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[liberationtech] ONI Releases New Report on Faith-Based Censorship

Masashi Nishihata masashi at
Mon Aug 1 11:33:44 PDT 2011

Internet censorship has become a growing and pervasive global norm.  
Internet censorship policies implemented by states are premised on a  
number of motives and rationales including national security, the  
control of dissent, and appeals to morality.

The OpenNet Initiative (ONI) is pleased to release "In the Name of  
God: Faith Based Internet Censorship in Majority Muslim Countries".  
This occasional paper analyzes the Internet censorship policies and  
practices of majority Muslim countries and finds that in many of these  
countries online information controls are primarily based on the  
Islamic faith and interpretations of its instructions

The paper provides a detailed analysis of the religious concepts,  
legal frameworks, and technical filtering that underlie faith-based  
censorship policies in majority Muslim countries. Faith-based  
filtering is becoming a contested issue in many of these countries.  
There is an ongoing struggle between state and nonstate actors who  
want to regulate the Internet to protect and even strengthen the  
Islamicity of their countries, and those who see the Internet as an  
alternative information tool to bypass the undesirable guardianship of  
the religious authorities—those who see the Internet as a potential  
threat to religious identity, and those who strive to bring to  
censored real space some of the qualities of the Internet: openness,  
freedom, and neutrality

This OpenNet Initiative occasional paper was authored by Helmi Noman,  
who is a Senior Researcher at the Citizen Lab, Munk School of Global  
Affairs, University of Toronto and a Research Affiliate at the Berkman  
Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University.

The OpenNet Initiative is a collaborative partnership of three  
institutions: the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs,  
University of Toronto; the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at  
Harvard University; and the SecDev Group (Ottawa). The ONI’s mission  
is to investigate, expose and analyze Internet filtering and  
surveillance practices in a credible and non-partisan fashion. We  
intend to uncover the potential pitfalls and unintended consequences  
of these practices, and thus help to inform better public policy and  
advocacy work in this area.

The full report is available for download at

Masashi Nishihata
Research Manager, Citizen Lab

Munk School of Global Affairs
University of Toronto
e: masashi at

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