One Third Of
Jailed Journalists Are Bloggers
A new report by the Committee to Protect Journalists warns of increasing authoritarian attitudes towards the free flow of information on the Internet as statistics reveal that of the estimated 134 journalists jailed for their work worldwide, a full third are Internet writers and bloggers.
"We're at a crucial juncture in the fight for press freedom because authoritarian states have made the Internet a major front in their effort to control information," Committee Executive Director Joel Simon said in a statement.
"China is challenging the notion that the Internet is impossible to control or censor, and if it succeeds there will be far-ranging implications, not only for the medium but for press freedom all over the world."
The past few months have produced a noted increase in the amount of negative rhetoric spewed forth by western governments over the so-called dangers of the Internet and its exploitation by "terrorist organizations."
What we are witnessing is clearly a chilling effect and an attempt to stifle people from feeling comfortable in openly expressing their feelings about the phantom "war on terror" and other political catastrophes via the forum of the world wide web.
As the implementation of biometric technology and its application to security becomes more widely used, we are not far from the day when we have have to thumb scan simply to use the Internet and only with government permission will we be allowed to run a blog.
It's already happening in China, where the government is about to force Internet users who wish to start a to a blog to register using their real name and ID card number. State licensing of blogging, combined with legislation that paves the way for the introduction of ID cards both in the US and the UK, are the cocktail for a cyber police state, where only those who express political opinions sympathetic to government policies will be allowed to keep their blog.
Add to this the state-imposed mental illness of political correctness brainwashing, whereby criticism of any individual, policy, group, gender, race or sexuality is treated as hate crime, and the last outpost of true freedom of speech will exist no more - replaced by a stifled, poisoned, controlled, censored, regulated "Internet 2."
They can't burn all the books but don't be so naive for a second to think that these control freaks won't go all out to try and pull the plug on all the characteristics of the Internet that made it such a God send in the first place.
Perhaps we bloggers should count ourselves lucky that we haven't been gunned down in our own homes for attempting to report the truth, because that's the fate the vast majority of those killed over the last 5 years covering the "war on terror" have met. Over a year ago the number of journalists killed in Iraq since the start of the war in March 2003 surpassed the number killed during the entire 20 year stretch of the Vietnam War.
It shouldn't really come as a shock to anyone that the U.S. military, at the discretion of the Pentagon, would practice both indiscriminate and deliberate targeting of journalists, because that's precisely what they told everyone they would do before the war began.
Since that time we have witnessed numerous stories of reporters who got close to releasing sensitive information gunned down in cold blood. Reuters cameraman Mazen Dana filmed mass graves of U.S. troops covered in plastic bags in remote desert areas of Iraq and was about to release the footage in a TV special. He was ruthlessly gunned down near the Abu Ghraib jail despite having a permit to film the site from U.S. occupation forces and clearly wearing "press" emblazoned attire.
Bloggers make up a third of journalists incarcerated worldwide while the remainder also languish in forgotten hellholes for daring to simply do their job in the face of state attempts to stamp out any unfiltered, truly independent reporting.
Those imprisoned include Joshua Wolf, who was jailed on August 1 for refusing to turn over footage of a G8 protest rally to a federal grand jury. Wolf is being held on civil contempt in an effort to coerce him to testify and turn over his unpublished material.
Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein has been detained for the past 8 months in Iraq and Al Jazeera cameraman Sami al-Haj, who has been incarcerated for 5 years, is currently being held at Guantanamo Bay.
Hussein is being held by the U.S. military after they accused him of colluding with insurgents and has been rotting in a prison camp with no formal charges brought against him. An attempt to get information about Hussein by the Committee to Protect Journalists was brushed aside by the Pentagon in October.
Sami al-Haj was kidnapped by Pakistani border guards after he was accused of being a member of Al-Qaeda. The proof? Al-Haj had lost his passport two years earlier. Despite the fact that he had traveled around the Middle East with Al-Jazeera film crews on numerous occasions since obtaining his new passport, he was disappeared anyway, and now finds himself labeled and "enemy combatant" and is forced to spend most of his day in an 8 by 7 foot cage with 450 other "terrorists" who have never been charged.
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