Thursday, 21 October 2010

Economist - Bloggers in the Middle East: Don't be too cheeky

Governments in the Middle East are cracking down on bloggers

The Economist today has a short article revealing efforts now being made by some Middle Eastern regimes to discourage freedom of expression by the means of web logs ("blogs"):
Governments across the Middle East are increasingly twitchy about their citizens’ online activities. As internet use in the region has soared—up 19-fold since 2000, compared with a fivefold rise in the rest of the world, according to Internet World Stats, which monitors global internet usage—so the number jailed for what they do on the web has shot up too.

According to Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based watchdog, at least 17 “netizens” are in jail across the Middle East: eight in Iran and the rest in Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the United Arab Emirates. China may be the biggest online represser, but the Middle East is not far behind.
We might add that these repressive efforts are a clear attack on bloggers' human rights in these countries and directly contravene the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (to which these states have signed up!)

Article 19: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

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