HANOI: Vietnam has asked companies not to advertise on videos hosted by Google's YouTube that contain "anti-state propaganda," state media said on Wednesday (Jun 12), as the Southeast Asian country ramps up pressure on global tech giants.Despite economic reforms and increasing openness to social change, the ruling Communist Party retains tight media censorship in Vietnam and does not tolerate dissent."Google was found to loosely manage its content, allowing users to buy ads directly from YouTube and Google without the involvement of domestic ad agents," the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) said, referring to a Jun 7 announcement by the Ministry of Information and Communication.The ministry listed several foreign companies, including Samsung Electronics, Huawei Technologies, Yamaha Motors and ride-sharing app Grab, which were found to have advertised on videos containing "illegal and malicious content," it added.Vietnam's information ministry has identified about 55,000 YouTube videos it … [Read more...] about Vietnam ramps up pressure on Google’s YouTube advertisers
Censorship on social media
DHAKA: Bangladesh authorities have blocked access to a popular news portal in what critics on Tuesday condemned as the latest blow to freedom of expression in the South Asian nation. Poriborton.com, one of the country’s top five online news outlets, was cut off without notice on Sunday, managing editor Abu Sufian told AFP. He did not give a reason. Officials for government agencies that regulate the internet industry denied any knowledge of the case or refused to comment. The website can still be accessed in other countries. But a Bangladesh media industry source said a government security agency issued the order after a report published on the website raised questions about the financing behind a newspaper advert against Muslim militancy. Muslim groups had condemned the advert, saying it described some signs of Islamic faith as marks of radicalisation. In recent months the authorities have shut 54 news portals and websites, including that of the main opposition party, citing … [Read more...] about Bangladesh government blocks news website in fresh blow to media
BEIJING: China's LGBT community has had a tough year: Censors have shut down social media forums, news media have curbed coverage of gay issues, and online shops have removed rainbow-themed products.The tighter restrictions have led the LGBT community in China - fearing a crackdown - to prepare for muted celebrations of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia on Friday (May 17)."We don't really know what to do. The LGBT community in many ways is being bullied and the sense of powerlessness becomes stronger," said Rush, a university student who only gave her pen name for fear of repercussions.For last year's International Day, diversity events sprung up across the country's universities where many students voluntarily distributed rainbow badges and flyers to show their support for LGBT groups.But the unprecedented scale of the celebrations caught the attention of the authorities.This year, only a few small-scale screenings of LGBT movies will be held in … [Read more...] about Fewer rainbows, less social media for China’s LGBT community
ISLAMABAD: Threats, arrests, blocked accounts and restricted posts - Big Brother is watching more closely than ever in Pakistan as authorities accelerate efforts to censor social networks, further reducing an already shrunken space for dissent.In the past 18 months, a slew of journalists, activists, and government opponents - both at home and overseas - have faced intimidation or the threat of legal action for their online posts.Censorship is already rife among Pakistan's mainstream media, with the Committee to Protect Journalists noting last year that the military had "quietly but effectively" imposed strict limits on the scope of general news reporting.Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter were regarded as the last holdouts of dissenting voices, but now that has changed.In February, authorities announced the creation of a new enforcement arm to root out social media users accused of spreading "hate speech and violence" as part of the crackdown.Gul Bukhari, a columnist and … [Read more...] about Social networks under intense surveillance in Pakistan
LONDON — In Spain, activists were convicted for social media posts that violated an expanded anti-terrorism law. The Twitter accounts of German citizens were blocked because of rules enacted last year that prohibit hate speech. And a Dutch court determined Google must remove search results about a doctor punished for poor performance, in compliance with a privacy law. Heralded as the world’s toughest watchdog of Silicon Valley technology giants, Europe has clamped down on violent content, hate speech and misinformation online through a thicket of new laws and regulations over the last five years. Now there are questions about whether the region is going too far, with the rules leading to accusations of censorship and potentially providing cover to some governments to stifle dissent. The unintended consequences may be compounded as European governments pursue more laws and policies to restrict what communication can be shared online. Last month, Britain proposed appointing … [Read more...] about News Europe takes on big tech: Has it gone too far?