A Free Press is not something that can be found everywhere in our world. While Journalism is something that is free in our Democratic Society in many parts of the world what a journalist or reporter can write or say is very heavily regulated and if it does not meet a certain standard that person’s voice is shut out. In some countries speaking against the controlling government can lead to arrest and maybe execution. Women in many parts of the world are discriminated against for becoming part of the press is supposed to be able to speak freely about what is happening in our communities. Free Press is a very loose term when we consider all the ways a person can be silenced. Journalism should be regarded as a very protected profession without reporters recording our history the mistakes we make today will not be seen by generations to come. The outcry of the masses will be snuffed out without the truth tellers you write blogs and record podcasts. The many levels of journalism should be preserved so that the voices of the many can be heard over the propaganda of the autocrats and corporate controllers in today’s world.
In China, at least 21 journalists are in jail – one has been there for nearly 13 years – most of them because of their involvement in the democratic movement known as the Beijing Spring of 1989. They include Wang Juntao and Chen Ziming, of the Economic Weekly. According to several accounts, the illness that Wang Juntao contracted in prison has worsened. Although some journalists were released in 1993, others have been arrested and sentenced, many of them to long prison terms.
In Turkey, where Kurdish journalists are still treated like terrorists, at least 18 have been imprisoned, often simply for mentioning Kurdistan in public. Several are reported to have been tortured.
In Myanmar at least six journalists have been detained for offending the Yangon military junta between 1988 and 1990. Two of them, Win Tin and Nay Min, are seriously ill; they have been allowed no treatment. Two other journalists have already died in the terrible Insein prison for lack of medical care.
In Cuba, where no voice other than that of the ruling Communist Party may be heard, four journalists are paying with their freedom for being dissidents. One of them, Indamiro Restano Díaz, started a 10-year sentence on 20 December 1991.
In Iraq, nine journalists are in prison, and seven of them have been there for nearly 15 years. One, Aziz Al-Syed Jasim, arrested in April 1991 for refusing to write a book about Saddam Hussein, is reported to be suffering from diabetes and heart disease.
In the Islamic Republic of Iran, at least three journalists are being held behind bars. Manouchehr Karimzadeh, of the newspaper Farad, was sentenced in October 1993 to 10 years in prison for drawing a cartoon footballer who, so the Tehran authorities claim, looked like the late Ayatollah Khomeini.
In Sudan, where three reporters are in jail, the authorities can arrest and detain any opponent for several months, at any time and without any form of trial. There are many detention centres – known as “ghost houses” – in Khartoum and the rest of the country.
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