VOA: OSCE to Examine CA Internet Censors

by Laurence on 8/26/2004 · 2 comments

From the Voice of America:

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has called a special two-day conference starting Friday to look at the problems and dangers of the free flow of information on the Internet.

International experts from the United States, Central Asia and the Caucasus meet Friday in Amsterdam to look at what the OSCE calls the “digital divide”, separating countries such as the U.S. from regions such as Central Asia where access to the Internet is restricted.

OSCE spokeswoman Christiane Hardy says while many people in developing areas can’t afford to keep up with modern technology, in Central Asia it is often government interference that makes use of the Internet difficult.

“There’s no access at all, physical access or it’s very hard in Uzbekistan to get into the Net,” she said. “There’s strong censorship from the government. Well not in Tashkent itself, but when you get outside Tashkent it’s much more a problem. And in other Central Asian countries it’s more a problem. For example Turkmenistan has very strong censorship.”

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upyernoz August 26, 2004 at 12:18 pm

i have a related question. one of my friends in uzbekistan has several email addresses. one is a hotmail account and the others all end with @rambler.ru (which i presume means the server is russian). a few weeks ago, i wrote my friend an email asking if everyone in her family was okay after the most recent bombings. i also made a few political statements about president bush in the email to answer one of her questions about the elevated terrorism warning in the u.s. i sent the email to one of her rambler addresses but it bounced. i tried sending it to another rambler account (thinking the first one may have been full), but it also bounced. it got through when i sent it to hotmail.

when i looked at the two bounced messages, they indicated that my message had been rejected as spam. i sent another message to each of the rambler accounts without any political comment and both got through.

has this happened to anyone else? is anyone else familiar with rambler.ru?

Laurence August 26, 2004 at 5:12 pm

Upyernoz, it is quite possible that the message was rejected as spam by a filter at the other end, since a Russian website would not go through Uzbekistan. You might try sending from a different email return address and see if your message gets through. If it does, inform your recipient to remove your name from the list of spammers at his or her internet provider. I doubt comments about Bush would cause Russian censors to block your mail–maybe Putin, but probably not Bush…

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