RSF unblocks 21 sites in 12 countries for World Day Against Cyber-Censorship

Paris, Mar 13 (efe-epa).- Reporters Without Borders (RSF) announced Friday it had offered alternate access to 21 blocked websites in 12 countries for World Day Against Cyber-Censorship.

Among the list was China, where human rights website Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch, also known by the Chinese name Minsheng Guancha, has been blocked by the government since shortly after its creation in 2006.

Its founder Liu Feiyue was sentenced in 2019 to five years in prison on charges of “inciting subversion of state power” and “publishing articles that opposed the socialist system”, according to RSF.

For the sixth year the organisation’s Operation Collateral Freedom used a technique known as website mirroring, under which “mirrors” or copies of sites are placed on international servers beyond the reach of censors.

All of the websites were blocked in their own countries by authoritarian or dictatorial regimes that have increasingly been blocking access to independent news sites, RSF said.

If a country wanted to veto access to the alternative sites, it would be left unable to access the pages and services of these large servers.

RSF said it has also unblocked the website La Voix de Djibouti, a radio station that is Djibouti’s only independent media outlet.

“Created in 2010, it is one of the few spaces for free speech and information and, without it, Djibouti would become a news and information black hole,” the organisation said.

“To escape persecution, the radio station is based in Paris from where it broadcasts by satellite and on its website, which is blocked by the authorities.”

RSF said its own website, which publishes information in several languages including Arabic about press freedom violations around the world, has been blocked in Egypt since August 2017.

It was among more than 500 news sites that the country’s authorities have censored “without reference to the courts, for no clear reason, during the past three years”.

Operation Collateral Freedom has enabled Egyptian internet users to access it again.

The campaign has also allowed around 230,000 people to access the independent Burundian news website Iwacu since December 2019.

Iwacu is one of Burundi’s few remaining independent media outlets and was unblocked by RSF in 2018. EFE-EPA


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