Netizen Report: Why Did YouTube Censor Your Videos? You May Never Know.

Global Voices Advocacy’s Netizen Report offers an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in Internet rights around the world. In mid-March Indian documentarian Rakesh Sharma, who is known for his films on public unrest and violence in the state of Gujarat, found his YouTube channel blocked. He received a message from the company that read:
This account has been terminated due to multiple or severe violations of YouTube’s policy against spam, deceptive practices, and misleading content or other Terms of Service violations.
The channel had been live since 2014 and mainly features clips from his documentaries, which have garnered considerable attention in India, Europe and the US. Two days later, without explanation, the channel was back on. Sharma is known for his critical views on Indian PM Narendra Modi, which are evident in his films, but there’s no evidence to prove this had anything to do with
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Netizen Report: Azerbaijani Bloggers Targeted with Legal Threats, Spearphishing

Global Voices Advocacy’s Netizen Report offers an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in Internet rights around the world. Azerbaijani video blogger Mehman Huseynov was sentenced to two years in prison on charges of slander over videos he shared on his Facebook page. His page, where he covers a range of topics including working conditions and the wealth of government officials, has more than 300,000 followers. Arresting, silencing, and intimidating journalists, bloggers, and activists is par for the course in Azerbaijan these days, but Huseynov is the first blogger or journalist to be officially sentenced for slander by a court in Azerbaijan. Prior cases of journalists or bloggers being sentenced typically involved charges like narcotics possession (often bogus), hooliganism, abuse of power, and tax evasion. Targeted surveillance of human rights advocates also appears to be increasingly common. New reports and technical research confirm that multiple advocates in
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Netizen Report: Social Media Users Arrested for Political Speech in Myanmar, Palestine, Turkey

Global Voices Advocacy’s Netizen Report offers an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in Internet rights around the world. In mid-February, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg laid out a sweeping vision of the social network’s role in “bringing us all together as a global community.” It echoed a 2015 Facebook ad that promised, “the more we connect, the better it gets.” Of course, the ubiquitous connectedness to which Zuckerberg aspires can serve the interests of many different actors — including governments seeking to keep a clean, positive image online and to quiet their critics. Highlighted below are a few such examples from February 2017. A man in Myanmar was sentenced to six months in prison for defaming State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi on Facebook. Activists from Myanmar are calling for amendments to section 66D of the Telecommunications Law, which criminalizes defamation. According to PEN Myanmar,
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Netizen Report: In Kenya and Mexico, Citizens Suspect State Manipulation on Twitter

Global Voices Advocacy’s Netizen Report offers an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in Internet rights around the world. A social media tug-of-war has emerged in the face of a nationwide strike by Kenyan doctors protesting the government’s failure to honor their collective bargaining agreement. The strike has brought the public healthcare system to a halt and has stoked public mistrust of the Uhuru government, particularly following allegations of millions of dollars having gone missing from the Ministry of Health. While doctors have garnered substantial public support in their demands, there has also been a spate of social media messages maligning doctors. Local bloggers have identified a strong correlation between Twitter accounts propagating hashtags such as #GreedyDoctors, #MyBadDoctorExperience, and #DaktariRudiKazi (Doctors, go back to work) with those promoting other pro-government messages. Social media experts believe the messages are not being circulated by regular citizens, but rather
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Netizen Report: Internet Shutdowns Return to Iraq, Persist in Cameroon

Global Voices Advocacy’s Netizen Report offers an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in Internet rights around the world. Citizens in both Cameroon and Iraq are growing ever-more accustomed to Internet shutdowns. Cameroon instituted restrictions on Internet access on January 17, after months of protests concerning the economic and cultural marginalization of English speakers in the predominantly French-speaking West African country. Protests have led to mass arrests and what the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called “excessive force” used by Cameroonian law enforcement against protesters. Meanwhile, the Internet has been inaccessible in these regions for over three weeks. The shutdown is having detrimental effects on businesses, technology companies and day-to-day life. According to digital rights advocacy groups Internet Sans Frontières and Access Now, the first 15 days of the shutdown cost Cameroon the equivalent of USD $723,000. Iraq’s outages were more sporadic, with four one-hour outages observed between
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Netizen Report: Egyptian NGOs Face Rampant Phishing Attacks, Researchers Say

Global Voices Advocacy’s Netizen Report offers an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in Internet rights around the world. Researchers at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) and the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab exposed a series of at least 92 phishing attempts targeting the digital communications and data of human rights defenders, lawyers, and activists associated with seven prominent non-governmental organizations in Egypt. The attacks were carried out not through highly sophisticated technical means, but rather using social engineering, where attackers effectively masqueraded either as colleagues and confidants of the NGO workers, or as technology companies seeking account verification. Among those targeted were EIPR, the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, and Nazra for Feminist Studies, all groups that have partnered with Global Voices in the past. EIPR has published an Arabic translation of the report. In one example, just hours after
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Netizen Report: Trump Administration Kicks Off With Media Gags, Anti-Protest Measures

Global Voices Advocacy’s Netizen Report offers an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in Internet rights around the world. Less than a week into Donald Trump’s presidency, state legislators have introduced a smattering of anti-protest bills, four federal agencies have been placed under a media gag, and Trump staff have lambasted media over their coverage of the inauguration and anti-Trump protests.

The media gag on federal agencies — and the response on Twitter

On January 24, an anonymous source from within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) told reporters that, along with other federal agencies, EPA staff had been ordered to decline all press requests and to stop posting on their blogs and social media feeds until further notice. The EPA was also instructed to remove climate change-related content from its website. The Department of Interior received a similar order coinciding with a flurry of activity
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