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Internet challenges insult laws

Lisa Napoli Apr 10, 2007


MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: The government of Thailand continues to crack down on Internet companies doing business there, and access to You Tube is still blocked while Thai officials negotiate with YouTube’s owner Google. Why? Because there are people insulting the King. Marketplace’s Lisa Napoli says this poses a problem for anyone in the business of free expression.

LISA NAPOLI: Seventy countries around the world have rules that in essence say: Whatever you do, don’t dis the powers that be.

MARK BENCH: These insult laws are horrendous.

That’s Mark Bench of the World Press Freedom committee. He’s about to publish a book that looks at these so-called insult laws.

Bench says that until recently in Chile, you’d be more likely to go to jail for exposing corruption than for engaging in it.

And Bob Dietz of the Committee to Protect Journalists says Malaysia’s been cracking down on anti-government bloggers lately.

BOB DIETZ: These days, if you want to cut down the political opposition at the roots, the Internet is one of the places you have to start.

That’s why China keeps a reported 30,000 censors at work, scouring the Internet for dissenters.

In Los Angeles, I’m Lisa Napoli for Marketplace.

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