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People in former dictatorships take the lead in ACTA fight

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 07 Feb 2012 17:18 User comments (4)

People in former dictatorships take the lead  in ACTA fight As the debate in Europe over the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) heats up, a growing number of Europeans are protesting their governments for signing the treaty. Officials from 22 EU member states added their signatures to ACTA last month. It was finalized and signed by it's biggest backers, the US and Japan, last October.
What may be the most interesting aspect of the anti-ACTA movement is that the most widespread and loudest opposition, as well as the most effective, isn't in the UK, France, or other countries traditionally considered strongholds of democracy and freedom. Instead it is in areas where oppressive dictatorships ruled until late in the 20th century.

For most people in the US and more powerful European nations, widespread censorship is something of an abstract concept. In countries controlled by the Soviet Union after World War II the situation is much different. Many people in these countries grew up in an environment of state controlled media, no free speech, and rampant government corruption.

We have already seen organized protests in Poland, where several members of Parliament also staged a protest of their own. Last week Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk suspended the ratification process pending a more thorough analysis. The Warsaw Business Journal quotes Tusk saying, "Consultations about ACTA were incomplete. I am mad at my co-workers."

In the Czech Republic, Prime Minister Petr Necas followed suit yesterday, withdrawing ACTA from the parliamentary ratification process. According to the Czech news service ČTK, Necas said, "We really must look into the impact it would have in real life." He added, "By no means would the government admit a situation where civic freedoms and free access to information would be threatened." Since then the country's data protection authorities have released a statement critical of ACTA. An English translation from Česka Noviny reads, "The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is unbalanced with regard to the existing legal guarantees of individuals´ rights."

The Slovenian Ambassador to Japan, who signed on her country's behalf, even issued a public apology, saying it was irresponsible. She also criticized government officials who apparently tried to make her a scapegoat for their ACTA support.

But the strongest reaction to ACTA may come from Romania, where the populace was already demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Emil Boc over alleged corruption. Boc resigned, but not before being asked about ACTA last week. According to the Romanian news site Nine O'Clock, he claimed ignorance about the circumstances surrounding his government's signing.

That's not good enough for Social Democratic Party (PSD) President Victor Ponta, a former member of Emil Boc's cabinet before an alliance between their parties fell apart. Today he asked the Romanian government for an explanation. Ponta also noted that when a new coalition government including PSD takes power, ACTA enforcement will be suspended.

In addition to all these protests, there are some EU members who have chosen not to sign ACTA at all. The five countries declining to sign ACTA include Estonia and Slovakia, who were also under Soviet control during the Cold War. Another is Germany, which the Soviet Union literally and figuratively divided in two with the Berlin Wall.

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4 user comments

17.2.2012 18:27

world - 1
corporate profit mongering - 0

27.2.2012 18:41

well i suppose they can sign all the petitions they want.its still done.to prevent something is one thing.to reverse whats already been done is quite another.

38.2.2012 4:12

The part about Romania has a lot of bullshit in it. Read the article on 9 O'Clock (there is a link to it in this article).

The prime minister only said he doesn't have enough info on the subject (i.e. ACTA). Which is actually true, since he is only a puppet of the president and doesn't do much thinking on his own (maybe only when going to the toilet).

The opposition, at this moment, would say anything that might be even remotely beneficial to their image, due to the shaky political situation in the country and the chance that they might get the power soon.

The sad truth is, in Romania, none of the leaders give a shit about ACTA, nor could they understand it's dangers; not that there would be anyone competent in a sufficiently high position to inform them about them.
Also, most people have never heard of ACTA, and they have so many problems at the moment they wouldn't even care about some treaty about some silly little thing (the Internet) where their kids play games and watch videos. Not that ACTA is limited to affecting only the Internet, but it is how it is presented around the world to the layman.

So, given the current situation in the country I don't think we will see any Romanians taking anti-ACTA protests to the streets any time soon; the protests will stay on the Internet.

PS:
Yes, I am Romanian.

415.2.2012 20:18
Zoo_Look
Inactive

Quote:
What may be the most interesting aspect of the anti-ACTA movement is that the most widespread and loudest opposition, as well as the most effective, isn't in the UK, France, or other countries traditionally considered strongholds of democracy and freedom.
That's because the UK and France et al, are NOT a democracy anymore.

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