Blog censorship in Greece ahead of the IGF forum in Athens

Martin Belam by Martin Belam, 27 October 2006

Some disturbing news from Greek bloggers has emerged this week.

In Greece of 2006 we have the first sue against a site that (through rss) published some satirical posts (from a blog) about a famous person. You see, in my country WE ARE NOT FREE.

The owner of the site was handcuffed and driven to prison for one night and now he is free until the day he testifies in court. His computer with all his work was taken away from the police and now we are all waiting for the court to decide.

The blogme.gr aggregator site front page has currently been replaced with a simple Greek message and an anti-censorship logo

20061027_blogme.gif

According to Don't Kiss The Frog, it seems that because the authorities were unable to get at the original poster who hosted the material in the USA, they have taken the legal action against the .gr hosted RSS aggregator who re-published the content.

Obviously I have a personal interest in this kind of attempt at blog censorship - whilst in Greece I have always written about Greek News and politics on 'A lemon tree of our own' on the basis that expressing my opinion online in Greece was as acceptable as it is in the UK. Clearly, it appears that may not be the case.

This happens with some ironic timing for the Greek authorities. On Monday in Athens the Internet Governance Forum opens. And on Tuesday the agenda is:

Openness - Freedom of expression, free flow of information, ideas and knowledge.
The Session is expected to take up the following issues: Free flow of information, freedom of expression, empowerment and access to knowledge.

It also co-incides with Amnesty International launching an appeal for the protection of free speech on the internet aimed at influencing the IGF.

As I can't read Greek I am unable to follow the online Greek debate about it, but I hope there will be some kind of demonstration outside the IGF meeting to bring this further to the world's attention.

Hat-tip to 'This is not my country'

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