Archive for the ‘bloggers’ Category

China has close to 300 million Internet users

January 13, 2009

China’s online population, already the world’s largest, rose to 298 million by the end of 2008, almost the same as the entire population of the United States, an industry survey said Tuesday.

The figure is up 41.9 percent from a year ago and is still growing fast, the government-linked China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC) said in a report published on its website.

Users in the countryside surged by 60.8 percent year-on-year to 84.6 million, compared with much more modest growth of 35.6 percent in the urban areas, the report said.

AFP

The CNNIC report said 117.6 million people accessed the Internet using their mobile phones last year, up 133 percent from 2007.

China, with 633.8 million mobile phone users, last week issued long-awaited licences for third-generation (3G) mobile phones, which enable faster data transmission and services such as wide-area wireless calls and web surfing.

“With the coming of the 3G era, wireless Internet will have exponential growth,” the CNNIC said in a statement accompanying the release of its report.

China’s fast-growing online population has made the Internet a forum for its citizens to express their opinions in a way rarely seen in the traditional, strictly government-controlled media.

It has stirred up Beijing’s fears about potential social unrest, with the government stepping up control of the web in recent years by introducing measures such as requiring bloggers to disclose their real names.

Related:
Internet Limits on Sex, Porn Used to Mask Limits on Freedom, Human Rights?

Read the rest:
http://tech.yahoo.com/news/afp/20090113/tc_afp/l
ifestylechinainternetitusers_20090113160232

CIA: At Least One Obama Nominee Idea Derailed

December 23, 2008

Bogs and bloggers do have influence as the story of one man almost chosen by Barack Obama proves….

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John Brennan, Obama’s chief intelligence adviser and anticipated CIA chief, was recently forced to withdraw his name — and the drumbeat of opposition came not from the front pages, but from left-wing bloggers. 

In this Sept. 21,2004 file photo, John Brennan gestures during ... 
John Brennan. AP Photo Lawrence Jackson

President-elect Barack Obama has shown almost perfect pitch in crafting his new administration, aptly choosing old hands instead of fresh faces and bringing in the experience he lacks. 

But there is one glaring void. Obama has yet to name key intelligence officials to manage the war against terrorism. 

And one of the central reasons he hasn’t come forward with a pick for one of the top jobs is because he’s running into pressure from an unexpected source — left-wing bloggers. 

John Brennan, Obama’s chief intelligence adviser and anticipated CIA chief, was recently forced to withdraw his name. There was no drumbeat of opposition to Brennan from the front pages or on cable. Rather, the pick was torpedoed by the blogosphere. 

“Apparently there is a lot of pressure on the Obama team from a blog saying that Brennan couldn’t be made the director of the CIA because he was involved in torture and renditions, which he wasn’t,” said Mark Lowenthal, former assistant CIA director. 

The turn of events only emphasizes the influence of the Internet on the operation of a president-elect whose campaign was powered in large part by the Web. 

“Blogs do have significant influence,” said blogger Glenn Greenwald, one of those critical of Brennan. “I think the Obama team would be foolish if they just ignored what happened on blogs, and I know for a fact that there are people high up in the Obama campaign and now the transition team who read blogs regularly.” 

As a result, say knowledgeable sources, the Obama transition team pushed Brennan to withdraw his name. “Their knees buckled,” one intelligence veteran said. 

Brennan once served as George Tenet’s chief of staff and later took an administrative role at the CIA, before moving on to what became the National Counterterrorism Center. 

Greenwald and other bloggers blamed Brennan, though, for condoning harsh interrogation methods, as well as rendition — the practice of capturing terrorists, like 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and taking them to the U.S. or other countries for interrogation and imprisonment. 

But many say Brennan had no control over those policies. 

“This is one of those Washington drive-by shootings that we have from time to time where someone is near a policy issue that’s controversial and is dragged down by the conventional wisdom,” said Douglas Paal, former CIA senior analyst. 

