The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Banding together for blogger freedom in Fiji

You may have seen the following release around a few blogs yesterday:*

New Zealand Bloggers Offer Support For Freedom Of Speech In Fiji

New Zealand bloggers from across the political spectrum are offering material support for Fijian blogs in the face of violence and censorship by the country's military regime. They are also calling on the New Zealand government to condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the regime's acts of violence and censorship against this nonviolent, grassroots blogging movement.

The Fijian military regime has declared anonymous pro-democracy bloggers to be a "threat to national security", and have attempted to block Fijian access to common hosting sites such as www.blogspot.com. Suspected blogger, Ulaiasi Taoi, was recently subjected to beatings, verbal abuse, and humiliation during a 24-hour questioning, according to The Fiji Times and Fijian news sites. The military regime now claims to have identified 20 more people responsible for pro-democracy blogs who will also be threatened with "questioning".

In support of the right to freedom of expression, a group of New Zealand bloggers are now offering access to their own websites for Fijian residents. The group is composed of prominent New Zealand bloggers from across the political spectrum, including writers of Just Left, Kiwiblog, No Right Turn, NZBC, Public Address, and Spanblather. They have agreed to publish guest articles by Fijian bloggers, and where possible will provide hosting on their servers for Fijian blogs.

The group are also calling upon other members of the New Zealand online
community with an interest of freedom of speech (such as Scoop, nzherald.co.nz,
and Stuff) to make a similar offer of material support for Fijian bloggers.

Blogs are one of the few news sources outside of the control of the military regime in Fiji, representing a vital channel of uncensored information for both Fijians and the international community.

Any Fijian bloggers wishing to make use of this offer should make contact through one of the above-listed websites.

I've put Spanblather up to help, although due to my technical handicaps all I can really do is host guest posts. I expect that most Fijian bloggers looking for somewhere to put up their writings will go to one of the bigger blogs (pretty much all of the others on the list!) and that's ok. Scoop has also stepped up to the plate to publish their writings, so that's another great outlet and hopefully another way around the attempts to shut down dissent within our Pacific neighbour.

I'm hoping to write more on this in the future, but for NZ coverage you really can't go past Idiot/Savant. He has been doing some great work in this area and I take my hat off to him (yet again).


* You can call me many things but you can rarely call me punctual.

3 comments:

CoralPoetry said...

Hi, from the UK

I hit the 'Next Blog' and found yours which is very interesting and stuffed to the brim. I have bookmarked you to read through at a later time.

Thanks.
Coral

Cathi said...

Span, how does this work? Forgive my ignorance, but do Fijians need to email their articles to a supporter for uploading? Is access to blogsites such as Blogspot, Livejournal, Wordpress, Typepad etc blocked for them so that they can't set up their own?

I would be happy to maintain a blog for a Fijian if they wanted to send me articles to post, that way they could have their very own. Of course, going up through Kiwiblog and Public Address etc would give them wide readership very quickly, which in their situation is presumably very attractive.

I'd like to help too (particularly if there are any lady blogger-wannabes) but I don't think providing guest hosting on my wikkle bwog is much of an offer. Anything else I can do?

Anonymous said...

Add this Ft article.