AUTHORITIES IN CHINA AND INDIA CENSOR INTERNET AND COMMUNICATION CHANNELS
The world’s two largest countries shut down internet and communication channels in the past week in fear of certain behaviour being promoted and spread through social media.
In Hong Kong, students and residents supporting the Occupy Central with Love and Peace movement have taken to the streets in mass protests that have escalated in the last week. The protesters are rallying for a democratic election process in the 2017 election of Hong Kong’s top official, this after Chinese officials announced candidates will need to meet the approval of a pro-Beijing nominating committee.
China’s answer? Block Instagram.
Reports have said authorities fear this protest for democracy could spark inspiration among people in mainland China.
Meanwhile, in the Indian state of Gujarat, religious violence broke out between Hindus and Muslims last Thursday after an image on Facebook was reportedly offensive to Islam. Al Jazeera has said over 200 people were arrested and dozens injured following a weekend of clashes between the two groups.
India’s answer? Block mobile telephone, texting and Internet services for four days in the region.
Police said they blocked the communication channels as a precautionary step to stop further violence.
In both of these circumstances, authorities have seemingly used censorship to clamp down on messages being spread through social media. As the millennial generation, we are well aware of how quickly ideas can be disseminated through the power of posting, sharing, tweeting and hashtags. It is a communication method that offers concisement and speed — and it is seemingly a threat to governing bodies.
Turkey restricted Twitter and YouTube in March as leaks about alleged political corruption were being broadcasted in the lead-up to elections.
During the Arab Spring, Internet shutdowns were used by authorities to limit organised protests against ruling governments in countries such as Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.
In retrospect, New Zealanders take access to the Internet for granted. Having such access and the right to communicate to others is also related to the basic right of freedom of speech. However, it must be taken into careful consideration if authorities and social media companies can ever rightfully justify intervention — for example, the Islamic State has harnessed the likes of Twitter and Facebook to their benefit. They have demonstrated how the message of terrorism can be easily spread, proven by their recruitment of jihadists throughout the world.
Deathly volcano erupts in Japan: Mt Ontake, a volcano west of Tokyo, erupted on Saturday leaving 36 people dead and authorities in fear the death toll will rise as rescue searches continue. A popular mountain for hiking, most people climbing the day it exploded were able to walk to safety. Others, however, were left trapped near the summit. The volcano continues to shoot out toxic gas, rocks and ash.
California develops new standard of sexual consent: Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill enforcing Californian colleges to mandate the new sexual consent standard of, “Yes means yes.” This means both parties in a sexual relationship will need to give unambiguous, affirmative consent through a verbal confirmation, replacing the previous standard of, “No means no,” which required active refusal to sex to prove a lack of consent. This comes amongst a nationwide push by the Obama administration to tackle the issue of campus sexual assault, in which they have largely cited a study that showed 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted while in college.
Ebola cases could reach 1.4 million in four months: The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention released their best-case and worst-case scenario estimates for Ebola cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Based on computer modelling, the best figures showed cases could be “almost ended” by Jan. 20, while the worst suggest 1.4 million cases could occur by Jan. 20. Guinea, the third country to be hit hard, was not included in the estimates. The outbreak has caused over 3,000 deaths and more than 6,500 infections in total.
[Headlines are everything//Business Woman Magazine]
World’s greatest bachelor marries: George Clooney married human-rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin in Venice over the weekend. Naturally, it was a lavish affair done in style amongst beautiful people.