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Monday, June 16, 2008

Blogger Arrests Hit Record High

According to the BBC, 64 people have been arrested since 2003 for publishing their views on a blog. Most of those arrests were carried about by the governments of China, Egypt and Iran. One person was even sentenced to eight years in prison. From the BBC:

Arrested bloggers exposed corruption in government, abuse of human rights or suppression of protests. They criticised public policies and took political figures to task.

The report said the rising number of arrests was testament to the "growing" political importance of blogging. It noted that arrests tended to increase during times of "political uncertainty", such as around general elections or during large scale protests.

Jail time followed arrest for many bloggers, said the report, which found that the average prison sentence for blogging was 15 months. The longest sentence found by the WIA was eight years.

It acknowledged that the true number of bloggers arrested could be far higher than the total it found as, in some cases, it proved hard to verify if an arrest had taken place and on what grounds.

For instance, it said the Committee to Protect Bloggers has published information about 344 people arrested in Burma - many of whom are thought to be be bloggers - but the WIA could not verify all the reports.

Can you imagine the number of people that would be in jail if the United States suddenly started arresting people for blogging and criticising the government? Glad they don't...

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