Tuesday, January 8, 2013

WSJ reports continued censorship, detention of bloggers in Syria, China


There are two big stories in the Wall Street Journal Tuesday, Jan. 8 about free speech in authoritarian countries.

Lawrence Lessig (“Code is law”) has a piece “Online artists share work – tyrants prefer that they share a cell”, link here.

 He gives a telling account of computer programmer Bassel Khartabil, who was arrested and held in March (and ever since) for working on Syria’s account of the Creative Commons project.  The silver linings playbook is that the Assad regime will surely fall now. 

Then Josh Chim and Brian Spegele worte (p A8) about protests after a new government propaganda chief  in Chinarewrote an editorial in the “Southern Weekly”.  China is in transition as some activists hope that the new Communist Party Secretary General Xi Jinping will allow relaxation of pressures against speech, and particularly the sentencing of activists to labor camps for re-education, Mao style.  The link for the story is here. There is supposed to be some kind of "deal" on the censored editorial in Guangzhou now. 
  
Relevant is the film “High Tech, Low Life” at Tribeca in 2012, reviewed here Apri; 26, 2012 on the Movies blog.  

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