June 18 • 09:42 AM
QR Code
flag image


Guide aims to help bloggers beat censors
submitted by Travis
September 22, 2005 | 11:20 AM

PARIS, France (AP) -- A Paris-based media watchdog has released an ABC guide of tips for bloggers and dissidents to sneak past Internet censors in countries from China to Iran.

Reporters Without Borders' "Handbook for Blogger and Cyber-Dissidents" is partly financed by the French government and includes technical advice on how to remain anonymous online. It was launched at the Apple Expo computer show in Paris on Thursday and can also be downloaded from RSF's Web site in Chinese, Arabic, Persian, English and French.

"Bloggers are often the only real journalists in countries where the mainstream media is censored or under pressure," Julien Pain, head of the watchdog's Internet Freedom desk, writes in the introduction.

In a bid to inspire budding Web diarists around the world, the 87-page booklet gives advice on setting up and running blogs, and on using pseudonyms and anonymous proxies, which can be used to replace easily traceable home computer addresses.

"With a bit of common sense, perseverance and especially by picking the right tools, any blogger should be able to overcome censorship," writes Pain.

The advice varies depending on the user's level of paranoia -- from changing cyber cafes to sending cryptographically signed messages via specially formatted e-mail.

The guide explains circumvention technologies that can break through government filters but warns bloggers to check how severe the penalty will be if they are caught using them.

The freely available handbook advises bloggers to be ethical and warns that the tips are not intended for terrorists, racketeers or pedophiles who use the Internet to commit crimes.

The advice is for "a government whistleblower in a country with a less-than-transparent government," Ethan Zuckerman, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, writes in the section on "How to Blog Anonymously."

In a series of personal accounts, bloggers explain how they tried to beat censorship in countries such as Iran, China and Nepal.

"We can write freely in blogs," writes Arash Sigarchi, an Iranian journalist who was nonetheless sentenced to 14 years in prison for posting several messages online that criticized the Iranian regime.

RSF, an outspoken critic of media and online censorship, said the French Foreign Ministry helped pay for the booklet's printing costs.

The handbook ends with a "championship" of top Internet censors, starting with China and its "clever mix of investment, technology and diplomacy."

"A call for free elections ... has a maximum online life of about half an hour," Pain writes of censorship in China.

Over the past two years, blogs have become an increasingly popular vehicle for sharing opinions and information.

No one knows for certain just how big the so-called "blogosphere" has become. Technorati, the niche's top search engine so far, says it indexes 17.1 million sites spanning about 1.5 billion links.

Articles Search
Member Profile
Apr 08


iconEmail Me
icon10 Articles
icon9 Photos
smiley pete"Linear publishing has provided a turnkey solution for Mile High Newspapers that far exceeds anything that we could have accomplished on our own. While the capabilities of the system are impressive, what I have found most useful is Linear's willingness to implement new features and its ability to support the ones it has. The Linear system has so many features, that one newspaper will never use them all. I have looked at other newspaper content management systems, but have yet to find one that matches Linear's price, tech support and feature set."

Justinian Hatfield
New Media Manager
Mile High Newspapers
06 - 18 - 18
Born June 18th
1877: James Montgomery Flagg, American artist and author.
1896: Blanche Sweet, film actress.
1937: Gail Godwin, writer (The Perfectionists, The Southern Family).
1942: Paul McCartney, songwriter and singer, member of the Beatles.
1949: Chris Van Allsburg, children's author and illustrator (Jumanji, The Polar Express).
June 18th
in history
1778: British troops evacuate Philadelphia.
1812: The War of 1812 begins when the United States declares war against Great Britain.
1815: At the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon is defeated by an international army under the Duke of Wellington.
1863: After repeated acts of insubordination, General Ulysses S. Grant relieves General John McClernand during the siege of Vicksburg.
1864: At Petersburg, Union General Ulysses S. Grant realizes the town can no longer be taken by assault and settles into a siege.