CBC listeners help broadcaster lobby for unblocking in China

Listeners to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's radio program Search Engine, gathered the information necessary to allow the CBC's President to lobby the Chinese ambassador to Canada to have the service unblocked by the Great Firewall of China:

Thanks to their efforts our show broke this story, which was picked up throughout the country and resulted in the CBC's President appealing to the Chinese Ambassador to end the blockage at once. Today the news is out that the CBC, along with Wikipedia and the BBC, is back online.

This was a great display of citizen journalism in action. Our China-based listeners alerted us to the blockage, then confirmed it throughout China by working the message boards. We tapped other listeners in the area through our Facebook page, and every one of them responded, testing our sites and others. Through that we were able to establish that the blockage was limited to China and didn't occur in neighbouring countries, which helped rule out technical failure as a cause.

Several of the people who helped us have requested anonymity (one is an Olympic torch-bearer and wants to keep the job!). We've decided to keep all of you anonymous, but you know who you are, and we're appreciative. Thanks!

Link (Thanks, Philip!)

(Disclosure: I am a paid columnist for Search Engine)


  1. Great. I guess now a few of the torch-bearers will be detained for questioning. Way to keep the anonymity!

  2. I guess now a few of the torch-bearers will be detained for questioning.

    More likely ALL of the torch-bearers will be detained for re-education.

  3. Well done bringing the world’s largest nation to it’s knees!

    To contrast, the April 24th podcast edition of Search Engine consisted of host Jesse Brown and Cory discussing how they spent their Passover Seders for about a minute before going for some soup. Possibly watercress soup with seafood.. Cory can you confirm????

  4. It seems too soon to attribute this minor “victory” to the efforts of CBC, the fact of the matter is that Wikipedia, youtube and a host of sites are periodically blocked and unblocked by their firewall, often with no discernible trend or apparent reason, making for much frustration. The general rule seems to be that anything that was once available will eventually be unblocked, but no promises as to when, diplomatic action notwithstanding.

  5. Although these efforts may have had an effect on getting CBC’s radio program unblocked, Wikipedia and the BBC have been unblocked here for weeks now, and so it’s a bit of a stretch to imply that somehow their unblocking is related. As #5 mentioned, these things come and go, it might be unblocked today but it’s just as likely to get re-blocked tomorrow. In any event, it’s trivial to bypass the blocks with a VPN or a proxy.

Comments are closed.