LUCAS BACKS AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL’S IRREPRESSIBLE.INFO CAMPAIGN
GREEN Party Principal Speaker and Euro-MP Caroline Lucas has demanded the release of a Chinese journalist Shi Tao jailed for ten years for sending an email – and called for an end to all government repression of the Internet.
Dr Lucas joins a high-profile group of supporters of irrepressible.info – a campaign for free speech over the Internet, launched by human rights group Amnesty International and The Observer newspaper.
“The Internet has made possible the free movement of information and ideas across national borders and has delivered the practical ability to exercise free speech on a global scale,” said Dr Lucas.
“But a number of repressive governments are limiting their citizens’ freedom to access the Internet – and throwing them in jail for even trying. Perhaps even worse, multinational and western companies are helping them do so.
“This timely campaign aims to stamp this out once and for all: it calls for governments to stop all efforts to censor or limit access to the Internet – and persecute its users – and for all Internet Service Providers and ‘search engine’ operators to refuse to work with governments that fail to do so.”
Shi Tao is currently serving a ten-year prison sentence for ‘illegally providing state secrets’ after the Chinese partner of Yahoo! gave evidence against him in court. His crime? Sending an email to a US-based pro-democracy website about Chinese efforts to stifle reporting of the Tiananmen Square democracy protests in which hundreds were killed.
Now Dr Lucas has written to the Chinese Government, demanding his release and added her name to the growing list of supporters of the irrepressible.info campaign.
She has also linked her own website www.carolinelucasmep.org.uk to the campaign site – and will be highlighting a series of ‘banned’ messages, trying to undermine censorship by directly publishing one of the thousands of messages restricted by governments someone in the world.
Dr Lucas added: “Amnesty International has changed the way we think about human rights – and its work has changed the law and ensured governments abide by it in thousands of cases around the world.
“I hope irrepressible.info has a similar effect and is able to galvanise public support for a genuinely free and democratic Internet.”