Uruknet: Google censorship?

I don't know too much about Uruknet although I have read a few articles on it in the past. It is in opposition to the war in Iraq and is published in several languages. Perhaps the delisting by Google is a result of low readership but who knows. Anyway it is good to ensure more and varied voices are included in Google News so I thought I would promote this.

Google did it again!
Uruknet




January 20, 2006

On January 12, 2007 Google has stopped indexing Uruknet.info as a news source

(The latest Uruknet article included in the Google News index is Iraqi Children "Play" Civil War , February 18, 2005) .

We wrote to Google News and this is their reply:


Hi Vincenzo,

Thank you for your message. We apologize for the confusion, we've reviewed your site again and are unable to include it in Google News at this time. We appreciate your willingness to provide your articles to us, and we will log your site for future consideration. Thank you for your interest in Google News.

They are unable? and for which reason? Of course there isn’t any technical reason, because Google.news have been indexing Uruknet up to five days ago and although old pages are still available, there has been no update since then. The only "technical reason" is censorship.

We rewrote to Google.news and their reply was even more cryptic:


Thank you for your note. Although we're unable to provide specific information at this time, we sincerely appreciate your interest in Google News and your willingness to provide us with your content. Please be assured that we'll keep your site on file should we be able to crawl it in the future.

Thanks again for taking the time to contact us.

Regards, The Google Team

Of course, it is a lie: In our logs it seems that you still crawl Uruknet, but the articles do not appear on Google.news.

We re-rewrote to Google.news and we didn’t get any answer at all. We ignore the reason for which Google has manipulated the rankings for Uruknet , but we think the exclusion of alternative media through search engines results is government/corporate tactics to harness the free flow of information on the Internet. Being banned by Google.news is obviously a serious threat to a news website's existence.

This isn't the first time that Google discontinues indexing Uruknet. On February 18, 2005, Google.news removed Uruknet.info as a news source, apparently thanks to Michelle Malkin's protestations only to reinstate them - following many complaints sent in by our readers.

On June 4, 2005 both Google.com and Google.news dropped Uruknet again without explanation: and in this case too Google reinstated Uruknet only because of complaints messages from our readers.

We must add that Google’s censorship unintentionally occurs in a particularly critical period for our website. Uruknet has been under hacking attacks since September 2005. These attacks increase whenever there are important events from Iraq. Since this past summer, when a great number of attacks were carried out against Uruknet, we have been moving our servers and spending lots of time, money and energies in order to prevent these attacks and to repair the damages. Since the assassination of the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, the attacks have increased again and last week they managed to destroy our main server and other servers we use for mirroring websites.

As our readers know, we never carried out campaigns neither for fund-raising nor for any other kind of aid. Although we’ve been able to provide, in spite of sacrifice, for maintenance and safeguard of Uruknet and mirroring websites, and although we succeeded, notwithstanding such a great deal of problems, to face all damages caused by hacking attacks, now Google’s censorship risks to be a blow too hard to ward off.

We therefore kindly request our readers to write to Google asking Uruknet.info to be reinstated as a news source.

Please, send your messages to :
source-suggestions@google.com

Or simply click here to fill a speedy form

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