NEW YORK – Cuba, Iran and China are among the 10 countries with the greatest censorship, according to a list prepared by the Committee to Protect Journalists, where Eritrea, North Korea and Saudi Arabia occupy the three top spots.
The study was prepared by the New York-headquartered organization based on research into tactics that range from imprisonment and repressive laws governing reporting to harassment of journalists and restrictions on Internet access.
In the case of Cuba, which is in 10th place on the list, the CPJ emphasized that “despite significant improvements in the past few years – such as the elimination of exit visas that had prohibited most foreign travel for decades – Cuba continues to have the most restricted climate for press freedom in the Americas.”
“The print and broadcast media are wholly controlled by the one-party Communist state, which has been in power for more than half a century and, by law, must be ‘in accordance with the goals of the socialist society,’” the report states.
According to the CPJ, the Internet has opened a certain space for critical journalism, but there continue to be all sorts of limitations imposed by the Cuban government on the Web, to which the majority of Cuban homes do not have access.
The study says that the government “continues to target critical journalists through harassment, surveillance, and short-term detentions” and it notes, among others, the case of Juliet Michelena Diaz, “a contributor to a network of local citizen journalists, (who) was imprisoned for seven months on anti-state charges after photographing an incident between residents and police in Havana.”
China occupies the eighth slot on the list, after having been among the three nations with the largest numbers of imprisoned journalists for more than a decade.
One place farther up the list from China is Iran, where the “government uses mass and arbitrary detention as a means of silencing dissent and forcing journalists into exile. Iran became the world’s leading jailer of journalists in 2009 and has ranked among the world’s worst jailers of the press every year since.”
Moreover, “Iranian authorities maintain one of the toughest Internet censorship regimes in the world, blocking millions of websites, including news and social networking sites,” the report notes.