Ecuador considers extraditing a Belarusian blogger. Jordanians campaigning against web censorship. And a daredevil athlete demonstrating "proximity flying".
Ecuador considers extraditing Belarusian dissident
Ecuador recently granted political asylum to Julian Assange who is currently staying in their London embassy. But although the Quito government is prepared to go to great lengths to prevent the Wikileaks founder being extradited to Sweden and then on to the US, the country does not appear to be offering the same treatment to another of its political refugees.
Alexander Barankov has been living in Ecuador since he fled his homeland of Belarus in 2009. The former police officer is wanted by the Belarusian authorities and claims to possess incriminating information on a corruption network involving high level government officials.
And just like Julian Assange, the ex-investigator is now turning to the Internet to speak out against his regime. His blog features articles on embezzlement cases and other abuses committed under the government of President Alexander Lukashenko, in power for the past 18 years.
Although Ecuador granted Barankov political asylum in 2010, he was arrested in June, just several days before the Belarusian head of state was due to visit Quito to seal a new alliance between the two countries. His case is currently with the local judicial authorities and he could well be facing extradition.
In this video which is being aired on an independent television channel in Belarus, Barankov says he fears he will be given the death penalty if he is sent back home, where he stands accused of treason; the same reason why Ecuador has given Julian Assange asylum because he too could be sentenced to death if forced to return to the US.
Jordanians protest against web censorship
Web users in Jordan are campaigning against what they consider to be government attempts to control the web. Last week the authorities approved amendments to a law which would require owners of websites to register with the government and be responsible for the content of comments made by readers. The measures will have to be approved by parliament and so have not yet come into force but have already been widely condemned by netizens who feel they represent a threat to freedom of expression.
And to show his opposition to the project, blogger Moey has produced a series of videos in which he and two other web users start talking before their words are covered up by a piercing beep preventing listeners from hearing what they have to say... They hope to show how it will become impossible to express oneself freely in Jordan if the controversial legislation is given the go ahead.
And campaigning is also underway on social networks. This Facebook page demanding a free Internet has near to 13 000 fans determined to stop the law being enforced. And Twitter users have been posting under the hashtags #NoCensorshipJO or #StopCensoringJO, voicing their anger over what they perceive to be an infringement on individual freedoms.
The movement has the support of numerous public figures like the former Minister of Information and Communication Technology Marwan Jima. He has written an open letter to the government and posted it to his Facebook page, explicitly asking the authorities to abandon the project that he believes portrays the country in a very bad light, adding that up until now Jordan has been considered as an example of openness and tolerance in the region.
USA: YouTube launches presidential campaign hub
Last week YouTube launched a video channel dedicated to November’s Presidential election in the US. The platform will not produce any original content and aims to serve as a “one stop hub” on which viewers can follow all key moments of the election, from convention speeches to presidential debates, as well as behind the scenes info from the campaign teams. Among the videos already available, we find footage and ads from the political parties, as well as various reports from media outlets including ABC News, Al Jazeera, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
Now trending on social networks
Web users have been reacting to news of the death of legendary astronaut Neil Armstrong on Saturday. Messages paying tribute to the first man to walk on the moon have been pouring in from across the globe, from members of the public and astronauts, who have taken to social networks to express their sadness and convey just how much Armstrong inspired them: posts from the US, naturally, but also from Canada, Japan and also Europe, demonstrating that Armstrong awed the entire planet and was so much more than just an American hero.
Video of the day
In this video Base jumper and wingsuit flier Alexander Polli demonstrates his specialty; it’s called “proximity flying” and consists of getting very close to vertical rock faces as he makes his daring descents. It’s a colourful insight into this highly dangerous sport practiced by just a handful of athletes.