When the level of evil plummets my skeptical nature always asserts itself. I wonder, for instance, if Tinhorns the world over aren't taking the week off to apply neat's foot oil to their collection of rubber hoses. We can hope not. But time will tell. And in the meantime, I suppose, "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."
Grass roots, high tech protests in Indonesia make leadership nervous. 56,000 Indonesians protested via Facebook a statue of U.S. president, Barack Obama, in a Jakarta park. Officials took down the statue agreeing any such construction should honor an Indonesian. A filtering bill was withdrawn from the country's parliament also due to online protest. These are just two examples of pressure brought to bear online. However, a legacy of restricted speech and laws still on the books could be used to shut up the online masses and if history is any guide, they may well be used that way.
Egyptians also begin to gain leverage online. GVO writes about the ways in which Egyptian protesters have learned to use a wide-ranging suite of communications technologies to not just arrange protests, but to distribute information on detainees.
US. Supreme Court strikes down animal cruelty law. The law would made the act of showing the cruelty a crime, despite the fact that the cruelty itself was already a crime. The court's ruling overturned the conviction of a Virginia man who had been convicted under the law. The argument was successfully made that such a precedent would make it easy to ban other types of expression based on the lawmakers' distaste for what was being said. The law was passed by the U.S. congress a decade previously. Many news organization surrendered amicus briefs in favor of the plaintiff.
Ukrainian blogger arrested. Although Olena Bilozerska was detained prior to this week, RSF's letter to Ukrainian prime minister Anatoliy Mohylyov was published this week and we had not covered her before. According to the RSF, Bilozerska "covered a protest by a group called Autonomous Resistance on 18 February in which demonstrators threw eggs, paint and smoke grenades in a Kiev shop that sells furs. The police searched her apartment without a warrant on 27 March, seizing material. She was then interrogated on 30 March and 13 April in an unacceptable manner." This unacceptable manner included, at the very least, beatings. That's a blogger, folks. Not some Dexter Filkins type. A woman with a blog. Just saying.
Bottom photo by Laura Padgett