties to perform; she has her own civil entity and financial independence, and the right to retain her name and lineage." You are wrong on equality not being mentioned, but right on the duties, but to be fair men are tasked with duties too.

    -> discrimination on the basis of religion is, in fact allowed

    Wrong. From Article 1(a): "All men are equal in terms of basic human dignity and basic obligations and responsibilities, without any discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, language, sex, religious belief, political affiliation, social status or other considerations."

    -> any action that might in any way convince a muslim to become either atheist or other faith, is punishable by death (yes, might, you read that correctly)

    Possibly. Article 10: "Islam is the religion of unspoiled nature. It is prohibited to exercise any form of compulsion on man or to exploit his poverty or ignorance in order to convert him to another religion or to atheism." It mentions a prohibition, not a death sentence.

    -> muslims have the duty (not the right, the duty) to use any amount of violence if there are any non-muslim members of government

    Wrong. I'm not sure where you get this from. The closest is Article 23(b): "Everyone shall have the right to participate, directly or indirectly in the administration of his country's public affairs. He shall also have the right to assume public office in accordance with the provisions of Shari'ah." Was this what you meant? Where is the duty to violence?

    -> any expression of speech that leads to "weakening of faith" is punishable by death, as is anything that could (not would, could) undermine governmental authority

    Wrong. From the quote I assume you mean Article 22(c): "Information is a vital necessity to society. It may not be exploited or misused in such a way as may violate sanctities and the dignity of Prophets, undermine moral and ethical values or disintegrate, corrupt or harm society or weaken its faith. " Nothing there about death or governmental authority.

    So I think I'll call this myth busted. Try reading something before spouting off hyperbole about it.

  • by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Monday November 16, 2009 @03:03AM (#30112644) Homepage Journal

    And in France at least, there is an unspoken understanding between the press and the government. You don't say anything to embarrass government officials, and you get to keep your job

    Right, whereas the "Free Press" in the USA is reknowned for its pioneering investigative work into Government. Oh no, wait, they're pretty much lackeys to the White House Press Office (and have been since Reagan). You can slander the non-US Press if you like, but at least they told the truth about the rush to war in Iraq.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 16, 2009 @04:07AM (#30112930)

    Mein Kampf is not banned in Germany. The only reason it's not available is that the state of Bavaria holds the copyright and refuses to allow it to be printed.

  • by aepervius (535155) on Monday November 16, 2009 @06:15AM (#30113464)
    Even in US school speech is restricted to whatever the school want to restrict it to. One can argue to infinity whether freedom of speech should be universal and unrestricted , but it is NOT unbound. There are many example of restricted material of speech even in the US (try showing a boobs or yelling bad words in prime time). In France there is a law which say that school are SECULAR and no proselythism should be done. Whatever I always thought this was a very very good law.

    And in France at least, there is an unspoken understanding between the press and the government. You don't say anything to embarrass government officials, and you get to keep your job.That is absolutely not true. So many scandal come out because PART of the press is not behold to their "master". That you do not read them or know them do not mean they do not exists. One such example I would citate is the "Canard enchainé" which poo-poo rightist, leftist, and centrist and do not mind earthing up scandal. Also Le monde at its time also unearthed a few political scandal. And a few other on TV radio I forget.

    By the way, I know this because I'm French, I was born in France, and I've lived part of my life in France. Except that you are not right, and I am a french, I have lived there 25+ years. The only point where you are right is that we do not have "freedom of speech" as open and unbound as the US, but we *DO* have a liberty of expression.
  • by teh kurisu (701097) on Monday November 16, 2009 @07:35AM (#30113794) Homepage

    The culmination of the West's influence in South Africa was apartheid, which I think the indigenous population would have been better off without. It's true that there was a lot of outside pressure on SA from the west to end the regime, but there was also significant pressure internally, without which post-apartheid SA would never have been a success.

    A lot of the problems elsewhere in Africa can be attributed to the erection of borders and nation-states to suit colonial divisions as opposed to tribal distribution. You can't put two tribes with a history of animosity in one country and expect them to get along, but that's what was done, and fighting continues to this day.

    In Australia, unemployment and alcoholism are rife among Aborigine communities, because they haven't been able to adapt to a western lifestyle. Education in Australia is geared towards western needs and Aborigine children don't cope well. And I don't think anybody today believes that the Stolen Generation was a good idea.

  • by tjstork (137384) <todd.bandrowskyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday November 16, 2009 @09:35AM (#30114472) Homepage Journal

    This is not feasible. Too much of our food (and opium) comes from the the third world

    The USA has enough food to feed itself. Europe's problem is Europe's.

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