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Putting The Boot Into Internet Repression


MEDIA RELEASE
For attention of: Education, Youth and IT editors
17th June 2007
For Immediate Release

Putting the Boot into Internet Repression

In early August, Amnesty International's student activists will combat internet repression as part of this year's "Freedom Challenge," Amnesty International's annual student action week.

Working under the slogan "Shutdown Repression/Reboot Human Rights," students will act to defend human rights in cyberspace.

Margaret Taylor, Amnesty International's Activism Support Manager, says: "Our students have a reputation for creative campaigning within more than 100 Amnesty International school, university and faith youth groups nationwide.

We expect that creativity to be at the fore as they explore the abundant possibilities offered within our Freedom Challenge slogan."

Students will be mobilising their communities to seek the release of two cyber-dissidents: - Chinese journalist Shi Tao, currently serving 10 years in prison for sending an e-mail from his Yahoo! Account. (Yahoo! supplied information to the Chinese government that helped to convict Shi Tao.) - Egyptian student blogger Abdel Kareem Soliman (pseudonym Kareem Amer), imprisoned this year for writing a blog criticizing his university and the Egyptian President.

"Amnesty's worldwide campaign against internet repression, 'Irrepressible.info', is a perfect match for our irrepressible students," says Margaret Taylor. "They are already planning a range of innovative and powerful events, including an action based on rock-climbing and an attempt to symbolically overcome the 'great firewall of Chin' that Chinese authorities are erecting around the internet in their country."

"Another group plans to collect signatures on boots, which will be sent to Yahoo! to stop the company from putting the boot into freedom of expression."

Freedom Challenge is part of "Freedom Week," Amnesty's annual public awareness week, which runs from July 30th to August 3rd. A dedicated Freedom Challenge website, www.freedomchallenge.org.nz, has been created as an action portal to counter governments who are cracking down on the use of the internet and IT companies who contribute to its censorship.

In recent years the internet has become an area of keen interest for human rights campaigners. "The 'Irrepressible.info' campaign ensures that the power of the pen, which Amnesty exploited so potently when it began in 1961, is unleashed via the internet," says Margaret Taylor.

For further information on the Freedom Challenge, contact: Activism Support Manager, Margaret Taylor Ph 09 303 4519, 021 165 1834 Freedom Challenge Co-ordinator, Jay Crangle Ph 09 303 4520

For further information on the Irrepressible.info campaign, contact: Campaigns Manager, Gary Reese Ph 04 496 9616, 021 535 256 Activism Support Manager, Margaret Taylor Ph 09 303 4519, 021 165 1834

ENDS

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