Protesters gagged themselves in Sydney to protest a planned Web filter, as ACMA confirmed it has blacklisted parts of whistleblower site WikiLeaks.
By
Lisa Zilberpriver

1 Apr 2010 - 7:09 PM  UPDATED 23 Aug 2013 - 2:09 PM

Protesters from Australia's Pirate Party have gathered in Sydney to demonstrate against the government's planned Internet filter.

Around 30 demonstrators organised a 'flash mob' style performance, symbolically gagging themselves.

"This is the sort of censorship you would expect of China or Iran,and it is being roundly condemned by the US State Department and Google for good reason," a Pirate Party statement said.

A press release from the Pirate Party also expressed outrage that the Australian Communications and Media Authority had allegedly blacklisted whistleblower website WikiLeaks.

ACMA confirmed that it had investigated pages on the WikiLeaks site - which publishes documents otherwise kept secret by governments and organisations - and said it had blacklisted them.

A spokesperson for ACMA told SBS that the organisation does not blacklist entire sites, only specific pages. He could not discuss what content the blacklisted pages contained.

"Talking about material on the blacklist gives clues to people to go and look for it on the Internet," spokesman Donald Robertson said.

Robertson said WikiLeaks had not been notified about the blacklisting of its pages, as ACMA could only issue take-down notices to Australian based sites. wikiLeaks is hosted by a Sweden-based company.

Simon Frew of the Pirate Party said he had been misled by an article on TechRadar.com, which claimed Australia had blacklisted the entire website.

The claims came shortly after controversy was sparked when WikiLeaks staff were allegedly tailed and detained by US spies in Iceland. The US State Department has yet to respond to the allegations.

Iceland this week summoned the most senior US diplomat stationed in the country to explain the events.

No information on the outcome of the meeting was available.