Why You Can’t Take Your Freedom to Think, and Freedom to Speak, for Granted

I love our famous Social Media Guru Beth Kanter.  Below is a great excerpt on how to attain Internet access, from what she and her colleagues learned from all over the world.

May people who need a voice, have one. May people who desire freedom attain it. May people who simply want to express an idea….

be able to do so.

We shouldn’t ever take our freedom to think, and our freedom to speak, for granted.

Read on to get your freedom, or help someone who needs it.   Beth Kanter relates how she faced Internet blockage during a Social Media training center in the Middle East:

“Unfortunately, yesterday, the Pakistan government decided to block Twitter – after we had just gotten everyone comfortable tweeting!

According to Pakistan’s Express Tribune, the request to block the site was made by the Ministry of Information and Technology, because of a drawing competition (details here). The ministry asked Twitter to remove the content, but Twitter responded that it “cannot stop any individual doing anything of this nature on the website.”    Directives to block the site were sent to ISPs in several parts of the country, including PTCL Broadband and Wi-Tribe. It also reports that Twitter is still accessible by mobile using secure browsers like Opera, as well as proxies and VPNs.  More from GlobalVoices.

The coverage in TechCrunch came about when activists in Pakistan wrote to major social media sites about the block.  Waqas Ali, who is Lahore, sent TechCrunch a screenshot of the blocked Twitter.   According to TechCrunch, Ali has also played a role in a past campaign in the country to keep Facebook from getting banned.

The block did not last long.  According to Pakistan’s Express Tribune, the Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani made the decision to restore access to Twitter.   

My colleague, Stephanie Rudat, who is working with me on the project, and I decided that we needed to “How To Get Past Internet Censorship” review.   Stephanie put together this awesome resource list of services.”

*****

Beth, thank you for an inspiring and practical way to help others…and to being responsive!    I bet the entire world thanks you.

Biography – Beth Kanter (from bethkanter.org)

Beth Kanter is the author of Beth’s Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media, one of the longest running and most popular blogs for nonprofits.  She co-authored the book titled “The Networked Nonprofit” with Allison Fine published by J Wiley in 2010 that received Honorable Mention for the Terry McAdams Award.  Beth has over 30 years working in the nonprofit sector in technology, training, capacity building, evaluation, fundraising, and marketing.   Her second book, Measuring the Networked Nonprofit,  with Co-Author KD Paine, will be published in October, 2012.

In 2009, she was named by Fast Company Magazine as one of the most influential women in technology and one of Business Week’s “Voices of Innovation for Social Media.”  She was named Visiting Scholar for Social Media and Nonprofits for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation in 2009-2012.  She was a Society of New Communications Research Fellow for 2010.

Beth was honored with the inaugural PepsiCo Women’s Inspiration Award at the 2011SxSW Interactive Festival.

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