How can online journalists be protected?

In today's digital news environment, independent Internet journalists - who often lack legal support or political connections - are often more vulnerable than those who work for news organizations.

According to a census of imprisoned journalists conducted recently by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), more Internet journalists are jailed worldwide today than journalists working in any other medium.

In fact, 45 percent of all media workers jailed worldwide are bloggers, Web-based reporters or online editors, according to CPJ. In most cases, governments used a variety of charges unrelated to journalism to retaliate against critical reporting, the report said.

Given the rising influence of online reporting and commentary, how can online journalists be protected? Can online journalists meet the demand for online news without endangering themselves?

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Well couldn't agree more with

Well couldn't agree more with other's comments. In Iraq, reporters who work for news websites would be treated with disrespect and sarcasm, soldiers, officers, even the officialls, would only pay attention to those who work for newspapers and TV news channels. As a reporter who works for a website, its very hard to be informed if there is officialls press conference that is about to be set. While other reporters, who would be more well heared and viewed, would have a great access, plus the good treatment from all, even from the lowest-ranking soldiers who would be guarding a checkpoint. Myself was banned from taking pictures, so many times, even if I was trying to take a picture for Baghdad's sidewalks, thats could get me a day or two in jail if I had no good connections, finally, I would use a sentence that was said by some reporter I know " carrying AK47 in Baghdad, is alot easier than carrying a camera" thank you for bringing that up.





In country with political

In country with political difficulty, economic difficulty and other various prettily collapsed status, online joirnalists have not safe. Poor government will watch full time with their men at internet cafe with big doubt. In such country internet are not safe at all with all-time watch. This country is....for example, Myanmar,my pretty country.


The offer of security for

The offer of security for online journalists can be achieved, but segmentally. Consider a country like Nigeria where the Freedom of Information Bill (FOIB) (the oldest bill on the floor of The Federal House of Representatives) is yet to be passed, protection for newsmen and women, newspaper correspondents,etc, is far from encouraging, protecting online journalists will be much more difficult here. I think the legalities of being a journalists should cover them fully.

Online journalists are doing a good job. The rules of their work can also be spelt out in line with rules guiding the use of the internet so that they operate more flexibly.

Internet reporters of Karelia

Internet reporters of Karelia in the North-Western part of Russia created an NGO to protect their rights. It happened recently at a meeting, initiated by the local union of journalists. 14 journalists, present at the discussion, spoke about their personal experience. They are worried that Internet editions are not protected legally, and are constantly facing conflict situations. A special discussion was devoted to blogging as a new type of journalism. Members of the newly established NGO agreed to act together in urgent cases and invite colleagues to join.

It's no surprise that

It's no surprise that Web-based reporters are suffering more in repressive media environments, because often they are the ones doing the most courageous and independent reporters. Journalism on the Web is harder for repressive governments to control than journalism in traditional media, so those governments put a heavy penalty on courageous digital journalists who break stories the government doesn't want to see in the public eye. Look at Egypt, where Web-based journalists have broken important stories that mainstream media have not been able to report -- or that mainstream media report only after they've already been broken on the Web. Legal assistance is one huge need, and training in how to report safely is another. That training should be provided by the digital journalists working in places like Egypt -- they are the ones who understand the issues best.

This is a great topic. I

This is a great topic. I think this problem will only grow bigger as traditional news outlets -- which bring journalists credibility and legal protection -- shrink and citizen journalists subsequently fill the void for investigative reporting.

One possible solution could be an awareness of media lawyers to the problem. Investigative journalism has increasingly been supported by organizations like ICFJ. We saw a need for better in-depth nternational reports that connect with local audiences and so we created the World Affairs Fellowships ( I wouldn't be surprised if innovative law firms with a philanthropic eye started to do the same for unjustly persecuted citizen journalists. They deserve it.

Dawn Arteaga – Communications Director
T 202.349.7624, F 202.737.0530,

International Center
for Journalists
Advancing Quality Journalism Worldwide

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