The United States and its allies must act together to protect the internet as a democratic space for free expression and human dignity, wrote Libby Liu, CEO of the Open Technology Fund (OTF) and former President of Radio Free Asia (RFA). Both OTF and RFA are funded by U.S. taxpayers through congressional appropriations overseen by the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM).
When Iranian forces brutally cracked down on citizen protests last November, for good measure they made sure to effectively shut down the internet. More recently, we learned that in December, Chinese authorities had wasted no time in chastising Dr. Li Wenliang, who had tried to warn China about the emerging coronavirus epidemic — and later died from complications of that very coronavirus. Dr. Li’s crime? He had taken his warning to social media and the internet — which authorities scrubbed with impunity, as if trying to remove any trace of the virus.
Time and time again, authoritarians read from the same script: closing off access to information and stopping its flow regardless of the consequences. When problems arise, the tough don’t get going — they just turn out the lights – hoping that going dark will make their problems go away.
Xinhua, China Daily and CGTN are among the outlets deemed ‘foreign missions’ by US State Department. Media groups will have to obey rules similar to those imposed on embassies and consulates, Robert Delaney report for South China Morning Post.
Credit: RFA Photo.