Why We Protest: Freedom of Information

'Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.' -Article 19, United Nations Declaration of Universal Human Rights

A common thread that binds many internet users and impels them toward Anonymous is the concept that information, by its nature, is free; and that communication should be unfettered. The open sharing and expression of ideas and opinions, however controversial or divergent, is the cornerstone of all free societies. This ability empowers individuals to determine their own destinies; justice is possible only when the influential cannot force others to remain silent about abuse.

The precise meaning of 'Freedom of Information' varies according to the individual. To some, it simply means being able to seek out public knowledge on a subject without fear of retribution or censorship from the government. This view is based on the idea that access to accurate, relevant information informs rational opinions about the world around us.

To others, Freedom of Information is a call for greater corporate and governmental transparency. This conviction stems from the notion that in order for citizens to participate fully and democratically, those in power must share all kinds of information?whether or not it is politic for them to do so. Thus fraud, theft and abuse must be exposed to the public, and the perpetrators held accountable for their actions.

Finally, some individuals view Freedom of Information as a call to rethink current positions on the concept of intellectual property, in the interest of a better world. This view favors diminishing legal and corporate limitations on the use of ideas or creative work that may inhibit innovation and progress.

For any or all of these reasons, many Anonymous activists believe that Freedom of Information is as vital to a free society as the universal right to freedom of expression. WhyWeProtest supports these activists in their various Freedom of Information initiatives.


About Why We Portest

Since its inception, WhyWeProtest has expanded its focus to serve as a virtual meeting place for increasingly diverse activist initiatives?an advocacy-neutral platform within which various grass-roots movements can organize protest initiatives and campaigns, interact, and exchange ideas and information about issues relevant to their interests.

Our Vision

From the time of its inception, WhyWeProtest's mission has encompassed a broad range of immediate and long-range objectives. Our vision is based on the conviction that successful grass-roots campaigns are founded on access to information and a venue to publish it. Accordingly, we are creating a stable platform wherein grassroots movements and proponents of humanitarian causes can discuss legal methods of protest and information dissemination.

For several years WhyWeProtest has served as the worldwide hub of protest against censorship and human rights abuses by the Church of Scientology. In addition, we have supported the Green Wave movement for free elections in Iran and, most recently, endeavors related to WikiLeaks and Freedom of Information.

As we continue to serve these specific initiatives, we advance our fundamental mission to develop and provide an environment that encourages collaboration and responsible action. We envision that through shared participation within the WhyWeProtest activism platform, individuals and groups with overlapping and even divergent positions will be empowered to look beyond their differences and to engage in fruitful dialogue and collaboration.

As new technology enables activists to bridge the boundaries of distance and language, momentum is gathering and possibilities for social change are opening up. Conscientious individuals the world over continue to aid activists in need of uncensored communication technologies. Thus the 2009 Iranian election protests were labeled the Twitter Revolution; the 2011 Tunisian, Egyptian and Algerian efforts have been dubbed the Facebook Revolution.

But Twitter and Facebook, as promising as they may be, are not primarily committed to or designed for activist purposes and do not possess a repository of time-tested information and resources. It is not social media but rather the internet itself, along with the multitude of services it garners, that catalyzes these activist efforts, makes them visible and will continue to advance their objectives.

Technological developments herald an era in which reason and compassion truly can cross national borders, transcend imaginary boundaries of religious and political orientation, and bridge generational gaps. This potentially powerful expansion of goodwill and information-sharing challenges current social and political structures and thus presents a likely target for powerful entities whose interests rely on the status quo. It may be only a matter of time before the information shared via social media is by default compromised and censored.

Ultimately, WhyWeProtest intends to help fill the resulting void and build a world in which all voices can be heard through the conduit of new technologies. In such a world, previously disempowered groups will possess both the means and the necessary information to make themselves be heard by their governments and corporations. Online communities centered around diverse interests will enable ordinary people to rapidly coordinate demonstrations and protests, exchange ideas and create better and more effective forms of activism.