"An unacceptable attack on press freedom, free speech and privacy."
Two Indymedia Web Servers were seized from the US-owned web hosting company Rackspace operating in London (UK) on 7 October 2004, 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 significant 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, Switzeland 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 Governemnts 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 recieved 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 organisations.
Indymedia UK condemns the seizure of the servers as an unacceptable and unprecedented attack on press freedom, free speech and privacy.
For background on the Server Seizures see:
Existing Statements of Support:
International Federation of Journalists
08 October 2004
‘More Intimidation Than Crime-Busting’ Says IFJ As Police Target Independent Media Network
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, today called for an investigation into the action by police in Britain in co-operation with other agencies that led to the temporary closure of 21 of the more than 140 Indymedia web sites worldwide.
World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) / IFEX Alert
8 October 2004
'AMARC is deeply concerned by reports about the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) seizure of Indymedia servers in the United Kingdom.'
Electronic Frontier Foundation
October 08, 2004
Servers in UK Containing Indymedia Websites Seized by Government
"This seizure has grave implications for free speech and privacy. The Constitution does not permit the government unilaterally to cut off the speech of an independent media outlet, especially without providing a reason or even allowing Indymedia the information necessary to contest the seizure," said EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl.
Reporters Without Borders
12 October 2004
Home Secretary David Blunkett challenged over Indymedia website closures
Reporters Without Borders has condemned the seizure of UK-based webservers, used by some 20 Indymedia websites and has written to Home Secretary David Blunkett, copied to his US, Italian and Swiss counterparts, seeking an explanation for the confiscations.
11th October 2004
"This is an indication of the successfulness of the Indymedia network. Freedom of information is a radical idea when applied in a fair manner. Radical ideas will always be suppressed by the transnational corporate elites when ever possible. We must act on our rights to freedom of information to keep it safe, and when repressed find new channels and means to succeed." (Peter Phillips, Director)
Association for Progressive Communications
12th October 2004
APC condemns "arbitrary"seizure of IndyMedia web servers by US and European law enforcers
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - APC condemns the actions by US and European law enforcement agencies to seize independent online news service Indymedia’s web servers, which has led to the closure of more than 21 of the more than 140 Indymedia web sites worldwide since October 7. "We are disturbed by the apparently arbitrary and extreme measures taken to silence an independent internet-based source of information,” said Anriette Esterhuysen, APC’s Executive Director. "This is a violation of freedom of expression across international frontiers."
Please Add Statements of Support Below: