Sunday, 30 July 2006

Mousetrap - 64

Carrying on from last week, where we focussed on our Government’s order to ban a list of sites, here are a a few sites and pages that go into some depth on censorship in general.

Reporters Without BordersHandbook for bloggers and cyber-dissidents
Reporters Without Borders says that more than a third of the world’s population live with an absence of press freedom, and it aims to restore their right to be informed. It is an international organisation with branches and offices in different parts of the world, and also works with local and regional press freedom organisations and the ‘Reporters without Borders’ Network. The website “functions like a press-freedom news agency,” and this handbook, which you can download as a PDF (print-friendly PDF) or read online, is one of their offerings.

Electronic Frontier Foundation
EFF is a non-profit group founded in 1990 in the USA, as a response to what its founders considered an attack on a threat to speech. Its perspective and history, are, naturally, rooted in America, but it has expanded to other countries around the world as well. The Blue ribbon campaign invites you to display your support for EFF’s goals by posting their banner on your personal pages. See also their Legal Guide for Bloggers. Again, the legal system referred to is American, where speech has strong constitutional protection, but since we in India live with ill-defined and sometimes uninformed laws on the subject, it is a good place to start informing yourself, so you can contribute knowledgeably to the discussion in India.

Boing Boing's guide to defeating Censorware
BoingBoing, as I’ve said in this column before, is one of the most popular blogs in the world, with astronomical readership figures. It also finds itself blocked in many countries, for reasons I’ve been unable to fathom. This page lists many useful tips and lots of advice from their team.

Campaign Against Censorship / Films for Freedom
A group that styles itself as “an action platform,” it has a membership of 300 plus Indian filmmakers. It formed as part of the Campaign Against Censorship, when the Mumbai International Film Festival attempted to screen and censor Indian films in 2004. The site features an archive of indie films made post 2002, and a discussion forum. The forum, oddly for a group that values freedom, requires many details about applicants, and takes up to a week to approve membership.

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Published in the Times of India, Mumbai edition, 30th July, 2006.

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