Week in Review: April 8, 2015

by Rebekah Heacock Jones

Bahrain: Human rights activist arrested for tweeting about prison torture

Bahrain human rights activist Nabeel Rajab was arrested on April 2 after posting a tweet about torture in the country's infamous Jaw Prison. Rajab, the President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, was also arrested in October 2014 and sentenced to six months in prison for defaming the government after posting tweets accusing some Bahrainis of collaborating with ISIS. He previously spent two years in prison after being found guilty of organizing anti-government protests.

India: Telecom Regulatory Authority explores net neutrality and new regulatory regime

India's Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has issued a call for comments on a new paper discussing possible regulatory approaches to for "over the top" (OTT) Internet services, which include social media, voice over Internet protocol services, and cloud services, among others. The call asks for comments on 20 questions, including "Should the OTT players pay for use of the TSPs [telecom service providers'] network over and above data charges paid by consumers?" and "What are your views on net-neutrality in the Indian context?" The call comes as Indian telecom companies are beginning to offer tiered access to different services, based on whether developers pay telcos to offer those services.

Mexico: New crowdfunded campaign aims to identify government public opinion bots

The organizers of Mexican groups #YoSoyRed and #loQueSigue, created to help find the roughly 23,000 missing persons in the country, have launched a new campaign to tackle government-run bots, which they accuse of spreading propaganda and misinformation online. The campaign, which is being crowdfunded through Indiegogo, plans to develop open source software that will identify the "thousands of bots that censor articles and web sites, attack journalists and activists and alter trends in social networks."

Turkey: Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and more blocked after killing of government prosecutor

On April 6, Turkey blocked Twitter, YouTube, and over 150 other websites in an attempt to stop the spread of photos of government prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz, who was taken hostage and later killed by two members of a militant Marxist group. The photos in question showed Kiraz's captors pointing a gun at his head. Kiraz was likely targeted because of his involvement in the case of Berkin Elvan, who died in March 2014 after injuries sustained during an anti-government protest in 2013. During the six hour-long standoff between the hostage takers and police, Turkey's Supreme Board of Radio and Television institute a media blackout, forcing television stations to shut down their live broadcasts. A rapid court ruling ordered the blocking of 166 websites accused of circulating the photos. Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook were unblocked hours later after removing the photos.

The Internet Monitor Week in Review is a weekly round-up of news about Internet content controls and online activity around the world. You may also be interested in weekly editions of our previous round-up, IMWeekly.