Feminist reflection on internet policies

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Of Porn, Morality and Censorship: A Perspective from India

Richa Kaul Padte
Richa Kaul Padte on 10 July, 2013 - 16:51
0 comments | 4016 reads
Richa Kaul Padte is a writer and activist engaging with issues including gender, sexuality, disability, Internet rights, literature and popular culture. She lives in Bombay, dreams of London, and writes for The Sunday Guardian. Read her work on www.richakaulpadte.com or follow her @hirishitalkies.

Filed in April 2013, a legal petition that calls for a ban on pornographyi on account of its linkage to sexual violence in India has raised several eyebrows and debates within the country. This piece written by Richa Kaul Padte explores the context for this proposed legislation, the social and legal cultures in which it sits, and its implications for interneti censorshipi within India.

Women’s rights and threats to online freedom: reflections from the Freedom Online Conference 17 to 18 June 2013

Françoise Mukuku
Françoise Mukuku on 8 July, 2013 - 13:37
0 comments | 811 reads
Françoise is a member of Si Jeunesse Savait, an organisation based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and integrates APC's "End violence" project as a country partner.

From 17 to 18 June 2013 I took part in the conference on online freedom known as Freedom Online. This conference, carrying the same name of the coalition behind it, highlighted the continent in which it was hosted. In the midst of the international storm about surveillancei and censorshipi, our specific focus was online freedom in Africa and the Arab world as Tunisia, like all of the Maghreb, has one foot in both worlds.

Transparency and accountability: Finding points of agreement following the #fbrape campaign

Shawna Finnegan
Shawna Finnegan on 13 June, 2013 - 14:06
0 comments | 1601 reads

Last month a coalition of women's organisations led a campaign to hold Facebook accountable for its content policyi. In particular, how it deals with hateful speech and representations of gender-based violence shared by its users. In response, freedom of expressioni advocates have expressed concern and criticism over the precedent set by demands for Facebook to remove hateful content from its site. This has spurred debate over gender-based hate speech, the interdependence of human rightsi, and the impact of sexist online culture. Debate over how to balance freedom of expression with the right to protection from incitement to discrimination is constantly being reframed in the context of new technologies and political realities. Despite this ongoing debate, there is clear space for agreement on the need for transparency and accountability in how Facebook and other interneti intermediaries deal with abusive content, and takedown requests. This point has been made by advocates from a variety of backgrounds, including the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression.

#fbrape is about gender-based hate speech, not about censorship

Chat Garcia Ramilo
Chat Garcia Ramilo on 13 June, 2013 - 14:05
0 comments | 2186 reads
Chat is the former APC's Women's Rights Programme manager.

On May 21 more than a hundred organisations lead by Women, Action & the Media”:http://womenactionmedia.org/, the journalist Soraya Chemaly, and “The Everyday Sexism Project started a campaign to “Take action to end gender-based violence on Facebook”:http://www.womenactionmedia.org/facebookaction/. Within a week, Facebook accepted weaknesses and lapses in implementing their policies and their own community standards and committed to take steps to improve their content policy in identifying and removal of gender-based violent content on their platform. But not all advocates of freedom on expression online celebrated with us, arguing that Facebook should not be in the business of censoring content even if it is hate speech. This is not a new debate. It is a debate that feminists, who care deeply about freedom of expression, have faced around issues of misogyny and gender-based violent content. What is new is how these arguments play out online. What is crystal clear to those of us who are backing this campaign is that this is not a call to counter the right of users to free expression. The network of women’s organisations behind this action understand that internet freedoms are critical to asserting women’s rights and are staunch advocates of freedom of expression online and offline.

How women around the world are taking part in combating gender-based hate speech on Facebook

Nighat Dad
Nighat Dad on 13 June, 2013 - 13:58
0 comments | 1410 reads

Sexist, gender-based violent speech is a norm today. Sign in, check your home page and somewhere on that or over the timeline you’ll be linked to a page or a photo which only serves to demean the existence of woman. What’s worse is finding some of your friends making jokes about it. But should that be a norm too? Finding your friends making rape and other gender-based jokes? No, it’s NOT funny! Stand up and shout out, haven’t we taken enough already?

The false paradox: freedom of expression and sexist hate speech

Margarita Salas
Margarita Salas on 10 June, 2013 - 14:12
1 comments | 4597 reads
Margarita is a feminist activist and researcher from Latin America. She is currently doing research consultancy of internet intermediaries corporate policies for APC's End Violence project.

The campaign “Take action to end gender-based violence on Facebook” has re-opened up debate among internet rights iadvocates about the right to freedom of expressioni and responsibilities of interneti intermediaries in regarding the content that circulates through their services. Margarita Salas, who is currently doing research consultancy of internet intermediaries corporate policies for APC's End Violence project, is looking in her blogi at gender-based hate speech in the context of various international instruments and present couple of examples how to deal with cyber hate.

