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News seen on the web and about the web. From Monday to Friday at 8.20 am Paris time.

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Latest update : 2010-12-21

Campaigning for Amanda Knox’s release from prison is growing online

Campaigning for Amanda Knox’s release from prison is growing online. Venezuelans are concerned about web censorship in the country. And Cuba launches its own version of Wikipedia.

ITALY: AMANDA KNOX TRIAL  

The woman in this video is a member of the association “Friends of Amanda” and she is appealing for Amanda Knox’s freedom. In 2007, the American student was convicted alongside two accomplices of the murder of her English roommate, Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy. She was sentenced to 26 years in prison.  The young woman’s appeal began on the 24th of November and is being widely discussed on the web.

Mobilisation in support of Amanda Knox’s plea for freedom is growing online and in the United States in particular. The web site “Amanda Defense Fund” was set up by members of her family and it hopes to convince the public of her innocence. The site has photos of a smiling Knox and also letters from friends and family all claiming the student could never have committed such a crime.

"Injustice in perugia" is also campaigning for Knox’s freedom. On this web site a former member of the FBI, and specialist in violent crimes says the enquiry was sloppy and Italian police officers relied more on their instincts than on material evidence: he thinks this proves the accused’s innocence.

And supporters are also using Facebook. Numerous groups like these ones, containing several thousand members are campaigning for Amanda Knox’s freedom.

Despite this strong mobilization, some doubt the young American’s innocence. This is the case for the founders of "true justice.org", a site set up in honour of the victim Meredith Kercher, they are reminding web users that everything in the files points towards Knox’s guilt.

WEB CENSORSHIP IN VENEZUELA 

“The purpose of this bill is to censor remarks that are contrary to common decency, and this means the State is going to control what can be said on the web”. 

This is how Carlos Frick a Venezuelan living in the U.S. reacted to the introduction of a telecommunications law in Venezuela on the 14th of December aimed at regulating Internet content in the country.

According to critics of this reform, it means that everything on the web can be controlled, including exchanges on social networks. Journalist Beatriz Adrian was interviewed on a freedom of online expression forum, and she believes that carrying out such controls is as good as interfering with people’s private lives. 

In view of the political class’s silence, web users have decided to make a stand. In this video we see a student living in Venezuela describe the law as “another step towards totalitarianism” and compares his country to Cuba as far as media censorship is concerned. Luis Carlos Diaz meanwhile, says it is not up to the State to decide what should be allowed to stay online.

And some of Hugo Chavez’ supporters are concerned about the consequences this reform could have on the revolutionary process currently taking place in the country. Luigino Bracci Roa says the law could end up not working in the government’s favour. To prove their impartiality and avoid criticism, state bodies controlling the media might have to censor remarks and comments praising the head of state.

The resistance is already growing on social networks and on Twitter in particular. For several days now Venezuelans have been sharing this guide on the thread SOS Internet Venezuela. It explains how to get around the possible web censorship measures.

MAPPING AMERICA 

We are hearing more and more about data journalism, and here is a concrete example. The New York Times has combined data from the latest American census report with Google maps to produce a sociological map of the US. You can study the distribution of ethnic groups in cities like Los Angeles or New York as well as household income distribution neighbourhood by neighbourhood. This is a great example of making public data available on the Internet.

ECURED 

Last week, the Cuban government launched its own participative encyclopedia, based on the Wikipedia model. “Ecured” already has over 19 000 entries and seeks to give a Cuban and non-colonial viewpoint. Web users can post their articles and complete this encyclopedia of the Cuban revolution. But moderators will nonetheless have the final say on the site’s editorial content. 

VIDEO OF THE DAY 

Young players for Polish football team Lech Poznan, were treated to this amazing atmosphere in the stadium when they played at the 2010 Lech Cup, an international tournament for under twelve’s. The Polish club’s supporters came en masse to watch their junior team face Tottenham Hotspur, some of them even lit smoke devices. These young footballers are not likely to forget this experience in a hurry.

By Electron Libre

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