Online dissent is being crushed (and we don’t feel fine)

My 2008 book, The Blogging Revolution, documented the rise of web censorship across the world and those fighting against it.

Tragically, the problem is only getting worse in Asia and rest assured many Western web multinationals are involved:

Governments across south-east Asia are following China‘s authoritarian censorship of the digital world to keep political dissent in check, the Guardian can reveal.

Vietnam, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines have all moved or are moving towards monitoring internet use, blocking international sites regarded as critical and ruthlessly silencing web dissidents.

”¢ In Vietnam, the Communist party wants to be your “friend” on the state-run version of Facebook, provided you are willing to share all personal details.

Ӣ In Burma, political unrest can be silenced by cutting off the country from the internet.

Ӣ In Thailand, website moderators can face decades in jail for a posted comment they did not even write, if the government deems it injurious tothe monarchy.

While much is made of China’s authoritarian attitudetowards internet access, a majority of south-east Asian governments have similar controls and , rather than relaxing restrictions on internet use, many are moving towards tighter regulation.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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