June 26, 2010 | By Shari Steele

Another Bad Week for Free Expression on the Internet

Yet another country has decided to shut down key parts the Internet. Kathleen Reen at Internews reports that, as of this past Thursday, the Afghan Ministry of Communications mandated that all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Afghanistan filter websites falling under the following categories:

  • Alcohol
  • Dating/Social Networking
  • Gambling
  • Pornography

Reen reports countrywide blockages of Facebook, Gmail, YouTube, and Twitter. The Afghan Wireless Communication Company (AWCC), one of Afghanistan’s two largest telecommunication companies, is referring people with questions to the Ministry of Communications.

This follows on the heels of reports earlier this week of extensive new Internet censorship in Pakistan and Turkey. Yesterday, Pakistan announced that it will block links to content on Yahoo, Google, MSN, Hotmail, YouTube, Amazon, and Bing — and will completely block 17 other sites — that it deems anti-Islamic. Also this week, Turkey, which has banned more Internet sites than any other country in Europe, started completely blocking YouTube and thousands of other sites, including proxy servers that Turkish citizens were using to circumvent the bans.

EFF will continue to monitor these events. For some ideas on ways to speak freely without falling victim to authoritarian surveillance and censorship, and ways for the rest of us to help support the worldwide community, check out EFF's Surveillance Self Defense International.


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