On his blog, El Oso, David
Sasaki has just finished up the
third and last part in his series, "Internet Censorship
and Freedom of Expression in Latin America." It's a brilliant overview of current political and social pressures on free speech and online reporting in the region.
Some key observations:
Direct governmental censorship in Latin America
remains largely non-existent. Even occasional "murky,"
anecdotal evidence is mostly confined to Cuba and perhaps
Venezuela. Sasaki does a great job of collating what's been
rumored so far. The OpenNet Initiative has said
it will shortly publish updated research.
Litigation over content is the most widespread threat
to free expression online across the region. As CPJ has
reported for many years, criminal defamation laws and overbroad
judicial decisions affect independent journalism in many Latin
American countries. The large numbers of ongoing cases against
individual Net users and their hosting services show that this
risk has not diminished online.
Brazil and Chile are leading the way in attempts to create
Internet-era regulation, with broad participation. Other
countries could learn a lot from watching how this new body of
law develops, despite occasional missteps (or perhaps because of them).
The above will not surprise close watchers of the Latin American
Internet, and it certainly fits with CPJ's own observations there.
The real meat of this article, though, lies in the examples. From
decades old videos of famous censored
Argentine satire to a brief glimpse of the world of
Mexican botnets (a collection of hijacked computers used remotely by criminals), it's a compelling and informative read. Check
part one, an overview of the idea of Internet regulation;
part two, a survey of intermediary liability cases in the
part three, which offers a closer look at direct Net censorship in Latin
America, as well as brief glances at Net neutrality, privacy and