THE Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has identified 10 countries that deploy sophisticated digital censorship, surveillance alongside imprisonment and harassment to silence independent journalism.
The CPJ revealed the list of the ten most censored countries in a special report published on Tuesday.
Eritrea was ranked the first country that represses independent journalism, followed by North Korea and Turkmenistan.
Other countries that made the list of the anti-free press were Saudi Arabia, China, Vietnam, Iran, Equatorial Guinea, Belarus, and Cuba.
These tactics range from imprisonment, repressive laws to surveillance of journalists and restrictions on internet and social media access.
CPJ listed more tactics that these governments use to restrict press freedom to include the existence of criminal defamation or “false news” laws, digital and physical surveillance of journalists.
Other measurements were the blocking of news websites, restrictions on privately-owned media, exclusion of foreign correspondents, and targeted hacking or trolling campaigns.
“These countries flout international freedom of expression norms and guarantees by jailing reporters, using the state media as a mouthpiece for the regime, and forcing independent journalists into exile,” the report read.
The report mentioned that China, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Iran make use of sophisticated surveillance technology and targeted online campaigns to silence independent press.
“The internet was supposed to make censorship obsolete, but that hasn’t happened. Many of the world’s most censored countries are highly wired, with active online communities,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon
“These governments combine old-style brutality with new technology, often purchased from Western companies, to stifle dissent and control the media.
“Censorship is alive and well,” he said.