Blogging has become a social phenomenon around the world and while we in the UK might feel comparatively safe to report what we like on the topics of our choice, not everybody has the same privileges. Citizens of some of the more politically unstable countries are frequently arrested for sharing their views on the political status of a country, and reporting on violence to the outside world.
It may seem an innocuous pastime and for those of us that enjoy freedom of speech, it represents a positive and largely inoffensive way to portray our message and thoughts. But, since 2003, 64 people have been arrested for comments they have made on their blogs. The arrests have concentrated around China, Egypt, and Iran and usually come at a time when political uncertainty is at its greatest and the abuse of human rights at their highest.
Alarmingly the average prison sentence of those arrested runs at 15 months and while some “only” receive fines, the longest sentence currently recorded is an eight year prison sentence. Figures have tripled in the last year, and the World Information Access report notes that the figure could be much higher, because many of the countries and conflicts face heavy censorship to the outside world.
So, next time you log onto Blogger or your own blog, spare a thought for those that don’t enjoy quite the same level of human rights.