Internet censorship and surveillance are contentious issues around the world.
In Malaysia, blogging remains one of the few ways to exercise free speech, although the government has begun to crack down on sites and bloggers, blocking malaysia-today.net (since redirected) and jailing its publisher.
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad joins his country’s bloggers in criticizing the government under Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, his chosen successor.
The EU recently criticized Turkey for its free speech violations, when the government blocked 850 sites, including Blogger and YouTube. The blockage of wordpress.com last August met a firestorm of criticism, as documented by “Global Voices” blogger Sami Ben Gharbia.
Australia is making headlines for its new Internet censorship legislation, which is being criticized by both bloggers and traditional journalists. Blogger “Stilgherrian” leads a discussion about the new laws that includes a direct reply from a member of Parliament defending the laws.
Egypt faces its own free speech struggles, as explored by a Worldfocus signature story and an interview with blogger Hossam el-Hamalawy, who claims that online free speech rights are severely limited by the government. He also started a debate at Flickr, where he feels his photos of Egyptian political demonstrations have been censored.
Bi Yantao of the “Fool’s Mountain” blog reports that China — perhaps the country most famous for Internet censorship and its “great firewall” — tightened its Internet censorship as the Beijing Olympics finished and foreigners left.
Fred Stopsky of “The Impudent Observor” shares a Finnish report stating that older Finns accept Internet censorship to prevent the spread of violence and “certain ideas.”
For more Worldfocus coverage of Turkey, visit our extended coverage page: Turkey between East and West.