FRANCE: RSF to mark March 12 as "Online Free Expression Day"

Reporters Without Borders reports at least 62 cyber-dissidents incarcerated and more than 2,600 Internet forums shut down in 2007

Nepal News
Thursday, March 13, 2008

Reporters Without Borders (RSF), an international organization fighting for press freedom and rights of journalists, has said it will mark March 12 as the "Online Free Expression Day" every year.

"From now on, we will organize activities every 12 March to condemn cyber-censorship throughout the world," Reporters Without Borders said in a statement posted in its website Wednesday. "A response of this kind is needed to the growing tendency to crack down on bloggers and to close websites."

RSF said that the day allows the internet users the opportunity to demonstrate in places where protests are not normally possible.

"We hope many will come and protest in virtual versions of Beijing's Tiananmen Square, Cuba's Revolution Square or on the streets of Rangoon, in Burma. At least 62 cyber-dissidents are currently imprisoned worldwide, while more than 2,600 websites, blogs or discussions forums were closed or made inaccessible in 2007."

The press freedom organisation added: "Our list of 'Internet Enemies' has also been updated with the addition of two countries -- Ethiopia and Zimbabwe. And we are offering an new version of our Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents."