World Press Freedom Day

It’s World Press Freedom Day. It doesn’t look good for journalists and press freedom world-wide:

2005 was the deadliest year for a decade for the media, with 63 journalists and five media assistants killed, at least 807 media workers arrested, more than 1,300 physically attacked or threatened and at least 1,006 media outlets censored. More than a third of the world’s population lives in countries where press freedom is minimal.

At a panel discussion by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in Berlin the panelists had some nasty critique particularly for the big tech companies in China, i.e. Yahoo, Microsoft, Cisco and Google. Basically all of them were willing to accept pretty foul compromises in order to get access to the Chinese market. According to the (very respectable and reputable) panelists, Yahoo cooperates closely with the police – much more often then in the three well-known cases of dissidents arrested and put in jail for 10 years; Cisco sold a special tool to the Chinese police which allows them to filter and read internet traffic from a mobile station; For some searches like “Tiananmen Massacre”, Google and Microsoft filter all foreign search results so that only Chinese websites show up – which in turn are heavily censored.

This is all pretty scary stuff. And if the big players won’t stand up against China’s human rights violations, who will?

Note: More detailed information in my post on Metablocker (in German – sorry).