Blogger Arrests Increase in 2007
The BBC summarizes a new report showing that the number of bloggers arrested worldwide increased substantially last year:
Since 2003, 64 people have been arrested for publishing their views on a blog, says the University of Washington annual report.
In 2007 three times as many people were arrested for blogging about political issues than in 2006, it revealed.
More than half of all the arrests since 2003 have been made in China, Egypt and Iran, said the report.
In its press release, the University of Washington notes that things are probably worse than these numbers indicate:
But these arrests are probably just the tip of the iceberg, Howard said. "The real number of arrested bloggers is probably much higher, since many arrests in China, Zimbabwe, and Iran go unreported in the international media."
Altogether around the world, bloggers have served 940 months of jail time in the last five years, the researchers found. During those years, the average prison term for citizen journalists was 15 months. "Many countries have political bloggers, and many persecute journalists," Howard said. "More and more citizens are expressing themselves online, and being punished for it."
Jail sentences varied from blogger to blogger, the least amount a few hours and the longest eight years. Nine of Egypt's 14 known blogger arrests occurred in 2007, an election year. In 2005, Iranian blogger Mojtaba Saminejad was arrested for writing about the arrests of other bloggers. "Some people blog about their arrests as soon as they get out of jail," Howard said.
Click here to access the detailed findings on repression of bloggers.