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