Nanny State: Web Censoring Widens Across Southeast Asia

25 September 2009

Web Censoring Widens Across Southeast Asia

Governments Lacking Technical Means Use Coercion and Intimidation in Efforts to Suppress Criticism Online


BANGKOK -- Attempts to censor the Internet are spreading to Southeast Asia as governments turn to coercion and intimidation to rein in online criticism.

Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam lack the kind of technology and financial resources that China and some other large countries use to police the Internet. The Southeast Asian nations are using other methods -- also seen in China -- to tamp down criticism, including arresting some bloggers and individuals posting contentious views online.

That is distressing free-speech advocates who had hoped that Southeast Asia -- until recently a region where Internet use was relatively unfettered -- would become a model of open debate in the developing world as its economies modernize.

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