CPJ Urges End To Internet Censorship in 2011 Report

The Committee to Protect Journalists recently released its 2011 "Attacks on the Press" report. In the report, the CPJ urged countries and organizations to band together to fight censorship. One of the articles in the report noted that with increasing globalization, it becomes even more critical to provide information access for netizens and to remove as many barriers as possible:

The key is to mobilize the many constituencies that have a stake in ensuring the free flow of information—civil society and advocacy groups, businesses, governments, and inter-governmental organizations—and build a global coalition against censorship.

CPJ also identified several threats to online freedom of expression, including Thailand's 2007 Computer Crime Act. Originally proposed to target hackers and those who commit fraud, the law, the original draft of which included the death penalty as a maximum punishment, is being applied to reporters and news websites around the world. Another barrier to overcome is Saudi Arabia's E-Publishing regulation, which casts a wide net over all media published on the Internet. Saudi laws allow the government to fire senior editors at will and to mandate registration by any individual or organization seeking to set up websites that "display audio and visual material." In presenting the evidence on rampant Internet censorship globally, the CPJ report highlighted the urgency with which people must confront increasing online restrictions, especially in countries with authoritarian governments. Wrote Danny O'Brien, CPJ's advocacy coordinator, "Without due care—and pressure from those most concerned with free expression—laws concerned with Internet security can quickly turn into weapons against journalists and the freedom of the new, digital media."