The Committee to Protect Journalists released an eye-opening report, which says that 56 of the 125 accounted-for jailed journalists in the world are bloggers and other online workers. It is the first year that online journalists account for the largest category of journalists being imprisoned in the world — a fact that underscores how governments in countries such as China and Cuba are increasingly cracking down on online media as people use readily available online tools to report on and critique the government.
CPJ executive director sums it up well:
“The image of the solitary blogger working at home in pajamas may be appealing, but when the knock comes on the door they are alone and vulnerable,” said Simon. “All of us must stand up for their rights–from Internet companies to journalists and press freedom groups. The future of journalism is online and we are now in a battle with the enemies of press freedom who are using imprisonment to define the limits of public discourse.”
I believe it’s time for organizations such as the Online News Association and bloggers such as ourselves to raise more awareness of these people who are being jailed, many without any form of due process. We must become more aware of the dangers faced by our colleagues overseas.
[Thanks to Steve Yelvington via Twitter for the link]