Microsoft is extending its program of giving free software licences to non-profit organisations. The initiative was first applied to Russia, after it was discovered that authorities were using software piracy inquiries as a method of suppressing independent media outlets and advocacy groups. The program will now include 500,000 NGOs in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, China, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Prior to the announcement NGOs could only obtain a free licence if they were aware of the program and followed the necessary procedure. According to Microsoft’s official blog announcement, the unilateral licence will last until 2012.