Monday, March 14, 2011

Tunisian bloggers win annual Net freedom award

(Cross-posted from the Google European Public Policy Blog.)

Last week we blogged about the annual 2011 Reporters Without Borders Netizen Prize, which recognizes bloggers or Internet activists who defend freedom of expression on the Net. This year’s prize went to Nawaat, a group of Tunisian bloggers.

The independent jury of press specialists agreed that Nawaat’s online reporting played a significant part in helping to depose Tunisia’s longtime dictator, Zine el Abidine Ben Ali. It chose Nawaat as the winner from a strong field of finalists from Bahrain, Belarus, Thailand, China and Vietnam.

Created in 2004, is an independent collective blog operated by Tunisian bloggers as a platform for all “committed citizens.” The bloggers played a crucial role in covering the social and political unrest in Tunisia that began on December 17. Nawaat recently created a special page for the WikiLeaks revelations about Tunisia, and another one about the recent events in Sidi Bouzid, which were not covered in the traditional media. The site also warns Internet users about the dangers of being identified online and offers advice about circumventing censorship.

Pictured above from left to right are: Jean-Fran├žois Julliard, Secretary General of Reporters Without Borders; Former French Foreign Minister and founder of Doctors Without Borders, Bernard Kouchner; and Nawaat co-founder Riadh Guerfali, accepting the awards at a ceremony in Paris’ Salon des Mirroirs.

“We are deeply honored by this prize. It will help to strengthen the citizen journalism that we have been practicing for years at Nawaat, despite all the risks involved,” Guerfali said in his acceptance speech. “This award is not only a tribute to Nawaat but to all our fellow journalists who often risk their lives to keep working in countries where freedom of expression is suppressed.”

Google sponsors the annual Netizen prize. First awarded in 2010, it forms part of our commitment to support the free flow of information and free expression online. Last year, Iranian women’s rights activists Change for Equality became the first recipient.

Update: Here's a video of Google's Chief Internet Evangelist Vint Cerf saluting the 2011 Netizen Award winners –


theresaecosse said...

To Whom it may concern at Google--

You have just been used by an Italian prosecutor Giulani Mignini to curb an individual reporter's freedom of speech and Italian freedom of the press, by removing a blog called PERUGIA SHOCK from your server.

Mignini is the prosecutor in the Meridith Kercher murder case in Italy and Perugia Shock written by Frank Sfarzo has for three years been reporting on the case, exposing its flaws.

Mignini has a long history of harassing those who don't agree with his views in criminal trials. He is suing, or has threatened to sue for slander/defamation, around a dozen people and news organizations who support the innocence of the two accused; Amanda Knox and Raffaele Solicitto He has already been convicted of abuse of office in another murder case he handled, and is only not in jail because of the Italian system of appeals. Please check it out.

Frank Sfarzo is just the latest person who disagrees with Mignini's views to be sued for slander/defamation. Please look into the case further, and REINSTATE Perugia Shock.

Thank you

Theresa MacGillivray

Joan said...

It's the height of irony for Google to be posting public policy blogs about freedom of expression. This is the same Google who took down Frank Sfarzo's "Perugia Shock" website at the request of the corrupt Italian prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini. If this wasn't such a tragic situation for Amanda Knox and Raffaelel Sollecito, I would almost find it laughable...but not quite. How do you explain yourself, Google?