Governments increasingly intolerant of online content

By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha

UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova said that new forms to repress freedom of expression online were emerging in any many parts of the world.

“For the first time, according to the Committeee of the Protection of Journalists, more online journalists than traditional ones were incarcerated in 2008.”

The political protests in North Africa, allegedly fueled by social networks have seen governments developing new legal framework aimed at suppressing freedom of expression.

In addition, governments have incarcerated bloggers, citizen journalists deemed to have posted illegal content on online platforms.

Actions of governments to repress freedom of expression involved harassment, arrests, jailings and killings aimed at inhibiting freedom of expression. All in all, there is a negative trajectory as far as Internet media in concerned.

Political content is increasingly blocked in many countries.

“Governments around the world are blocking content such as child pornography but the governments are also using their power to block content which is regarded to be political,” said Sanja Tatic Kelly.

She added that governments around the world were responding violently particularly during times of conflict.

“We are dedicated tonsuring that the Internet becomes a global public resource to which all have access, where all voices are heard,” said Bokova.

“This call for media and Internet literacy. This calls for the integrity of safety of journalists everywhere.”

New social media offers opportunity to express their voices thereby expanding what the concept of press freedom actually mean

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