#IMWeekly: July 18, 2014

by claire mcnear

The Zone Nine bloggers, a group of journalists and bloggers originally arrested in April, were charged Friday with terrorism. The nine are members of a collective that publishes social commentary and has been critical of the Ethiopian government. The judge asserted that the group was in truth a cover for “clandestine” terrorist activities, and that they were plotting “to destablise the nation.” The Internet Monitor took a look at the journalists’ detainment last month. Their trial is scheduled to resume at the start of August.

A French court ruled that a blogger owed damages to a restaurant owner totaling €2,500 (~$3,300) as a result of a negative review of the restaurant she posted to her blog in August 2013. The owner took issue with the tone of the author, Caroline Doudet, telling the website Arrêt sur Images that it was “more of an insult than a criticism” and claiming that it had significantly damaged her business. The court stopped short of asking Doudet to modify the content of her review, ordering her instead to change the title of the post, which had described the restaurant as “the place to avoid” in the small resort town of Cap-Ferret. Doudet responded by deleting the post, which is archived here (fr), and said she would not appeal the decision so as not to “relive weeks of anguish.”

The Vietnamese government’s digital “opinion shapers” have been tricking Facebook into temporarily suspending activists’ accounts. After failing to get access to Facebook blocked in the country, the government’s “online army” has taken to reporting critical accounts to Facebook for nonexistent abuses, according to one activist, knocking them temporarily offline. Also this week, CIMA’s The Source took a look at Nguyen Huu Vinh, a well-known blogger who was arrested this spring by Vietnamese police after a raid of his home. Two of the news websites managed by Vinh have since been shut down, likely by the police. Vinh remains behind bars, one of “at least 300 prisoners of conscience in Vietnam in the past five years.”