Less than six weeks into the new year, there have already been at least 14 netizens threatened for content posted online—ranging from tweets to blog posts. according to digital rights organization Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
The EFF is responding to this with a new project, Bloggers Under Fire. The project will work alongside Global Voices Online’s Threatened Voices, which helps expose threats faced by netizens.
They launched a new Web page that tracks cases of bloggers and other Web users being threatened, arrested, and harassed. They note the importance of this, referencing protests and revolutions that swept the world in 2011.
The EFF states on its website, “while many were successful in using online tools in their activism, others faced grave consequences.”
“So far, 2012 hasn’t been any easier … EFF has already documented nine cases of bloggers under fire: in Oman and South Korea; Bahrain and China; Thailand; Iran; Vietnam; and Ethiopia,” it states.
Global Voices Advocacy has mapped instances of bloggers being arrested, threatened, killed, or simply disappearing at the hands of authorities since 2000. Their website states, “Never before have so many bloggers been imprisoned.”
Their system tracks cases by country, with various-sized red dots symbolizing the size of the problem. A timeline lets users see arrests that followed specific incidents, such as the Iranian election protests in 2009, and arrests leading up to the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
“The lines are blurred when it comes to defining who is a ‘blogger,’ ‘journalist,’ or ‘online activist,’” their website states.
“On Threatened Voices we focus on people who have been silenced by their authorities for what they have communicated online, no matter whether it was in a blog, online forum, Facebook, Twitter, or what the individual does for a living,” it states. “Sometimes well-known bloggers are arrested for reasons that have little to do with their online activities.”