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09.11.20

Getting Censored by Debian and Mozilla for Talking About Human Rights

Posted in Debian, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 9:04 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News

The CFP deadline for the next UN Forum on Business and Human Rights is this Friday, 3 May

When a Debian Developer attended the forum last year, he met a range of representatives from industry, government and NGOs but despite the fact there were a number of sessions on technical topics like Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain (is there anywhere you can go without encountering Blockchain these days?), he was the only person with a free software background who was present.

UN

This year, there is a focus on the Government responsibility to protect human rights. This is a very broad topic: for example, do Governments have a responsibility to protect democracy and what could Government do to counter the threats from Facebook?

Some of the sessions were captured on UN Web TV. You can find a Debian intervention in the Safeguarding Human Rights Defenders session which was, ironically, taking place at exactly the same time that another Debian Developer, Norbert Preining, was being sanctioned and censored without due process or any other regard to human rights.

Listening to the statements of the Iranian dissident during that session about the way his country runs smear campaigns against dissidents who have gone abroad, volunteers couldn’t help relating them to the defamatory rumours being circulated to undermine the former FSFE fellowship representative as elections were being abolished.

Earlier this year, a developer wrote a popular blog about human rights in Free Software, motivated in part by those events. It was almost immediately censored by Planet Debian:

Censoring Human Rights in Debian

and here in Planet Mozilla:

Censoring Human Rights in Mozilla

No explanation has ever been given by either organization. If you can see how the blog can be improved, please share it with the debian-project mailing list.

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