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European Pirate Party politicians strike blow for Wikileaks

EU Parliment moves to end WikiLeaks donation blockade

The European Parliament on Tuesday called for new legislation to regulate credit card companies' ability to refuse service following the cut-off of donations to WikiLeaks.

Pirate Party member of parliament, Christian Engström, said that "it is not reasonable that Visa, MasterCard and PayPal can unilaterally block donations to WikiLeaks".

"This happened without legal grounds and should be regarded as the three companies collaborating in helping the American government to silence an inconvenient voice. It is unacceptable that private corporations have that kind of power over free speech," he said.

WikiLeaks makes the same point on its website: "The blockade is outside of any accountable, public process. It is without democratic oversight or transparency." According to the organization, since December 2010 the block on donations imposed by Visa, MasterCard and PayPal along with Bank of America and Western Union has eliminated 95 percent of its revenue.

On Tuesday the European Parliament voted in favor of text that "considers it to be in the public interest to define objective rules describing the circumstances and procedures under which card payment schemes may unilaterally refuse acceptance." That text will be sent to the European Commission to ask for new laws limiting and regulating companies' right to refuse service.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

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