An open letter from Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT) to Iceland’s parliament about internet censorship:
Dear Althingi Member,
Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT) wishes to express its unconditional support for the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative you are considering voting into law.
While the world’s major censors like North Korea, Myanmar, China and Iran get all the bad press, we want you to know that ‘small censors’ like Thailand also affect world opinion.
Thailand’s government has been censoring the Internet since 2004 and currently blocks more than 65,000 websites, claiming to block 500 new websites every day. These sites include commentary on issues of civil rights and social justice, politics, military, government. Webmasters are being arrested and public web discussion boards are being closed. Thai people have no voice and no chance to talk about vital issues for our future.
Without access to all information, no citizen can be fully-informed and make responsible, informed choices. Governments like Thailand’s and North Korea’s think that they can manipulate public opinion by controlling the Internet.
Lest you think the issue of Internet censorship is not important to ordinary people, FACT’s website gets more than three-quarters of a million pageviews, more than 1,500 netizens have signed FACT’s petition against censorship and 10,000 have signed onto our mailing list.
While at least 65 nation-states are censoring more than 32% of the world’s Internet, many of them so-called liberal democracies, we think Iceland’s IMMI is taking a brave step for freedom, civil liberties and democracy.
A free Internet respecting privacy and anonymity builds peace in communities and creates a free forum in which true participatory democracy can flourish.
Passage of the IMMI will also give rise to home-grown Icelandic Internet industries such as uncensored server farms, hubs for Internet traffic, support centres for Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and the development of software to support all of these. FACT will certainly open its own VPN there.
The IMMI proves that one small country, one small group of people who want the whole truth can make a crucial difference in the world. Iceland’s example can serve as a message as to the futility of Internet censorship.
Please don’t cave in to any pressure to dilute the IMMI. A free Internet means no censorship.
We invite you all to sign FACT’s petition against all censorship.
We are happy to put FACT’s modest resources at your disposal for any consultation or testimony you may require. Please let us know how we can help you and keep us informed of you progress.
Thank you, Iceland!