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November 16, 2009

UN’s Internet Governance Forum censors a mild mention of censorship

Holy cow!

The Open Net Initiative, a group that monitors government filtering (= censorship) of the Internet held a book launch at the United Nations-sponsored Internet Governance Forum in Sharm El Sheik. A poster for the book — Access Controlled — contained the sentence: “The first generation of Internet controls consisted largely of building firewalls at key Internet gateways; China’s famous ‘Great Firewall of China’ is one of the first national Internet filtering systems.”

This statement was so objectionable, so outrageous, such a violation of common decency, such a hateful expression, such an offense to the tender sensibilities of UN diplomats that it must not ever be uttered. Security guards were sent to take the poster down.

If the people who want to govern the Internet think that’s beyond the pale of free speech, what the hell are they going to do with the rest of the Internet?

And, by the way, if you want to see what it looks like when UN diplomats take bold action, watch this video of the take-down itself.

[Source, video statement by ONI, BoingBoingage]

(Disclosure: the Berkman Center is a member of ONI.)

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