How funny is this, Facebook?

“Take action to end gender-based violence on Facebook” is this campaign’s call that asks companies whose publicity appears on explicitly violent Facebook pages and profiles to help pressure the social networkingi platform to re-examine its response to violence against womeni and girls.

Rediff and Rape Threats: What Rediff Could Have Done to Support Kavita Krishnan

Anja Kovacs for Internetdemocracy.in
Anja Kovacs for Internetdemocracy.in on 23 May, 2013 - 14:38
0 comments | 909 reads
Anja Kovacs works on internet freedom issues at the Internet Democracy Project in India. Through research, advocacy and debate, the Project seeks to unearth the role of technology in restructuring democracy

On 24 April, Kavita Krishnan, a leading figure in the anti-rape protests that have been rocking India since December 2012, was the target of online abuse on a public online chat on Rediff - an Indian leading media company and interneti services provider. Ironically, the chat was addressing the topic of rising incidence of rape, and Kavita was invited specifically by Rediff to respond questions from their online audience on that issue. In this piece, Anja Kovacs investigates what Rediff could have done to ensure Krishnan’s safety.

Just a few words...

Jan Moolman
Jan Moolman on 9 April, 2013 - 18:12
0 comments | 1121 reads
Jan Moolman is based in Johannesburg, South Africa, and works for the APC's Women's Rights Programme as a senior project coordinator.

In the weeks leading up to the Commission on the Status of Women (4-15 March) violence against women I watched and read and listened and wept over the brutal gang rape and murder of Anene Booysens. As I remembered a similar gang rape and murder of another young woman – Valencia Farmer- 14 years ago, and read each day of more rape and sexual assault all around the country, I thought my heart would crack open and spill out all the fear, and powerlessness and horror and sadness. It didn’t crack open, but the hot tears that ran down my cheeks every night brought some relief.

Violence against women online: A selection of tweets from CSW 57

GenderIT.org
GenderIT.org on 1 April, 2013 - 20:03
0 comments | 1152 reads

Twitter activity during the 57th session of the Commission on Status of Women between 4-15 March 2013 was quite intense. GenderIT.orgi took part in the tweeting by addressing the debate around emerging forms of violence against womeni and information and communication technologies, and advocating for its inclusion in the agreed conclusions of the meeting.

Sexuality and the internet: a five country perspective

Richa Kaul Padte
Richa Kaul Padte on 1 April, 2013 - 15:35
0 comments | 1149 reads

This blogi post is the final one in a series of ten blogi posts to report on the EROTICSi India workshop, recently concluded in Delhi. All the blog posts in this series are written by Richa Kaul Padte, the official rapporteur at the meeting.

‘Choli ke peeche kya hai?’: censorship and pornography

Richa Kaul Padte
Richa Kaul Padte on 25 March, 2013 - 13:20
0 comments | 2157 reads

The discourse of censorshipi is well-known to most people, as India’s right-wing moral brigades routinely flock to the streets to prevent everything from item numbers in Bollywood films to sex education posters in trains to the greeting-card shop Archies (for its ‘promotion’ of Valentine’s Day) from going ahead. But what does this mean for freedom of speech and expression in the country? And more specifically, given that the bans most frequently pertain to sex, and more specifically, female sexuality, what does this mean for women?

Agreed conclusions in CSW 57th include violence against women and ICT

Flavia
Flavia on 22 March, 2013 - 14:20
0 comments | 2717 reads

The 57th Commission on the Status of Women took place from 4 to 15 March 2013 at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The session’s priority theme was “Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls”, and representatives of the Association for Progressive Communications’ Women’s Rights Programme attended the meeting of this global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women and offered strategic inputs regarding violence against women and information and communications technologies. Setting a milestone for internet and women’s rights, this year’s conclusions included a paragraph on violence against women related to information and communications technologies.

Gendered abuse online

Richa Kaul Padte
Richa Kaul Padte on 22 March, 2013 - 12:30
0 comments | 2773 reads

So you’ve got proper online security, strong passwords, and great software all good to go. But are there other kinds of threats you may face online? What about abuse, verbal violence and harassment that no firewall or plug-in can prevent?

Statement of women's and feminist organisations on the very alarming trends in the negotiations of outcome document of CSW 57th

Center for Women´s Global Leadership
Center for Women´s Global Leadership on 21 March, 2013 - 17:23
0 comments | 1488 reads

The undersigned organisations and individuals across the globe, are again concerned that the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is wavering in its commitment to advance women’s human rightsi as demonstrated in the constant negotiation of the language in the outcome document.

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