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BLOGGING  September 2005

BLOGGING September 2005

Subject:

[ Reporters Without Borders ] Blog censorship handbook released

From:

Steve Cavrak <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

UVM Blogging <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 22 Sep 2005 19:40:28 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (81 lines)

[ Reporters Without Borders ] Blog censorship handbook released
Last Updated: Thursday, 22 September 2005, 11:05 GMT 12:05 UK

Image of a computer keyboard: Caption - Blogs have become a popular  
and easy way to express opinion


A handbook that offers advice to bloggers who want to protect  
themselves from recrimination and censors has been released by  
Reporters Without Borders.

The media watchdog said it gives people who want to set up a blog  
tips on how to do so, how to publicise it, as well as how to  
establish credibility.

It also offers advice about writing blogs from countries with tough  
media restrictions, such as Iran and China.

The handbook was part-funded by the French government.

Key international bloggers, experts and writers helped to produce the  
guidelines, such as US journalist Dan Gillmor and Canadian net  
censorship expert, Nart Villeneuve.

"Bloggers are often the only real journalists in countries where the  
mainstream media is censored or under pressure," Reporters Without  
Borders said on its website.

"Only they provide independent news, at the risk of displeasing the  
government and sometimes courting arrest."

Blog clamp-down

Included in the booklet, called The Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber- 
dissidents, is advice about how to blog anonymously, as well as how  
to identify the most suitable way to circumvent censorship.

It also outlines some help on developing ethical and journalistic  
values.

Blogs - easy-to-set-up diary-like websites - are proving increasingly  
popular on the net as vehicles through which people can publish their  
own thoughts.

Technorati, a blog search engine, tracks more than 17 million blogs  
globally. Blogs can be anything from personal diaries, to technology  
news, and political comment.

Screengrab of the Reporters Without Borders blogger guidebook
People have turned to blogs where mainstream media is under pressure
Many have turned to blogging in countries where mainstream media is  
restricted. But they are increasingly being targeted by strict  
authorities.

Iranian authorities have been clamping down on mainstream media for  
some time, but it has recently turned its attention to cyber- 
dissidents and bloggers.

Campaign groups say at least two dozen Iranian bloggers have been  
jailed as a result of the clamp-down. It is estimated that there are  
some 46,000 bloggers in the country.

The issue of blog censorship and freedom of speech is truly global,  
however.

In June, Microsoft's MSN Spaces site in China started to block blog  
entries which used words such as "freedom", "democracy" and  
"demonstration".

Microsoft said the company abided by the laws, regulations and norms  
of each country in which it operates.

China recently introduced regulations that required all blog owners  
to register their sites with the state by 30 June.

And on Wednesday, two Chinese Singaporeans appeared in court charged  
with posting racist remarks about minority Malays on the net.

The blogger booklet can be downloaded from the Reporters Without  
Borders website in English, French, Chinese, Arabic and Persian.

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