A Web Site For Rebels With A Cause

WHEN PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON VISITS China in late June, expect an outcry from Chinese dissidents who object to the Communist government's human-rights abuses and repression of democracy. Not in China, of course. Those protests, though, can still take place--at the Digital Freedom Network Web site, which features writings from dissidents, such as Wei Jingsheng and Bao Ge.

That's just one example of how the Digital Freedom Network is using the power of the Web to promote free speech and put the spotlight on repressive governments around the world. Backed by telecom carrier IDT Corp. CEO Howard Jonas, DFN was launched on May 5 with a simple goal: to publish censored writings and speeches from around the globe. So far, it has posted works from Cuba, Kenya, North Korea, and Vietnam, among others.

DFN is updated regularly to highlight censorship issues. For example, it is tracking down plays by Ratna Sarumpaet, whose writings have been banned in Indonesia during the recent turmoil. For the ninth anniversary of the June 4 Tiananmen Square crackdown, it posted a letter from dissidents asking the Chinese government to recognize the movement as pro-democracy. The site, www.dfn.org, shows how powerfully cyberspace can break barriers.

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