On Monday May 2, 2011 Canadians will be voting in the 41st Canadian Federal Election. The election comes as the result of non-confidence vote held on March 25th, 2011 that saw the defeat of the Conservative party’s cabinet in the House of Commons on a motion declaring the Government to be in Contempt of Parliament – a first in the history of the Commonwealth of Nations.
The recent demonstrations in Belarus, Tunisia, Bahrain, and especially Egypt have all recently demonstrated the importance of the Internet and social media as an organizing tool for popular protest. Twitter and Facebook have been crucial tools for organization and mobilization. Governments have noticed this as well, and begun to target the internet.
In September 2010, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report titled “Looser Rein, Uncertain Gain,” A Human Rights Assessment of Five Years of King Abdullah’s Reforms in Saudi Arabia. In this report — in the “Greater Margin for Freedom of Expression” section — HRW discusses the paradox between King Abdullah creating a greater space for free expression, but still an ongoing repression of freedom to express critical opinions. HRW notes how the Saudi government censors free speech, with the help of legislation such as the 2007 Law to Combat Information Crimes, and how a new cyber law is brewing that would restrict expression via electronic media.