Censorship continues in Asia, this time in Mongolia where a list of 774 words has been banned from being published on the web. All local websites have been ordered to remove content containing the words listed on this Mongolian website — which include a mixture of English, Russian, and Mongolian vocabulary — or face suspension.
VISUAL CONTEXT: GLOBAL WEB CONTENT REMOVAL
While clearly aimed at limiting the kind of content published online in Mongolia from including curse words, slurs, or other vulgarities, the list contains a few exceptions that are puzzling online media as to why they have been ordered offline. “Hog”, “testicle”, and “clumsy” are a few of the seemingly innocuous ones, especially in contrast to the more outlandish ones that appear to be cobbled together from English curse words such as “dickweasel”, “homodumbshit”, and “twatlips”. Commenters on the new published list of banned words bring up some interesting points: How else to describe the world-famous act committed between former U.S. President Bill Clinton and his intern Monica Lewinsky that led to his impeachment?
The Mongolian Communications Regulatory Commission is the body enforcing these censorship policies as the country joins its neighbors in the region — including China and Vietnam — in acts of internet restriction that appear backwards to other countries in favor of the free and open web. Reports note that censorship of the internet is particularly stringent in Inner Mongolia.
Although this unique — and quite specific — level of censorship only affects about 20% of Mongolia’s population (Internet World Stats had the number of internet users in the country at 635,999 in 2012 with a population of 3,179,997), the more important point is its significance as another notch against internet freedom in Asia’s web sector. As the global debate on internet freedom rages, some Asian countries are definitely moving in the direction of tighter, more restrictive controls over web content and what is considered punishable. The international factions on either side of the debate have seemingly grown further apart in their censorship policies — with countries in the Middle East including Saudi Arabia joining Russia, and various Asian entities in stricter crackdowns on publishable web material.