LabourNet on Fri, 22 May 1998 18:47:49 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> "I'M SPARTACUS" - web sites defy Biwater intimidation

Web sites around the world are defying the attempt of the British
transnational Biwater to censor the Internet using threats of libel action
against service providers carrying material critical of the company.
Knowing that small service providers do not have the resources to fight
expensive legal cases, Biwater has tried to force perfectly legitimate
material off the Internet that is openly available elsewhere and has never
been subject to libel action. This material was referred to in an item
carried on LabourNet that was issued by the South African Municipal
Workers' Union in its campaign against water privatisation. Because of the
legal threat made to our service provider, GreenNet, LabourNet was forced
to remove this item.

The powerful Public Services International, the global federation of trade
unions representing 20 million public service workers, has now taken a lead
in the fightback against these attempts of Biwater to hide their record. In
a worldwide press release today they "condemn Biwater, a privately-owned
multinational company, for attempting to silence democratic debate about
water privatisation in South Africa". Their press release publicises an
extensive new report into Biwater carried out by the Public Services
Privatisation Research Unit in London.

At the same time, the press release and report are being made available
widely on the Internet. In order to avoid Biwater intimidation, the
material is being posted to a series of web sites around the world.
LabourNet and PSI are collaborating to ensure that this will be as wide as

At this point the material should be "available at a web site near you". We
will not actually produce a list until next Wednesday 27th May. LabourNet
has been assured that, besides the PSI itself, the list will include other
important trade union bodies such as the ICFTU and the AFL-CIO.

WEBMASTERS - Don't be the last ones to get on board! Contact LabourNet now
to make sure you have the material available on your site.

Chris Bailey
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