Canadian Press
Saturday, May 31, 1997

Green party backer shuts Web site after Elections Canada letter

OTTAWA (CP) -- A Green Party supporter has shut down his Web page about the party after Elections Canada warned him he must identify its sponsor.

Krishna Bera posted a "censored" sign on the page after the commissioner of Elections Canada told him that as election advertising, the page must identify the sponsor.

Bera has a sponsor whom he refuses to name.

"I wanted to make sure that anonymous speech on the Internet was protected", said Bera, 33, a self-employed computer consultant.

Some people won't attach their name to a cause because they feel it might jeopardize their career, he added.

"When you're not in control of government or powerful institutions, you don't necessarily feel secure in expressing your opinions."

Bera is also a member of Electronic Frontier Canada, a group dedicated to freedom of expression on the Internet.

The penalty for not naming the site's sponsor is $1,000 or one year in jail.

Since he shut the page, as many as 60 so-called mirror sites, identical to the original, have been posted on the Internet from various countries.

Bera's site advocated voting for the Green Party, listed information about the party and a link to its official Web page.

An Elections Canada official said the commissioner does not confirm or deny if a complaint has been received or when an investigation is under way.

Copyright © 1997 by Canadian Press. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.