Mass surveillance programmes by the US and UK, as well as restrictive Internet legislation by various governments and a wave of cyberattacks globally, are among the disturbing developments that have landed cyberspace on the Committee to Protect Journalists’ Risk List, released today.
The Risk List comprises the following countries:
• Egypt and Bangladesh: torn apart by political polarisation, with journalists caught in the middle
• Syria: continues to be wracked by violent conflict
• Vietnam: authoritarian regime
• Ecuador, Liberia, Russia, Turkey and Zambia: all nominal democracies where the space for free expression and independent newsgathering is rapidly shrinking.
CPJ said it added cyberspace to its list of press freedom-restricting countries due to the profound erosion of freedom on the Internet, a critical sphere for journalists worldwide.
“Violence and repression continue to be the greatest threat to journalists worldwide, but online censorship and massive state surveillance are also disrupting the global flow of information,” CPJ executive director Joel Simon said.
“The Internet has become the essential platform for journalists around the world to carry out their reporting and to publish their stories. But government censorship and monitoring, from China to Iran, have grown more sophisticated and online repression has increased as a result.
“The US also has a special responsibility. While the Obama administration has championed online freedom, the NSA spying program has undermined global confidence in the Web as a means of independent expression,” Simon added.
(Issued by CPJ, final editing by Issa Sikiti da Silva)
Photo: Zambia cops manhandle and arrest a journalist in the capital Lusaka. Credit: Zambia Reports