Every year on March 12, countries around the world celebrate World Day Against Cybercensorship. The main purpose of this day is to highlight the importance of free speech on the Internet and to protest against cyber censorship. World Day Against Cyber Censorship also highlights how governments around the world are suppressing freedom of speech and expression on the World Wide Web.
Using the prospect of fines, arrests, and blocking or slowing down Internet services, authorities are pushing companies to censor objectionable material on the Internet while preventing the filtering of pro-class media.
This special day was first celebrated in 2008 by Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders. These organizations believe that everyone has the right to express their opinion on the World Wide Web. Since then, every year World Day Against Cybercensorship has been held to raise awareness about repressive governments and how they suppress free speech online in their countries. These countries seek to suppress free speech on WWW through a variety of means, including strict laws on defamation and insulting the government, the state. This also includes blocking certain social media platforms or setting up a dedicated firewall to prevent residents from accessing certain websites.
Why should we celebrate World Day Against Cybercensorship?
While some people question the idea of free speech on the Internet due to several cases of misinformation, general posts and videos of violence on social media, these cases cannot be a reason to censor the World Wide Web. The Internet remains a place where people can express their dissatisfaction with injustice, corruption and other problems. Many authoritarian governments are so afraid of the power of the Internet that they try to stifle free speech through cyber censorship. Cyber censorship leads to the fact that society cannot unite and achieve change. It also helps rulers to put forward only their version of events. Therefore, it is necessary that people speak out against the idea of Internet censorship.
How is World Anti-Cybercensorship Day celebrated?
Every year, Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty International organize the Netizen Award. This event is held to thank Internet users who have made a significant contribution to the campaign for freedom on the Internet. During the event, the organizations also publish a list of enemies of the Internet for countries with the highest degree of cybercensorship.
Organizations must maintain a high level of security in 2022 and beyond. Technology providers need to become more proficient in developing more secure and resilient technologies, designed with the way these devices will connect to networks that are likely to be infested with hackers.
Spencer Tunick, one of the founding curators and often censored artist, said:
We could not just wait for the platforms to catch up with us. It's about artists helping artists survive. We need to be able to reach out to our audience, operate within the current guidelines, while we continue to resist the removal and appeal process that too many artists struggle to navigate.
Years later, World Day Against Cybercensorship continues to advocate for a Free Internet. However, this argument has weakened over the years as several propaganda tweets, violent videos and general posts have surfaced on social media.
Censorship issues that were once limited to China have spread to the Russian Federation, Turkey, Belarus, Myanmar and other countries. Some of them are trying to create a more tightly controlled network. For Russia, Internet censorship is not easy. China has built a series of filters around its internet known as the Great Firewall, the Russian internet is more open. To change that, the Russian government has developed new technical content blocking techniques that it used last year to restrict access to Twitter. The Russian Federation is expected to step up pressure on technology companies as the authorities try to control what information is spread about the war in Ukraine.