February 21, 2012 | By Jillian York

This Week in Censorship: Syrian and Iranian Bloggers Under Threat, CPJ Calls for an Anti-Censorship Coalition

Iranian netizen under immedate threat of execution

According to a report from Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Saeed Malekpour, the 36-year-old web and circumvention tool developer who in January was sentenced to death, is now under threat of immedate execution. In the report, RSF writes: "The family of Saeed Malekpour [has reported] that his sentence order has been sent to the office responsible for carrying out sentences, which means that he could [be] executed at any time during the coming hours or days." Malekpour is currently in solitary confinement in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison.

EFF is extremely concerned for Malekpour. We stand with the scores of human rights and freedom of expression advocates in condemning his sentence issued by the Iranian state and urge Iran to reconsider Malekpour's sentence.

Syrian blogger released, others remain imprisoned

As we reported last week, more than a dozen Syrian human rights activists were arrested on January 16 during a raid on the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression. Among them were bloggers Razan Ghazzawi (who was conditionally released on February 18) and Hussein Ghrer, both of whom were imprisoned in 2011 without trial. Ghrer remains in prison.

EFF condemns the Syrian state for these attacks on free expression, and calls for the immediate release of those arrested in the raid. We renew our call on the international community to take notice of these alarming events unfolding in Syria, and to demand the Syrian authorities to end their campaign of repression by continuing to discuss and publicize these events on as many online venues as possible.

89 "online" journalists imprisoned all over the world

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has released their 2011 annual 'Attacks on the Press' report, detailing the global threats to press freedom.  CPJ's research documented a total of 179 journalists imprisoned as of December 1, 2011, a whopping 89 of which were "journalists whose worked appeared primarily online."

Though the entirety of the lengthy report is of interest to free expression advocates, Executive Director Joel Simon's chapter, entitled 'The Next Information Revolution: Abolishing Censorship' will be of particular interest to those concerned with digital rights. The chapter elucidates the jurisdictional concerns pertinent to the globalized nature of the Internet, highlighting the need for a "broad global coalition against censorship that brings together governments, the business community, civil society organizations, and the media" to ensure that freedom of information is respected in practice.

The report can be read online, downloaded [pdf] from CPJ's website, or purchased in book form.

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