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31 October 2006

The Case at the Internet Governance Forum

Greek government official hears about

So I've arrived at the Internet Governance Forum here in Greece. I was a bit delayed due to the heavy rain and lack of geographic information. But I managed to arrive towards the end of the "Openness" session. I've heard some lame speeches (example: they asked the Microsoft guy about human rights and he started to talk about protecting software from being copied and how China has advanced in this respect). Later I heard Kieren McCarthy (from The Register) bring the case to the attention of the panel. He used some strong words, naming the issue a disgrace for Greece and the forum...

The level of reaction was very low. From the Greek government there was - if I made it out right - Theodoros Rousopoulos, the government spokesperson. He answered (paraphrasing here, look for the transcript) that he had no information about the case in question, but that there are bloggers who think that they can tell all kind of lies and TV stations will pick that up, and that this should be stopped while still allowing for freedom of speech. Yes, well. Maybe he still has fond memories of the Greek phonetapping scandal, even though the government took flak there from weblogs as much as from the press.

Tell you what, his statement has some truth in it - if you turn it around. When you look at people like Dimosthenis Liakopoulos, there is freedom of speech to spread weird lies on TV. But if you are a small guy, you better not step into the line of power. The message given is clear: "Look, you can get in jail for as much as posting a link, better not say anyting at all!"

Call to action: Talking with Kieren, we urge you all to blog about this issue, and if you are anywhere near here to come to the IGF forum and make yourself heard. It's not just one guy spending a night in jail, it's "open your mouth now or (you will be) shut up".

I've answered questions for The Register and the BBC news site, and there are rumours that Antonis Tsipropoulos (Αντώνης Τσιπρόπουλος) from will turn up later and answer press questions.

Posted by betabug at 13:02 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
ch athens
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