Eritrea has become the world's worst nation in terms of censorship, according to a new report by a press watchdog, surpassing the long-time leading nation of the list, North Korea. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Wednesday released the list of the world's top ten most censored countries, putting Eritrea on top followed by North Korea, Syria then Iran. "In the name of stability or development these regimes suppress independent reporting, amplify propaganda and use technology to control rather than empower their own citizens," CPJ executive director, Joel Simon said. "Journalists are seen as a threat and often pay high price for the reporting" he said adding "but because the internet and trade have made information global domestic censorship affects people every where".
Foreign journalists have log been denied access to Eritrea. The state government remains in control of the media. At least 25 Eritrean journalists remain detained languishing in prisons indefinitely without charges pressed against them. For those journalists remaining in Eritrea, straying from the party line can lead to a lengthy prison sentence. "Every time a journalist had to write a story they arrange for interview subjects and tell you specific angles you have to write on" CPJ quoted an anonymous Eritrean journalist as saying.
Marking World Press Freedom Day, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) called for the release of all journalists facing detention for their journalistic work. IFG general secretary, Beth Costa, urged world governments to respect international obligations and commit to enforcing journalists rights, further urging them to make the release of all jailed journalists their top priority. Equatorial Guinea, Uzbekistan, Burma, Saudi Arabia, Cuba and Belarus are also listed on the top ten most censored nations of the world, CPJ revealed.
The same sentiment was expressed by Reporters Without Borders (RWB), which described Eritrea as "Africa's biggest jail for the media". It claims 30 journalists are currently in detention there. It also claims that since the start of 2012, one Eritrean news provider has been killed every five days. RWB describe the content produced by the Eritrean state media as "worthy of the Soviet era."
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