Brennan did say rendition was a vital tool — after all, without it, Khalid Sheik Mohammed and others might still be free. 

But when he withdrew his name from consideration, he wrote a letter to the president-elect, obtained by FOX News, in which he described himself as a Bush critic on many fronts. 

“It has been immaterial to the critics that I have been a strong opponent of many of the policies of the Bush administration such as the preemptive war in Iraq and coercive interrogation tactics, to include waterboarding,” Brennan wrote in the Nov. 25 missive. 

And Brennan said that as a result of his opposition to Bush policies, he was “twice considered for more senior-level positions in the current administration only to be rebuffed by the White House.” 

In that sense, it would seem Brennan was the perfect man for a job with Obama — but not good enough for the critics.

Greenwald said Brennan’s support for rendition and “all of the other enhanced interrogation techniques beyond waterboarding” makes him “unqualified” for the job. 

Intelligence veterans, however, say that sets an impossible standard. 

“If you were involved in a senior position in the intelligence community during the war on terror, you can’t be nominated for another senior position,” Lowenthal said.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2008/12/22/obama-intelligence-pick-torpedoed-bloggers/

China defends censoring websites that break rules

December 16, 2008

China defended Tuesday the blocking of websites it said violated Chinese law and urged Internet companies to respect its legal system.

“The Chinese government conducts necessary management over the Internet. It is the same with other nations,” foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told journalists.

art.hacker1.cnn.jpg 
Chinese journalists, Reporters Without Borders and Tibetan human rights groups all say China censors the internet too much…

“You cannot deny, some websites actually contain content that violates China’s laws.”

Liu cited websites that maintain that Taiwan is an independent nation separate from China, a view that violates China’s anti-secession law, he said.

“I hope that websites can practise self-restraint and not do things that violate China’s law,” he said.
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AFP

Liu was responding to questions on why websites belonging to the BBC, the Voice of America and Reporters Without Borders appeared to be blocked in China after they were made accessible during the Beijing Olympics.

Liu did not answer those questions, nor would he comment on the legal process leading up to the blocking of any particular website.

China exercises strict control over the Internet, blocking sites linked to Chinese dissidents, the outlawed Falun Gong spiritual movement, the Tibetan government-in-exile and those with information on the 1989 Tiananmen massacre.

Its system of Internet censorship has become known as the “Great Firewall of China” due to the large number of websites that are inaccessible from inside the country.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081216/tc_afp/chin
amediainternetcensorship_081216171844

Mumbai attacks caps year for citizen journalism

December 16, 2008

NowPublic on Tuesday declared “crowd-powered” news reports of terrorist attacks in Mumbai as a climactic moment in a year in which citizen journalism proved its mettle.

The India tragedy heads a list of “Top 10 Moments In User-Generated News” determined by editors at the Vancouver-based startup.

“2008 not only proved the concept of user-generated news, but also tipped the scales,” said NowPublic co-founder and chief executive Leonard Brody.

“The pillars of mainstream media have all made significant efforts to embrace the new model.”

AFP

The validation of citizen journalism culminated last week when Pulitzer Prize organizers added an “Internet-only” news category for what is considered the most prestigious honor for reporters.

“In today’s highly wired and mobile world, everyone has a digital soapbox,” said NowPublic global news director Rachel Nixon.

“No longer the preserve of a few, crowd-powered media formats began to be widely used by anyone wanting to get their message out and connect.”

NowPublic’s Top 10 list includes reporting on natural disasters worldwide and crisis in Africa, as well as the effect of an online posting falsely reporting that Apple’s iconic chief executive Steve Jobs had a heart attack.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081216/tc_afp/usindiacanad
aitinternetmedianowpublic_081216065930

Iran’s bloggers thrive despite blocks

December 15, 2008

Iran has one of the most vibrant blogging communities in the world – despite government boasts that it blocks five million websites. The BBC’s Jon Leyne in Tehran is spending the day with bloggers to see what makes them tick.

