Online speakers are attracting more attention than ever from governments across the world, for good or for ill. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), more online journalists are currently imprisoned for their speech than journalists in print, broadcast, or other media. The CPJ identified 125 journalists currently serving prison sentences, 45 percent of whom are bloggers, Web-based reporters, or online editors.
This tells us that people recognize more and more that online speakers are a powerful part of the public dialogue -- that what they say can have significant effect on society. It also tells us that some state actors are afraid of what will happen if free and open online speech continues to grow. Let's hope this is one category in which online journalists won't continue to lead in the future.
Hat tip to Slashdot for linking to the CPJ story.
(Matt C. Sanchez is a third-year law student at Harvard Law School and the CMLP's Legal Threats Editor.)