Dutch: $1.3 million for oppressed bloggers

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) ? The Dutch government has pledged euro1 million ($1.3 million) to help bloggers operating under oppressive regimes.

Speaking at the Freedom Online conference, Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal says the money will be used to “support” the development of backup computer and mobile networks that bloggers can use to disseminate information when a government tries to block the Internet or social media. He says Syria, Iran and Zimbabwe are target countries.

The Netherlands said Friday it has earmarked additional euro5 million in its human rights donations for unspecified online freedom projects.

On Thursday U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opened the conference with a call for companies not to sell surveillance tools to authoritarian regimes.