New media can help fight repression: watchdog group

An increase in online journalists and freelancers has made the press more vulnerable to repression, but new media are also helping raise awareness about such attacks, a watchdog group said on Tuesday. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in its annual report, released at a Tokyo news conference, that freelancers and local reporters faced more risk of attack from dictators, repressive governments and militant groups because they did not have media organizations to back them. But blogs, social networking sites and other new forms of media have also helped fight censorship, although there were exceptions such as in China. E-mail alerts, Facebook petitions and blog posts helped raise the visibility of imprisoned journalists in Iran after crackdowns on the media in the aftermath of a disputed presidential election last June, CPJ said. That international pressure helped in the release of high-profile journalists such as Newsweek correspondent Maziar Bahari and freelancer Roxana Saberi. But advocates of media freedom faced obstacles in China, where CPJ said tight online censorship hindered access to information on infringements


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