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Freedom of Speech
Ban of Zundel Writings on World Net Backfires
Victoria Times-Colonist
February 3, 1996

© Copyright Canadian Press, Feb. 3, 1996

Freedom of Speech
Ban of Zundel Writings on world net backfires

The Canadian Press, Ottawa

Cyberspace junkies across North American [sic] are going on-line to say they abhor Canadian Ernst Zundel's Holocaust revisionist writings.

But they're battling German government efforts to censor him on the Internet to protect freedom of expression on the worldwide computer network.

Their weapon of choice? Proving to Germany that censoring the Internet is impossible. Zundel's material has found new Internet sites that aren't blocked by the German ban.

"The main message is it's backfired," says David Jones, a professor of computer sciences at Hamilton's McMaster University and a member of Electronic Frontier Canada, which works to protect freedom of expression on the Internet.

"It's ironic that although the idea is to control this information, it's causing the opposite - for it to be spread around."

Last week, the German phone giant Deutsche Telekom AG blocked access to Web Communication in California. It carries Zundel's material, but under German law his writings are outlawed.

A day after access was blocked, a student at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh acted.

Declan McCullagh, who calls himself an "on-line activist" against censorship, picked up Zundel's material and put it on Internet sites at the university that Germans still have access to.

"I don't agree with what Zundel says, but I support his right to say it," McCullagh said Friday. "The best way to respond is through rebuttal. State censorship has no place in a free society."

McCullagh's protest quickly spread to Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Massachusetts, where computer users created Zundel sites. Germany now has to ban access to all these sites to censor Zundel.

"This is a very important censorship point," said Rich Graves, a computer technician at Stanford who created a Zundel site.

"All of the important civil rights inroads over the last couple of decades have come from some very unsavory individuals. But if their views can be oppressed, anyone's views can."

There's no question the ban has given Zundel a soapbox -- just the opposite of what Germany intended, Jones said.

"Citizens worldwide are beginning to realize they need to offer shelter to persecuted and suppressed ideas," Zundel said in an interview.

Rob Gelphman, a spokesman for Web Communication, said Germany's move has made Zundel's pages so popular there is an overload, making it difficult to even call them up.

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