Blogging is a crime in certain countries: Burma, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Egypt, China, Vietnam, Cuba, and Turkmenistan.
I knew that blogging and certain other online activities were considered criminal but I have to thank my friend George at Bahá’í Views for posting about the site Committee to Protect Journalists.
In a recent Special Report, they say:
“Bloggers are at the vanguard of the information revolution and their numbers are expanding rapidly,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “But governments are quickly learning how to turn technology against bloggers by censoring and filtering the Internet, restricting online access and mining personal data. When all else fails, the authorities simply jail a few bloggers to intimidate the rest of the online community into silence or self-censorship.”
I happen to live in the United States and we certainly have issues to deal with in terms of freedom of expression but I would still be a blogger in any of the countries mentioned because I’m sure I would find out about Reporters Without Borders and their well-documented methods to circumvent repression and restraint against freedom of speech.
Just before I include my Spiritual Quote for this post, I want to reproduce the pictures from CPJ’s article to add the color of the human dimension to these very black words…
Turkmen soldiers guard an Internet cafe in Ashgabat. (Reuters)
Sánchez’s Generación Y is among a small but emerging group of independent Cuban blogs. (CPJ)
Zarganar is serving a 59-year prison term. (AP)
Amer is jailed for insulting the president and Islam. (Reuters)
Talk at Central Congregational Church
Hancock Street, Brooklyn, New York
“This is a goodly temple and congregation, for—praise be to God!—this is a house of worship wherein conscientious opinion has free sway. Every religion and every religious aspiration may be freely voiced and expressed here. Just as in the world of politics there is need for free thought, likewise in the world of religion there should be the right of unrestricted individual belief. Consider what a vast difference exists between modern democracy and the old forms of despotism. Under an autocratic government the opinions of men are not free, and development is stifled, whereas in democracy, because thought and speech are not restricted, the greatest progress is witnessed. It is likewise true in the world of religion. When freedom of conscience, liberty of thought and right of speech prevail—that is to say, when every man according to his own idealization may give expression to his beliefs—development and growth are inevitable. Therefore, this is a blessed church because its pulpit is open to every religion, the ideals of which may be set forth with openness and freedom. For this reason I am most grateful to the reverend doctor; I find him indeed a servant of the oneness of humanity.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 197
Let’s have a conversation !
Make It Easy !
in a reader or your email
that image of the soldiers patrolling the internet cafe is chilling.
yes, with all the BS that’s going on in the western world, democracy still seems to be the best option. and as HL mencken said, “the cure for the evils of democracy is more democracy”.
Thanks for the comment, isbella! The whole issue is “chilling” to me. Living in a relatively free nation, my heart goes out to those who still must struggle, greatly, to express themselves…
The blody truth well spoken,how teribly sad,again I say..a never ending battle,it keeps on going on and on,when will there be peace for humanity?I hope that my achievements in life shall be these: that I will have fought for what was right and fair,risked for that which mattered,given help to those where in need, and that I will have left the earth a better place for what I’ve done and who I;ve seen.
Very Noble Words, very Well-spoken, Catherine !
Thank God we still stand for freedom, equality and justice for all.
At least that’s pretty much true….
Your post releases the reader from the slavery to the empty words. Thank you.
The photos disciplined my tongue: while viewing “Turkmen soldiers guard an Internet cafe in Ashgabat”, I was reminded about the responsibility for the content we are sharing on the Internet (for what is flowing from the depth of our hearts). While reading your post I was sinking how we use our freedom to talk… Unfortunately, our mail is overloaded with spam… so to say, there is a little to boast about.
In other words, the bloggers, who are judged as the criminals by their government, teach us the cost of the word. I bow to them and thank you for the reminder of the people who fight for their ideals – for the example we all should follow.
“The photos disciplined my tongue…”
What a fascinatingly beautiful phrase!!!