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Ammar 404 vs. #zensursula

It is extremely disturbing to see other countries justify their continued censorship because we do it, too. 

Tunisian state secretary Sami Zaoui just announced that they will keep blocking websites that are "against decency, contain violent elements or incite to hate". When criticised that this is inacceptable in a democracy, he responded: "Wrong! Even the countries that are most evolved when it comes to freedom block terrorist sites"

Of course such measures have nothing to do with terrorism (or child pornography, which happens to be the excuse de rigueur in Europe). They are an excuse to create and maintain a censorship infrastructure. And even if we assume the best intentions on behalf of those who propose such measures, the damage this does to democracy by far exceeds the potential benefits to crime prevention.

I am sad to see the same excuses for Internet censorship brought up again, this time in Tunisia. The same hidden agendas, the same lies. "This is not censorship, we are just blocking criminals."  Well, criminals shouldn't be blocked, they should be prosecuted and judged before we even call them criminals.

Count on it: having an authority that can put you on a blacklist will be abused - especially given the characteristically vague rules for what is verboten. (You can be sure that under Ben Ali, the blogs of Slim Amamou, Astrubal etc. would have been blocked for containing violent elements and inciting to hate!)

I will be following this debate and its results closely. I still remain optimistic at this point. Perhaps the Tunisians will succeed where we failed. But this whole thing certainly is disturbing on several levels.

(Thanks to @Astrubaal @rafik @taziden @smarimc and others for our brief but insightful conversation on the subject.)


imho a too optimistic perspective - oanth || cf:
Washington face à la colère du peuple tunisien | - par Thierry Meyssan 20110123
Reposted fromkyrah kyrah
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