The latest annual study from Reporters Without Borders suggests that bloggers are now just as much at risk from censorship by repressive regimes as journalists and reporters in traditional media are.
They claim that many governments now realise that the Internet is a powerful force for promoting democracy and are finding ways of suppressing anyone who challenges their authority.
At the bottom of the world rankings for overall press freedom came the African nation of Eritrea:
“The privately-owned press has been banished by the authoritarian President Issaias Afeworki and the few journalists who dare to criticise the regime are thrown in prison. We know that four of them have died in detention and we have every reason to fear that others will suffer the same fate,” said the organisation in a statement.
Close behind came North Korea and Turkmenistan. China is also low down on the list (164th), having imprisoned fifty people based upon postings made online.
The report suggests that, at present, at least 64 people are imprisoned worldwide because of views they have expressed on the Internet. Eight of them are in Vietnam.
European countries performed well, with Iceland in first position, followed by Norway and Estonia. However, Russia languishes is 144th position, and is “not progressing” according to the report.
The US came in 48th position.
Of course, this report looks at how those in all areas of the media are treated, but it’s worth noting that bloggers are now very much on the radar.