Based on the recent release of “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012,” it has indicated that freedom of the media under increasing threat in 2012.
According to Acting Assistant Secretary Uzra Zeya for Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor reports that in a special record, numbers of journalists were killed in the line of duty or as a consequence of their reporting in 2012.
She reports that a number of governments took steps to stifle the press through the use of overly broad counterterrorism laws, burdensome regulatory requirements, and harassment or imprisonment of journalists.
To cite an example, in Ethiopia, Eskinder Nega remains behind bars, and Calixto Ramon Martinez Arias spent six months in a Cuban prison for writing about a cholera outbreak.
She notes some governments specifically targeted freedom of expression on the internet through new restrictive legislation, denial of service attacks, and the harassment of online bloggers, journalists, and activists.
In addition, In Egypt, blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah has been repeatedly arrested and harassed by the government.
Press freedom under threat?
Reports say press freedom continued to face obstacles and repression in many parts of the world.
According to Freedom House, China has sophisticated system of media repression through arrests and censorship.
In addition, authoritarian powers particularly Russia, Iran, and Venezuela used varied echniques to maintain a tight grip on the media, arresting some press critics, shutting down media outlets and blogs.
Study shows that press has fallen to its lowest level in over a decade.
In 2003, 42 journalists lost their lives pursuing their profession, according to Reporters Without Borders reports that.
In the same year, at least 130 journalists were in prison as a result of their journalistic activities.
In 2005, 63 journalists were killed worldwide.
Internet freedom under threat too!
US says internet freedom is increasingly under threat.
Repressive regimes understand the power of this technology, and they are redoubling their attempts to control it.
Internet freedom derives from universal and cherished rights, the freedoms of speech, assembly, and association and is based on the concept that the same rights that apply offline apply in new online environments.
US notes that an open and accessible Internet gives people a platform from which to express their aspirations and shape their own destiny.
US believes people in every country deserve to be able to take part in building a more peaceful, prosperous, and democratic society.
In the 21st century, technology is a powerful tool with which to exercise human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The Internet, mobile phone networks, and other new technologies have a profound effect on the ability of citizen movements around the world to organize themselves in this era.
Repressive governments used to set up simple firewalls at Internet Exchange Points to block external content from outside their borders.
In addition, some stated are using sophisticated software to monitor all digital activity within their countries, and to delete posts and block emails in something approaching real time.
Some countries are using tracking what their citizens do on their phones and computers and exerting state control over content, over users, over companies, and over the infrastructure of the Internet.
Earlier in 2012, the U.S. said it was committed to advance internet freedom, and in late October, made internet freedom a foreign policy priority. At that time, in a presentation at the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership, Assistant Secretary Michael H. Posner said the U.S. Congress had allocated $70 million to the U.S. State Department, to fund technology, training and policy advocacy for Internet freedom around the world.
Human rights are central to America’s global diplomatic
The United States highly indicated that human rights are central to America’s global diplomatic engagement.
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices are the factual foundation upon which US builds and shapes its policies.
Human rights are on the agenda in all its bilateral relations, such as during the recent U.S.-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue where US government urged the release of all political prisoners including Le Quoc Quan, Dr. Vu and others.
The US advocates on behalf of those imprisoned for their activism or beliefs, including Chinese Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo and human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng and Pastor Saeed Abedini in Iran, among many others all over the world.
Annual Human Rights Reports essential to US Diplomacy around the world
The Reports is used to inform US diplomacy around the world and give the world a quick overview of some of the major developments it describes over the past year.
The individual reports stand alone and they speak for themselves.
The Report will shed light on human rights conditions around the world as well. The US government is committed to working with governments and civil society to stop abuses and support universal rights for all.