From the BBC
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With much of the official media controlled by the government or hardline conservatives, the internet has become the favoured way of communicating for Iran’s well-educated and inquisitive younger generation.

Go online in Iran and you will find blogs or websites covering every topic under the sun.

Politics, of course, but also the arts, Hollywood cinema, women’s issues, women’s sport, pop music. Whisper it quietly, there is even an online dating scene in the Islamic Republic.

Day-by-day there is an intriguing cyber-war, as the government wrestles for control of the internet, and Iran’s bloggers wrestle it back.

Iranians surf the World Wide Web at Iran's first Internet ... 
Iranians surf the World Wide Web at Iran’s first Internet cafe in Tehran 1998. Iran has blocked access to more than five million Internet sites, whose content is mostly perceived as immoral and anti-social, a judiciary official was quoted as saying on Wednesday.(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)

Iran hosts around 65,000 bloggers, and has around 22 million internet users. Not bad for a country in which some remote areas do not yet have mains electricity.

Even some journalists who work in the mainstream media use the internet to publish articles they can not get past their newspaper or programme editors, or the official censors.

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7782771.stm

Test for Vietnam government: free-speech bloggers

December 6, 2008

Last fall, when police clashed with Catholic protesters over confiscated church land, the Vietnamese public didn’t need to rely on the sanitized accounts in the government-controlled media. They could read all about it on the blogs.

The photos and translated Western news reports about last September’s outlawed prayer vigils were posted in a Vietnamese blogosphere where anything goes — from drugs, sex, marriage and AIDS to blunt criticism of the communist government.

Until now the government has generally taken a hands-off attitude. But officials at the Ministry of Information and Communications appear to be losing patience. They say they are preparing new rules that would restrict blogs to personal matters — meaning no politics.

By Ben Stocking
Associated Press

Read the rest:
http://www.syracuse.com/newsflash/index.ssf?
/base/international-32/1228592946127530.x
ml&storylist=topstories


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In Vietnam, bloggers are on the front lines of the freedon movement.  In the U.S., bloggers are pretty much “anything goes.”  Here Dan Mirvish, who with Eitan Gorlin created an elaborate Internet hoax complete with a fake policy institute and a phony adviser to Senator John McCain.  Photo:  Axel Koester for The New York Times

Blogging dangerous for foreign journalists

December 5, 2008

Blogging can be a dangerous business.

More bloggers and online scribes have been jailed worldwide than any other breed of journalists, according to the  Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which released its annual “prison census” survey Thursday.

Almost half — 45 percent — of all media workers jailed worldwide are bloggers, Web-based reporters or online editors, representing the largest professional category for the first time in CPJs prison census.

“Online journalism has changed the media landscape and the way we communicate with each other,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “But the power and influence of this new generation of online journalists has captured the attention of repressive governments around the world, and they have accelerated their counterattack.”

The carefree existence of bloggers may be a myth — at least in some parts of the world.

By Jennifer Harper
The Washington Times 

“The image of the solitary blogger working at home in pajamas may be appealing, but when the knock comes on the door they are alone and vulnerable, said Mr. Simon.

The CPJ survey found that overall, 125 journalists are behind bars in 29 countries as of Dec. 1 — and 56 percent of them are bloggers, or work online. There was only one blogger jailed a decade ago.

Print reporters, editors and photographers make up the next largest category, with 53 incarcerated this year. Television and radio journalists and documentary filmmakers constitute the rest.

All of us must stand up for their rights — from Internet companies to journalists and press freedom groups. The future of journalism is online and we are now in a battle with the enemies of press freedom who are using imprisonment to define the limits of public discourse,” Mr. Simon said.

Related:
Vietnam court upholds blogger’s jail term

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008
/dec/04/blogging-dangerous-foreign-journalis
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