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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Network Solutions Censors Geert Wilders' Film and Czech Party Offers to Host "Fitna"

[Update] 3/27/08- FITNA has been released, see full 15 minute film here.

Yesterday we discussed Network Solutions and their pre-censorship of the Geert Wilders' film Fitna as well as providing contact methods to call or email Network Solutions.

More on that today.

Geert Wilders is set to release his controversial film, Fitna, which supposedly is be shown on a split screen, with verses and suras from the Koran on one side and examples of Sharia law being carried out on the other, including a beheading and a stoning.
The Wilders' film has been the subject of much controversy and Wilders is under protection for threats to his life because of the short film called "Fitna".

NetWork Solutions, which is a website name registrar has pre-emptively censored and disabled a site registered to provide an outlet to the Wilders' film.

They did this the day before the film was to be released.

Prior to the site's being closed down this weekend, its only content was a picture of a gilded Koran along with the text "Allahu Akhbar," (God is Great), and the words "Geert Wilders presents Fitna - March 23, 2008".

What is seen now when you click the sites URL, is this message:

This site has been suspended while Network Solutions is investigating whether the site's content is in violation of the Network Solutions Acceptable Use Policy. Network Solutions has received a number of complaints regarding this site that are under investigation. For more information about Network Solutions Acceptable Use Policy visit the following URL:

This pre-censorship action, as it is being called in the media and blogs across the web, has sparked questions and massive amounts of phone calls and emails to the Network Solution's company, some of which have been reported on blogs. Others have canceled their accounts hosted by Network Solutions in response to what they are calling censorship.

Network Solutions is not just seeing criticism from American media and bloggers, but this has made a splash in Spanish and German news and/or blogs as well.

Susan Wade, spokeswoman for Network Solutions, said, "In this situation with the dialogue that’s happening throughout the world we’ve made the choice to suspend the site as of last night. This site is suspended so people can’t see the content right now…”

The Dutch film-maker is still planning on releasing his 15-minute movie by the end of the month, despite the fact that the one Website that has agreed to promote the anti-Islamic film has been temporarily shut down. The movie is entitled “Fitna” and nobody really knows any details on it, except maybe for the Dutch film-maker’s view of the Qur’an as being fascist.

Wilders' statement after the Network Solutions action was, "If necessary I'll go hand out DVDs personally on the Dam."

It looks like he will not have to do that after all though.

This firestorm in the media and blogs continued into today and according to Spiegel Online, a Czech Republic Party has offered to screen it if Wilders can't find another outlet.

The Czech Republic's small National Party offered to release the film on the Internet using one of its servers, in a message posted Sunday on its Web site.

According to the Czech Party that is making this offer to Wilders, it is, "a response to the Islamist terrorists destroying European countries by extortion and attacks."

The continue by saying that they offered to help Wilders with this release, "in reaction to the media's blatant concessions to Islamists."

No one but Wilder himself truly knows the content of the film to be released and other than his words, no one can even prove if there is a film at all.

The questions raised by Network Solutions preemptive censorship, is not whether Wilders' film might be offensive, if it even truly exists, but what is being asked across the Internet, is how could Network Solutions disable a site quoting "complaints about content", when there was no content other than what was shown above, published on the site at the time that they disabled it?

In a previous Spiegel Online piece, they asked if Wilders hadn't already accomplished what he set out to do without even having to publish his film.

All this leaves Wilders is the Internet -- unless, of course, he decides not to show the film, which no one has seen and of which no one can say whether it even exists. The truth is that the "provocateur" has already achieved his goal. Wilders has managed to portray the Dutch and the Europeans as cowards, shouting "we capitulate!" before the battle has even begun.

Is Spiegel Online right and has Network Solutions just further proved Wilders' point?