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Online Media Representatives Face Jail 27

OSDNBoss writes "According to the US Watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists a total of 134 journalists were in jail on December 1, 49 of which were Internet journalists. China leads the way with the highest number in jail. I'm sure the censors have already blocked Slashdot and other news and opinion sites in the countries mentioned. It begs the question, however, as the blogosphere grows are online journalists and editors more or less protected than their print and TV counterparts?" From the article: "China is challenging the notion that the Internet is impossible to control or censor, and if it succeeds there will be far-ranging implications, not only for the medium but for press freedom all over the world."
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Online Media Representatives Face Jail

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    What criteria must one meet to be considered a traditional journalist, entitled to the same protections as, say, a reporter for a big newspaper?

    If I, as an online journalist or blogger, print my missives on dead trees and distribute them in some manner, does that count?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by 91degrees ( 207121 )
      If I, as an online journalist or blogger, print my missives on dead trees and distribute them in some manner, does that count?

      It helps.

      Helps even more if you have more than one person responsible for the publication. Larger circulation is also a factor. Not quite sure why this sort of thing should matter but the reality is that it seems to.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Erwos ( 553607 )
        Writing under your real name is also a criteria, in my opinion, and is what sets traditional newsmedia apart from the vast majority of bloggers.
    • As a traditional journalist on paper and now on the Internet, I would say that you're a journalist if you have readers.

      I started an informal email newsletter, and whenever I had to establish my bona fides, I would say, "I have 600 readers in your field." That got me into press conferences and got people to spend time with me for interviews.

      It's a lot more impressive to have a million readers or listeners, but at the time of the American revolution, there were a lot of newspapers with 600 readers. I used to
  • by joshetc ( 955226 ) on Friday December 08, 2006 @10:02AM (#17161384)
    All the jailed journalists from countries without free speech or freedom of the press would have been jailed for what they did reguardless of the medium (classical newspaper journalist, televised, or internet)
  • by OeLeWaPpErKe ( 412765 ) on Friday December 08, 2006 @10:02AM (#17161388) Homepage
    NOT ...

    See : sted-uses-bogus-source-for.html []

    Do you think something like this stops them from falsifying news ? /iraq_revenge_attacks []

    Think again. Obviously looking at an actual live video feed in the iraqi capital will reveal a quite normal life, with markets, loads of people ... Doesn't sound like a civil war at _all_ actually. []

    hmmmmm ....
    • >Obviously looking at an actual live video feed in the iraqi capital will reveal a quite normal life

      People are resilient, but check what is happening at the city morgue, Riverbend's blog, or even the official statistics on violent incidents.
      • I have to agree that there *is* a problem. However, look at our newspapers.

        You'd say it's a full-scale battlefield (especially "sadr city") with corpses everywhere, no functioning city etc.

        In reality ... you'd find public transportation is operational.
    • Conservative figures at

      If you refuse to believe the results of the Johns Hopkins survey, check this out from their methodology section: "... many roads were not under the control of the Government of Iraq or coalition forces".

      But that was 2004, you might argue, and doesn't take into account progress since then.

      Savor, then, the implications of the fact that the head of government there met President Bush in *Jordan*. Needing to move to a foreign country to host a visiting dignitary is not
  • Here's a modest proposal. Publish lists of censored sites and then encourage many many blogs/entertainment/poker/pr0n/history/shopping sites to set links and mirroring to slip past the blocked IP addresses. Then when you go to even not very popular sites, there are links to redirects to the blocked sites and blocked information.

    It would be unstoppable if a suffient number of sites provided links.

    A 'non-icon' possibly a greyed out 'f' which otherwise was just a normal part of the text could open a list
  • Blocking slashdot? (Score:3, Informative)

    by malkavian ( 9512 ) on Friday December 08, 2006 @11:30AM (#17162492)
    Last time I was in China (admittedly 11 months ago), I could access Slashdot just fine from China (and that was mainland china; Beijing, Shanghai and Xian, as well as Hong Kong)..
  • Learning curve (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ElectricRook ( 264648 ) on Friday December 08, 2006 @12:11PM (#17162988)

    China is on a steep learning curve. They are trying to transition from a massivly centralized controlled society where everyone works for the government. To a society where indivuals are allowed to make business decisions. The old guard allows no questioning or criticism of any authority. The new world will be far different from that. The old timers are trying to hold on to their power, and the only tool they have left is censorship of dissent.

    Will censoring stop the transition? No, it will slow down the transition, and probably cause a softer and safer transition (Compared to Iraq where the opressive government suddenly ceased to exist, and sponsored anarchists are trying to take over).

    The Chinese "Old Guard" are trying to form a Facist economy (where government works in partnership with business, kind of like the US social services), and that will likely happen, I think the free economy will eventually prevail and squeeze out that Facist one. The history of Socalism/Communism is of a political machine fully funding every inefficiency to the ruin of society. The newer leaders educated in the scientific method will make decisions based on wether things work, not strictly following sanctified procedure based on the musings of a 19th century economic idealist.

  • Anytime I think of heroic journalists, I'm reminded of a Kierkegaard line from his journal:

    [I]f there is any suggestion of shooting people down, then let it be the journalists for the way in which they have used and profited by the simple classes. God knows I am not bloodthirsty...but nevertheless, I should be ready to take the responsibility upon me, in Gods name, of giving the order to fire if I could first of all make absolutely and conscientiously sure that there was not a single man standing in front of the rifles, not a single creature, who was not--a journalist. That is said of the class as a whole.

  • From the article:

    'The committee said the United States imprisoned two journalists without charge or trial -- Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein, now held for eight months in Iraq, and Al Jazeera cameraman Sami al-Haj, jailed for five years and now held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    Joshua Wolf, a freelance blogger who refused to turn over video of a 2005 protest to a U.S. federal grand jury, was also in jail.'

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury