By Mike Sachoff
More online journalists are in prison globally than any other reporters working in any other medium, according to a new survey by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
The survey found that 45 percent of all media workers imprisoned globally are bloggers, online reporters, or online editors. The CPJ says for the first time online journalists account for the largest professional category that is jailed.
As of December 1 there are 125 journalists behind bars, a decrease of two from 2007. China tops the list as the worst offender, a position it has held for the last 10 years. Cuba, Burma, Eritrea, and Uzbekistan round out the top five from among the 29 nations that imprison journalists.
There are at least 56 online journalists jailed globally. The number of online journalists jailed has steadily risen since the CPJ recorded the first imprisoned Internet writer in 1997.
“Online journalism has changed the media landscape and the way we communicate with each other,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “But the power and influence of this new generation of online journalists has captured the attention of repressive governments around the world, and they have accelerated their counterattack.”
Online Journalists Now The Most Jailed
Most of the online journalists that are jailed are freelancers with no legal resources or political connection that could help them get out of prison.
“The image of the solitary blogger working at home in pajamas may be appealing, but when the knock comes on the door they are alone and vulnerable,” said CPJ’s Simon.
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