France: save the internet

To President Nicolas Sarkozy:

We call on you immediately to withdraw the proposed decree that would allow your government to become judge and jury of what online content and services we can access. This disproportionate decree threatens our democratic rights and freedoms and the freedom of expression enshrined in the French Constitution.
 
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Posted: 29 June 2011
Sarkozy's government wants to censor the internet with a decree that could block sites and web searches we use everyday. But, a national outcry can stop this attack on free speech.

This new decree would let ministers remove internet content that they think threatens "public order" without a court order. That's why, a Sarkozy-appointed Internet Council has condemned the move as unconstitutional and international experts are up in arms. Still, the decree could be adopted within days.

The G8 proved that Sarkozy cares about his image as a modern leader and internet champion and if enough of us call on him to ditch the censorship plan, we can tip the balance and keep his hands off our internet. Let's build a massive national call for Sarkozy to stand up for a free internet. Sign the urgent petition now.

Click here to sign the petition!

Under current French law, "manifestly illegal" content such as child pornography can already be removed without a court order. But unless we act, the new decree would give a few ministers excessive new powers to arbitrarily censor any content and require internet hosts and access providers to withdraw or filter any content likely to "pose a threat to public order and personal safety", a hugely broad definition that threatens freedom of speech.

The UN says filtering measures are extreme and waste time, and has just condemned France's internet laws, while Reporters Without Borders has listed France as a "country under surveillance" for its violations of freedom of expression around the world. Sarkozy's recently-formed National Internet Council said the decree-based blocking orders were violating freedom of expression protected by the French Constitution and ignoring public interest.

We know that President Sarkozy wants to be seen as a friend to the internet -- he recently launched the National Digital Council and hosted the first e-G8 summit. But he can't have it both ways. Together, we can show him what it means to be a real champion of internet freedom and free speech. Let's urge him now to withdraw the internet censorship decree and protect our rights -- sign the petition and forward it to everyone you know!

Click here to sign the petition!

Around the world, governments are trying to censor the internet, a critical tool for democratic protests in the Arab world and exposing abuses of power and corruption across the globe. But, from Italy to Syria and India to Turkey, Avaaz members are standing together to defend this crucial space for global freedom and exchange. Let's join them and protect the internet in France.

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