Monday, June 04, 2007

It's harder for governments to block info!

The Internet is a powerful tool for subversives of all stripes to avoid censorship.

When Venezuela took away the broadcast license for its main opposition television network, the TV producers simply moved their shows to YouTube! Link to El Observador Onlinea. Ars Technica carries the story.

El Observador clips have been seen 175,000 times since May 28, and the channel is currently the most-subscribed channel of the week.

While putting the station's shows on YouTube is an excellent idea, YouTube still lacks anything near the reach of over-the-air broadcasts. But the use of the site to avoid censorship is growing, and it's not hard to imagine a day in the near future when the site (or sites like it) becomes as essential as local TV stations.

As that happens, YouTube will come into even more conflicts with governments that have an interest in controlling what their citizens see, It's already happening—Thailand's king, for instance, has a thing for iPods but isn't too keen on YouTube. Will Hugo Chavez show more tolerance?
Follow the Ars Technica link at the bottom of the full story to see other stories on censorship attempts, including many by China. This article involves a new tool from U. of Toronto, psiphon, to use social networks to subvert governmental censorship. And OOTJ readers will recall the Post on anonymous browsing. And another post that brought you this link to Reporters Without Borders' Report on Freedom of the Press Worldwide, which includes notes on governments that block citizens' access to websites.

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