I believe the internet should be a force for political freedom, not repression. People have the right to seek and receive information and to express their peaceful beliefs online without fear or interference.
I call on governments to stop the unwarranted restriction of freedom of expression on the internet, and on companies to stop helping them do it.
This is the pledge of Amnesty International’s campaign for Internet Freedom. A pledge that they will present in November 2006 to the governments and companies from all over the world in a United Nations conference that will discuss the future of the Internet. A pledge for freedom. A pledge against repression. A pledge that I took when I signed up for the campaign, and I think you should too.
The Internet was meant to have no borders. Everyone should be free to speak their mind. We should be free to talk about our lives. How we live it and how we want to live it in the future. We should be free to talk about how we think our government sucks. Or how we think our president is a liar. Or how we think being tagged as “destabilizers of the government” just because we graduated from a state university is okay and nothing to be ashamed of. The Internet is possibly the greatest medium for free speech, and now it’s under attack. And I think we should tell the attackers to shove it.
Several countries are now being repressed on Cyberspace. Countries like China, Iran, Turkmenistan, Tunisia, Israel, the Maldives and Vietnam are regulating access to the Internet through filtering, licensing, and content removal. People are being arrested because they’re having online chat debates about freedom and human rights. People are being punished because they’re talking smack online against their government.
Here in The Philippines, we are lucky because we don’t have the government busting down our doors whenever we say “Gloria is a big fat liar” on forum boards or during chat sessions. Well, at least for now. Our government may not have enough resources right now to track and regulate all of our online activities, but what if they do? What if they decide to track and bring down the “destabilizers” who rant on Friendster about how Gloria cheated in the past election? Will we find barangay tanods in front of our houses shouting “Lumabas ka diyan, Isko/Iska! Napapaligiran ka na namin! (Namin! Namin!)“?
If it’s okay for you to let Kuya (a.k.a. Big Brother) make you his bitch, just move on with your online life. But if you want to support Internet freedom, then join the campaign and be irrepressible.