Can you actually get killed for expressing your opinion in your blog?
Blogging can be harmful, even fatal for you in some countries where many people get into trouble for criticizing governments or power elites.
Reporters without borders report that globally in 2008, 1 blogger was killed, 59 bloggers were arrested, 45 were physically attacked, 1,740 websites were blocked, shut down or suspended.
The General manager of Shuli Architectural Engineering, Wei Wenhua, in Hubei province of China was beaten to death by “chengguan” (municipal police officers) while filming with his mobile phone a clash with demonstrators in Tianmen (not in Beijing but in Hubei province) on 7 January 2008.
Governments getting Tougher on Internet Censorship
According to Reporters without Borders, 64 persons are currently imprisoned worldwide because their blogposts upset governments or power elites.
Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons
37 countries practised online censorship in 2008. Good old China kept its reputation by censoring 93 websites but Syria beat them by censoring 162 websites and Iran took the bronze medal with 38 websites.
- In China, 10 cyber-dissidents were arrested, 31 were physically attacked or threatened, and at least three were tried and convicted according to Reporters Without Borders.
- In Iran, Reporters Without Borders reported 18 arrests, 31 physical attacks and 10 convictions.
- Syria had 8 arrests and 3 convictions
- Egypt 6 arrests
- Morocco 2 arrests and 2 convictions.
The military junta in Burma, is trying to enter the Guiness Book of Records for the longest prison sentences as punishment for blogging. Blogger and comedian Zarganar and the young cyber-dissident Nay Phone Latt were given incredibly long prison sentences. 59 years for Zarganar and 20 years for Nay Phone Latt.
Egypt’s Kareem Amer’s four-year prison sentence for postings seen as anti-religious and insulting to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak might seem lenient in comparison.
Blog Censorship in different Countries
Oxford Analytica gives regular updates on the current global situation of blog censorship. The Press Freedom Index, another way to approach this issue, United States or even United Kingdom is way below Namibia and Hungary.
Whatever reasons they give, in many countries the authorities try to restrict access to certain content, sites, authors and readers from interacting on certain themes.
Photo source: Wikimedia Commons
The US military openly admits that they censors soldier’s blogs which mention experiences in wars like Iraq and Afghanistan.
Internet Censorship in China
Already in 2005 Microsoft officially admitted that China was censoring blogs for certain terms like ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’. According to Rebecca MacKinnon of the University of Hong Kong, there are basically two types of Internet censorship in China – those “inside the Great Firewall” and those “outside the Great Firewall” and the relationship between the blog manager or editor with the local State council is crucial to the degree of censorship experienced. The Chinese government has had the Golden Shield Project since 1998 to protect citizens from
- Anti-social opinions and activities
- Ideas, organizations and opinions which are a threat to national security
- Ideas, organizations and opinions which undermine the government’s policies on religion or are seen as subversive
It really depends on who you ask in China or about China and their censorship. Here is what a Falung Gong practitioner (obviously not based in China) has to say about censorship in China. the name of the blog is Falunggongforever.
Test if Your Blog or Site is Banned in China
There are two sites where you can test if your blogs or sites are banned in China.
Yes, according to the greatwallofchina.org and Chinese readers, this blog Original Wavelength is blocked in China. Who knows whom I have annoyed and for writing what!
Does Anyone Want Blog Censorship?
It is not only the mighty Chinese government or the Iranian clerics who want censorship. In Canada, Manitoba's First Nation leaders want the public and government to clamp down on people who post racist remarks about aboriginals on media websites.
Significantly, more than one-third of these American respondents had never heard of blogs before participating in the survey, and only around 30% of participants had actually visited a blog themselves.
There are many sites spreading violent hate messages and dangerous propaganda in addition to sites, which aim to cheat or mislead people.
Is the Right to Freedom of Speech a sacred right?
Do you think any authority should be allowed to censor these hate blogs?