Saturday, May 28, 2022

Amnesty offers tools to highlight censored blogs

In a push to attract bloggers and techies, Amnesty International UK is offering special code tools to raise awareness about bloggers around the world who are censored or imprisoned for their writing.

Bloggers can add a bit of JavaScript to their pages that pulls content from a database of censored Web sites and blogs, said Mel Herdon, Web and new media manager for Amnesty in London. The code fetches a quote from a censored page and displays the Web site. The quote changes when the blogger’s Web page is reloaded.

Also available is an API (application programming interface) designed to let applications use the database’s content, along with an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed, she said. The tools were developed by Soda Creative Ltd., a design company.

They’re available on Amnesty’s Irrepressible.info campaign Web site, which focuses on how governments such as China and Iran often block content on chat rooms, blogs and Web sites.

Amnesty has criticized companies such as Microsoft Corp., Google Inc. and Yahoo Corp. for allegedly facilitating censorship for governments through technical assistance.

One sample quote on Irrepresible.info using the Javascript code came from a Web site run by the Iranian Gay and Lesbian Healthcare Workers Association, which has been censored according to Amnesty.

Amnesty is trying to raise more attention to censorship to make it a larger issue at the Internet Governance Forum, a conference that looks at the development of the Internet, which starts Monday in Athens, Herdon said.

Part of that has been to engage the high-tech community “I don’t think we have acknowledged how much we can be doing with the blogging community and the technical community,” Herdon said. “We want to attract those people involved in Internet technology.”

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