ACTION ALERT: Urgent Action In Support of Indymedia, by Lee Salter
“An unacceptable attack on press freedom, free speech, democracy and privacy.”
On 7 October 2004 two Indymedia Web Servers were seized from the US-owned web hosting company Rackspace operating in London (UK), at the request of the US Justice Department, which apparently acted at the prompting of Italian and Swiss authorities.
Indymedia is an global alternative media network that provides challenging and independent reporting, particularly of political and social justice issues, with a newswire where any member of the public can publish their own reports and articles.
The seizure of the servers in London shut down around 20 different Indymedia websites including Ambazonia, Uruguay, Andorra, Poland, Western Massachusetts, Nice, Nantes, Lilles, Marseille, Euskal Herria (Basque Country), Liege, East and West Vlaanderen, Antwerpen (all Belgium), Belgrade, Portugal, Prague, Galiza, Italy, Brazil, UK, and
parts of Germany Indymedia. Many are still offline; those few that have returned have suffered data loss.
The particular legal framework under which the seizures took place is unknown. Five Days after the seizures there is still an almost total information blackout from the authorities in the UK, US, Switzerland and Italy. Indymedia still has no confirmation of who ordered the seizures, who took the servers in London, why the seizures took place, where the servers are now located, and whether they will be returned.
We are concerned over the growing use of international co-operation frameworks by Governments and Law enforcement agencies which can be used to obscure clear legal process, and call for openness and clarity in international co-operation, to ensure due process and that civil liberties are protected.
Statements of support for Indymedia and condemnation of the shutting down of over 20 Media outlets have been received from The Electronic Frontier Foundation, The International Federation of Journalists, the National Union of Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters and many other organizations.
Indymedia UK condemns the seizure of the servers as an unacceptable and unprecedented attack on press freedom, free speech and privacy and asks for urgent solidarity action in demanding:
Please write to the Italian government, the Swiss government, your political representative (MP, MEP, Senator or Representative), the British Home Secretary and the US Attorney General:
1. Expressing grave concern at the action taken against Indymedia.
2. Demanding the immediate return of the servers to Indymedia with all data intact.
3. Requesting a full investigation into the circumstances and legality of the action taken to seize the Indymedia servers and to close Indymedia websites, with the disclosure of the names of the organizations and individuals involved in the seizure.
Rt Hon David Blunkett MP
The Home Office
London – UK
US Department of Justice
Washington – USA
Please send copies of letters to: email@example.com
Organisations and individuals are also encouraged to issue their own statements in support of Indymedia and against the seizure of the servers. Please send copies to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Additionaly organisations and indivduals can add their statements of support here: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/10/298931.html