WEBNEWSToday on the net, activists in Azerbaijan accuse the authorities of restricting freedom of expression online; Anonymous launches a campaign to close the Guantanamo prison facility; and a Spanish post grad journalism student woos potential employers by singing his CV.
Azerbaijan accused of restricting freedom of expression online
A group of Azerbaijani youths met in Baku city centre and made a Harlem Shake video, the dance that has become something off an online sensation in recent months. This video was uploaded in February and seems pretty harmless, no different from all the others doing the rounds on the web, and yet Ilkin Rustemzade may well go to prison. The opposition activist was arrested and charged with hooliganism for making this video.
His lawyer has denied the allegations and says Ilkin Rustemzade who faces up to five years in prison has nothing to do with the video. The story could well have been fabricated in a bid to silence the activist who has already been arrested on a number of occasions for using social media to organize and coordinate various demonstrations in the capital, like this one back in March.
And it is not the first time these “hooliganism” accusations have been made against Azerbaijani dissidents. Two bloggers were sent to prison on these charges back in 2009 after posting this satirical video online which poked fun at the government’s decision to pay what local media described as “exorbitant prices” to import donkeys.
And with the presidential election scheduled for October 16, it seems the authorities are stepping up the crackdown on activists. Parliament recently approved an amendment to the country’s defamation law imposing prison terms or corrective labour for anyone found guilty of slander or casting “insults” on the Internet. Measures NGOs like Amnesty International describe as an attack on freedom of expression.
And online smear campaigns are also put together to vilify critics of President Ilham Aliyev who is running for a third term in office. This platform was launched last month and features doctored photos and videos of members of the opposition in compromising situations in a bid to discredit them in the eyes of voters.
Anonymous launches campaign to close Guantanamo
Hactivists from Anonymous launched #OpGTMO for Operation Guantanamo on Friday, calling for the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba to be shut down forever. They also want to show solidarity with the prisoners that remain in the US military facility, where over one hundred inmates are currently and still on hunger strike in protest of their detention conditions.
In this video posted online to promote the operation, the hackers openly condemn Barack Obama’s broken promises, saying he has failed to close down Guantanamo Bay despite being in office since 2008. Anonymous also warns the US authorities that it will not tolerate the existence of this prison for much longer: A detention facility where prisoners are regularly abused and mistreated. The hacker group is urging web users to join the movement to end what they describe as an “atrocity”.
And social networkers have responded to the rally cry. Messages appealing to the Obama administration to release the prisoners from Guantanamo Bay at the earliest possible opportunity have been pouring in throughout the weekend and a number of demonstrations have been staged across the globe, notably in front of the White House, demanding the permanent closure of the detention centre.
This petition has been started on change.org addressed to Barack Obama demanding he close Guantanamo Bay with immediate effect. It has already drawn over 210 000 signatures and this number keeps growing each day.
Ryan Gosling does not want to eat cornflakes
This series of short video clips has been doing the rounds online in recent days: put together by British web user Ryan McHenry, and entitled “Ryan Gosling won’t eat his cereal”. He has taken film extracts or interviews featuring the famous actor and added in a spoonful of cornflakes, with perfect timing, thus depicting Ryan Gosling as a spoilt little boy refusing to eat his breakfast. Very funny, totally novel, other web users are now following suit and making similar videos featuring other celebrities.
Video of the day
In a bid to grab the attention of potential employers, unemployed post grad journalism student Enzo Vizcaíno from Spain decided to ride the Barcelona subway singing his CV. A somewhat offbeat idea, but it worked: he claims to have received a number of job offers which he is now carefully considering.