Mzansi Afrika

From Johannesburg South Africa, a window on the world

Friday, March 19, 2004

China Targets Blogs

China is targeting blogs -- personal pages for Internet users -- in its latest attempt to censor the increasing popularity of the web.Two popular sites hosting blogs for thousands of people -- some of whom express their views about news -- have been shut down by the government, the Paris-based media rights group Reporters Without Borders said. One blog site alone, "BlogBus.com," hosted more than 15,000 blogs that have now been made inaccessible, the group said in a statement. The site was shut down on March 11 for allowing a letter to be posted that was critical of the government. "Due to the fact that the content in some blog user's blog violated regulations, the web server has been temporarily shut," a message said on the website Thursday. "We will try resolve the problem as quickly as possible." The other blog hosting site, "Blogcn.com," was shut down on March 14. It was also inaccessible Thursday. The crackdown on blogs coincides with the opening this week of the 60th session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva, at which China has a seat but without respecting its international commitments, the international press freedom organisation said. It also comes days after China's legislature approved an amendment to its constitution to say for the first time that the state respects and protects human rights. Reporters Without Borders Thursday expressed its anger at this latest escalation of Internet censorship. (Sapa/Afp)