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Thursday, 23 May, 2019
Quote of the week
"With the expansion of this block, millions of readers and volunteer editors, writers, academics, and researchers within China cannot access this resource or share their knowledge and achievements with the world,"
- Samantha Lien, communications manager at Wikimedia Foundation
Comment of the week
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China seems to be interfering with internet rights of users of Wikipedia. The online encyclopedia experienced blocking of the all language editions. These news were according to a report by the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI). AFP could not open any of Wikipedia's versions in China on Wednesday.
Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organisation that operates Wikipedia, said it had not received any notices explaining the latest block. According to the organisation, Wikipedia has been blocked intermittently in China since 2004. This act by the Chinese authorities needs to be considered as serious violation of human rights, especially freedom of communication.
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Internet shutdowns are becoming common in African countries. Already in 2019 there have been shutdowns in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Chad, Sudan and Zimbabwe. Last year there were 21 such shutdowns on the continent. Governments often claim that these shutdowns are done in the interest of public security and order.
In most cases the desire to control the internet is rooted in governments’ determination to control the political narrative. Many see the internet as an existential threat that must be contained, no matter what consequences it will have on other sectors.
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