Arts and Culture

Burma worst for blogger bans

Staff Reporter

Burma has been judged the worst country in the world for online restrictions in a report looking at the repression faced by bloggers.

Burma has been judged the worst country in the world for online restrictions in a report looking at the repression faced by bloggers.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, which has compiled a list of the 10 worst countries to be a blogger, says it wants to shame those governments which are most aggressively attempting to curtail and censor web activity.

Bloggers inside Burma proved invaluable in passing out information during the September 2007 uprisings, leading to the ruling military junta blocking the internet completely for a period.

Iran, where a young blogger died in prison last month, was named as the second-worst country. Omid Mir Sayafi died in Tehran’s Evin jail, which is known to hold political prisoners, after being arrested for allegedly insulting Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a blog he posted.

The “roll of dishonour” goes on to name Syria, where internet café owners were ordered to report on customers; Cuba, where 21 bloggers are in jail; Saudi Arabia, where an estimated 400 000 sites are blocked; Vietnam; Tunisia; China, where the most comprehensive online controls are in place; Turkmenistan, where the nation’s first internet café was guarded by troops; and Egypt where more than 100 bloggers were detained last year alone.

All of the countries have burgeoning blogging cultures despite extensive monitoring, censorship and repression by the authorities. - guardian.co.uk

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