Blogging gets more dangerous as worldwide arrests triple

Iran, China and Egypt accounting for more than half of all arrests since 2003

China is notorious for the tight reins it keeps on bloggers from that country. That censorship is so sharp that Chinese bloggers gained worldwide recognition last month when many were able to blog freely about the devastating earthquakes there because Beijing censors were too overwhelmed by the disaster to monitor blog posts.

The fastest growing category for arrests of citizen bloggers was for exposing corruption or human rights violations, he added. "In most democracies a whistle blower can get in touch with a journalist easily," he noted. "In a lot of the tougher authoritarian regimes, there is no tradition of or respect for whistle blowing. Blogs are taking on that whistleblowing function."

While Iran, Egypt and China were the most likely to arrest citizen bloggers during the five years studied, Howard said emerging democracies like Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand also posted some arrests, which surprised the researchers. "They are not familiar with how to deal with citizens who speak out," he noted.

While the research did not show that arrests stifled the free speech of bloggers, it did show that such arrests are driving citizens to new media like YouTube, Facebook and MySpace to comment on the arrests. "When the regimes crack down on bloggers, there is a spike in YouTube [postings about the blogger arrests]," he noted. "When word spreads that the government is cracking down on bloggers, people will turn to other ways of expressing themselves politically."

Howard noted that his research found 344 arrests logged online by the Committee to Protect Bloggers, but that the information did not detail of all the those arrested were bloggers or other activists. As a result, those arrests were not recorded in the study.

Researchers only included bloggers who were arrested for using electronic media, which included online blogs, videos and text messages, to discuss or record political issues or events, according to the study. The news reports and other online published details of the arrests cited various reasons for the arrests including refusal to give information to the government and violating rules unrelated to state security, the report said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Heather Havenstein

Network World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?