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Introducing the Access Denied Map

My friend Sami ben Gharbia has a beautiful new tool posted on the Global Voices Advocacy site. In the spirit of projects like his much-celebrated Tunisia Prisons Map, this tool uses visualization to make a point about social phenomena, in this case, the rise of censorship of Web 2.0 tools.

It’s not news that some governments censor access to the Internet – the Open Net Initiative keeps track of internet filtering around the world. And it’s not news that governments threaten, harrass, intimidate and arrest bloggers: Reporters Sans Frontieres, Committee to Protect Bloggers and others work to call attention to these incidents. But there’s been a disturbing rise in the number of countries that are limiting access to the tools of freedom of expression – tools like Blogger, Flickr, YouTube and others that activists and others are using to express themselves online.

The new tool, the Access Denied Map, tries to track the blocking of these Web2.0 sites by governments and efforts by activists to keep them accessible or to challenge their blockage. Sami believes – and I share his conviction – that keeping these tools open and accessible around the world is one of several essential battles to protect and preserve free speech. It’s very much worth reading through his introduction to the tool, which includes a video tour.