More bloggers than ever face arrest for exposing human rights abuses or criticising governments, says a report. 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.
This precious freedom to complain about politicians and generally delight the blogosphere with your brilliance has not been silenced in the U.S. Yet.
Not sure what point the author was trying to make by including the U.S. in a list of countries that arrest bloggers for 'hate' speech'. Take the case of Josh Wolf, a blogger videotaping an anarchist movement in San Fran in 2006. He was jailed for refusing to produce unedited tapes of a potential arson incident that occured during this protest. Being arrested in the U.S. for videotapping a potential crime is a far cry from being arrested for making fun of the Obamanation on your blog.
The report pointed out that it is not just governments in the Middle East and East Asia that have taken steps against those publishing their opinions online. In the last four years, British, French, Canadian and American bloggers have also been arrested.
The report predicted that the number of blogger arrests in 2008 would exceed the 36 seen in 2007 thanks to greater popularity of blogging as a medium, greater enforcement of net restrictions, and elections in China, Pakistan, Iran and the US
The rise in blogger arrests worldwide for simply posting opinions and thoughts on a blog is chilling and I worry about the future of mass communication and freedom.