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#EPNvsInternet: Mass Campaign against Mexican Communications Bill

"Censurado". Imagen compartida abiertamente en Twitter.

“Censored”. Imaged openly shared on Twitter.

A joint mass action between civil organizations and activist is pushing to revert the Telecommunications Bill proposal sent by president Enrique Peña Nieto for Congress’ approval. The Netizen Report published by Global Voices Advocacy this month summarizes the reason:

Billed as an effort to break up Mexico’s notorious telecommunications and broadcast monopolies, the law covers a broad range of electronic communications issues [es] — and treads heavily in human rights territory. At the behest of the “competent” authorities, the law authorizes telecommunications companies to “block, inhibit, or eliminate” communications services “at critical moments for public and national security.” The law also authorizes Internet service providers to offer service packages that “respond to market demands” and differentiating in “capacity, speed, and quality”  – a measure that could preclude protections for net neutrality in the country. To top it off, security measures in the law would allow authorities to track user activity in real time using geolocation tools, without obtaining prior court approval.

In search for global support, the website “YoSoyRed” uploaded this YouTube video to raise awareness of the bill's threat:

The Global Action Day Against Censorship in Mexico calls for a “worlwide storm of messages, videos, blog posts, press articles, songs and anything that can help support” the cause. On top of this action, there will be a protest on April 22, 2014 called #MarchaContraElSilencio (Protest against silence). Besides, on April 26, there's a plan for a human chain sit up starting from the officila residence of the President of Mexico, Los Pinos, to the Televisa's [es] (main TV broadcaster) headquarters inChapultepec, covering a distance of aproximately 7 kms.

Hashtag #EPNvsInternet became worldwide trending topic. @YoSoyRed documented it:

We are global trending #EPNvsInternet

EPN stands for Mexican President's name, Enrique Peña Nieto. Here we collected some of the tweets that were shared under this hashtag:

Keep the HTs coming. We cannot allow them to censor the Internet, our freedom of expression. #EPNvsInternet #ContraElSilencioMX [against silence]

Social networks have turned into the most oustanding tool for social movements, EPN knows it and wants to stop them. #EPNvsInternet

I blame my scarce free time for not being well informed about #EPNvsInternet. I didn't know the magnitude of this “law”.

"Los Ciudadanos Al Centro". Tomado del kit de prensa del sitio http://internetparatodos.mx

“Citizens to the Center”. Taken from the press kit at the website http://internetparatodos.mx

On the other hand, the CFree Internet for All Association and ContingenteMX gave a press conference where they presented:

1. An open letter from digital leaders and organizations around the world stating the risks of the Telecommunications Bill reform.

2. A technical proposal regarding web freedom and neutrality ropuesta técnica sobre libertad y neutralidad aligned to international standards presented by ContingenteMx to the Congress.

This is not the first protest [es] against the Telecommunications Bill and in favor of a public internet that respects net neutrality and freedom of expression. Speaking of which, the Association  pointed out [es]:

¿Por qué no usamos otra vez #ContraElSilencioMX? porque los peñabots (bots contratados por el gobierno de Peña Nieto) lo inundaron con spam para que no se Trending Topic, el hashtag debe ser nuevo y nunca usado antes.

Why are we not using the hashtag #ContraElSilencioMx again? Because the peñabots (bots hired by Peña Nieto's government) flooded it with spam so it wouldn't become a Trending Topic. The hashtag has to be new and never used before.

The overall purport of this campaign was summarized by Twitter user, Silvia Villarreal:

Because democracy admits adverse comments, and the maturity and tolerance to listen to them. #EPNvsInternet

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