Cerf's up

Theres plenty of news about the clampdown on free speech online. China has reportedly stepped-up its policing of the Internet and will now have two Cyber-cop characters that pop up on the screen to remind Chinese surfers that they are being watched. I bet George Orwell would wish hed thought of that one.

And in more Doublespeak, China has also got blog providers such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! to sign a self-discipline pact. The companies are saying at the moment that theyll stop short of making bloggers reveal their identities, but I cant help thinking this cant be good news for freedom of expression. Yahoo! are currently up in court in the US, arguing against charges that it was complicit in human rights abuse in China specifically providing information that led to journalist Shi Tao being jailed for ten years. Regular readers of the blog will know that Amnesty has been campaigning on this case for some time.

Stepping offline, impunity is also big issue in todays media. Whether its news that one of Pinochets generals will be jailed for life for human rights abuses in Chile, or that General Noriega will face extradition to France to stand trial for money laundering. But I was more interested in the US military courts verdict that Lieutenant Colonel Steven Jordans was not responsible for the abuses of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. This means that no-one of officer rank or above has been brought to justice for the infamous ill-treatment of prisoners. Are we really to believe that no-one was in charge?

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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