Tanjug director: Internet censorship very present

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MOSCOW – Internet censorship is possible, and it is very present, Tanjug Director Branka Djukic said in Moscow Tuesday at an international forum titled “The New Era of Journalism: A Farewell to the Mainstream.”

The forum, organised by the Rossiya Segodnya agency, brought together media experts from over 30 countries of the world – the United States, the United Kingdom, France, India, China, Armenia, Egypt, Azerbaijan, the United Arab Emirates and others.

Djukic addressed a panel titled “Can censorship exist in an era of total access to information?”

“A quicker and larger distribution of information does not automatically mean freedom of access to them. Control over information in new media is in the hands, the same way as it is in the mainstream, of those who aim to protect their interest and influence, and the interest does not change its face much, the face which stands behind politics and capital,” the Tanjug director said.

New media are also ruled by the richest industrialists, businessmen whose interests are directly linked to governments, corporations, she said.

“Internet censorship is similar to censorship in mainstream media, with the difference that content on the Internet is not censored only by individuals, companies or governments, but also by new media players that can limit or block access to certain web pages,” Djukic said.

“Even if the reasons for blocking are justified, as part of efforts to ensure general security, the security of children, prevent ideas of hatred, fascism and terrorism from spreading… the result of censorship is nevertheless the same – blocked websites or content that are considered undesirable,” Djukic noted.

“The biggest Internet censor is Google, which operates in over 200 countries, and in all these countries the search giant has to obey local laws and regulations,” she said.

Some sort of control of what is distributed on networks, on the Internet, is necessary, for many reasons – however, Google and another search engine are filtering pedophile or extremist content, she said.

“As for the security of governments, states and corporations, I have no doubt that on global networks they will manage to control the content they attach particular importance to,” Djukic said.

“Assange is an example of freedom, but censorship as well – no need to count now all who have blocked access to Wikileaks pages and to how many. Assange is still more an exception than a rule. And I do not believe he will ever be,” she said.

The forum, which was also addressed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, concluded on Tuesday.

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