Searching for free information in Burma
Searching for free information in Burma
Boris Manenti

PARIS - On November 27, Reporters Without Borders launched a new website called "We Fight Censorship," that "publishes content that has been censored or banned or has led to reprisals against its creator."

The content is selected by an "editorial committee," posted in its original language then translated – mostly into English or French. The website also adds an explanation of the context in which the content was published and censured.

For instance, the website hosts the censored video of a demonstration against Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, which was violently repressed in the summer of 2011.

The website is "first and foremost a tool of dissuasion," explains RWB’s general director Christophe Deloire. "The point is to show the censors that every censored article or publication will find an even bigger audience."

The NGO relies on the "Streisand deterrent effect" under which "the greater the efforts to censor a piece of online content, the more the Internet community tends to circulate it." Deloire explains: "Depriving authors of their freedom, of their articles, seizing newspaper issues, blocking the access to a video website will not prevent the content from circulating around the world, on the contrary."

We fight censorship is an extension of RWB’s creed as defender of the freedom of press and information.

“We are not another WikiLeaks”

In addition to hosting censored contents, the website offers an online "survival kit" containing tools and techniques for Internet users who want to "anonymize” their Internet connection (and to circumvent technical censorship), secure their connection or encrypt their documents.

We fight censorship also includes a secured "digital safe" that allows users to transmit documents to RWB, in a secure and anonymous process. However, RWB refuses to be compared to WikiLeaks – "We are not another WikiLeaks," says Mr. Deloire. "Our objective is not to publish raw content. Thanks to this "digital safe" tool, we want to be able to publish documents on the atmosphere or the economy of a country, that could be potentially censored."

All the content on the site can be instantly duplicated – relayed by mirror sites in case of a cyber attack or censorship (firewall or site blocking).

"With this, journalists will be able to keep playing their role as forces of opposition in order to create a more democratic and transparent society," says Mr. Deloire.

Every year, RWB ranks the levels of freedom of press around the world based on censorship mostly. Early this year, Eritrea, North Korea, Turkmenistan, Syria and Iran were the worst. France ranked 38th.

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Society

How The Top Collector Of Chinese Art Evades Censors In New Hong Kong Museum

Swiss businessman Uli Sigg is the most important collector of Chinese contemporary art. In 2012, he gave away most of his collection to the M+ in Hong Kong. Now the museum has opened as the Communist Party is cracking down hard on freedom of expression. So how do you run a museum in the face of widespread censorship from Beijing?

''Rouge 1992'' by Li Shan at the M+ museum

Maximilian Kalkhof

The first test has been passed, Uli Sigg thinks. So far, everything has gone well. His new exhibition has opened, visitors like to come, and — this is the most important thing for the Swiss businessman — everything is on display. He has not had to take an exhibit off the list of works.

The M+ in Hong Kong is a new museum that wants to compete with the established ones. It wants to surpass the MoMa in New York and Centre Pompidou in Paris. Sigg, a rather down-to-earth man, says: “There is no better museum in the whole world.” That is very much self-praise, since Sigg’s own collection is central to the museum.

The only problem is: great art is often political; it questions the rulers. Since the Chinese Communist Party has been cracking down on critics and freedom in Hong Kong, the metropolis is a bad place for politics and art. So how did the collection get there?

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