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Blog Repression Continues

Reporters Without Frontiers have released their Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2007, and it highlights not only the problems with press freedom for traditional journalists around the globe, but also the threat to bloggers.   A number of countries have seen their rankings fall because of the way they’ve restricted or violated the freedom of bloggers. Several countries, like Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Egypt, have arrested bloggers and closed sites.   Globally, at least 64 people are currently in prison for postings they’ve made online, with 50 of those being in China (the report does not consider recent events in Myanmar). Eight more are being held in jail in Vietman, while an Egyptian man was jailed for criticizing the country’s president and the Islamist control of the country’s universities.   “We are concerned about the increase in cases of online censorship,” Reporters Without Borders said. “More and more governments have realised that the Internet can play a key role in the fight for democracy and they are establishing new methods of censoring it. The governments of repressive countries are now targeting bloggers and online journalists as forcefully as journalists in the traditional media.”   The top-ranked countries for press freedom were Iceland, Norway, Estonia, Slovakia and Belgium. The bottom five were Cuba, Iran, Turkmenistan and North Korea, with Eritrea claiming bottom place. The UK was ranked 24th and the US 48th.

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