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10 countries cited for extreme media censorship: watchdog

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Eritrea is the world’s worst country for press censorship, a media watchdog said Tuesday in a report which also cites extreme measures in nine other countries including North Korea, China and Saudi Arabia.

Under the three worst regimes — Eritrea, North Korea, and Turkmenistan — the media “serves as a mouthpiece of the state, and any independent journalism is conducted from exile,” said a report by the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

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Other countries on the list of the 10 worst regimes for media “use a combination of blunt tactics like harassment and arbitrary detention as well as sophisticated surveillance and targeted hacking to silence the independent press,” the report said.

Saudi Arabia, China, Vietnam, and Iran were cited for “jailing and harassing journalists and their families, while also engaging in digital monitoring and censorship of the internet and social media,” the group said.

The rankings were based on factors including restrictions on privately owned or independent media; criminal defamation laws; restrictions on the dissemination of false news; blocking of websites; surveillance of journalists by authorities; license requirements for media; and targeted hacking or trolling.

“The internet was supposed to make censorship obsolete, but that hasn’t happened,” said CPJ executive director Joel Simon.

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“Many of the world’s most censored countries are highly wired, with active online communities. These governments combine old-style brutality with new technology, often purchased from Western companies, to stifle dissent and control the media.”

The report covers 10 countries where the government tightly controls the media, including Equatorial Guinea, Belarus, and Cuba.

It noted that in other countries including war-ravaged nations such as Syria, Yemen, and Somalia, conditions for the media are “extremely difficult, but not necessarily attributable solely to government censorship.”

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In Eritrea, the report noted, the state retains a legal monopoly of broadcast media and journalists’ alternative sources of information, such as the internet or satellite broadcasts of radio stations in exile, are restricted via government-controlled internet services.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has stepped up the use of radio signal blockers and advanced radio detection equipment to prevent people from sharing information, CPJ said.

The group said Saudi Arabia’s already-repressive environment for the press has “suffered sharp deterioration” under de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to the report.

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China has the most sophisticated censorship apparatus, according to CPJ, which noted that Chinese internet users are blocked by the “Great Firewall” and that authorities monitor domestic social media networks and conduct surveillance of international journalists.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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‘You can smell the corruption’: MSNBC’s Morning Joe burns Nikki Haley for selling her soul to take Pence’s job

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough offered a warning to his old pal, Vice President Mike Pence: Watch out, because Nikki Haley wants your job.

The former South Carolina governor and UN ambassador has been making the rounds promoting a new book -- and praising President Donald Trump as truthful and competent, and the "Morning Joe" host said there's only one explanation for Haley squandering her reputation before the 2024 election.

"I have one word for Mike Pence, my friend -- duck," Scarborough said. "I mean, Nikki Haley, unless she wanted the job, would not -- would not so besmirch her own reputation. She just said she had no question as to Donald Trump's fitness for the job."

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Trump administration officials ‘ducking for cover’ as search for Anonymous author roils White House

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According to Politico, the Trump administration is putting on an unconcerned face about the release of "A Warning" by the anonymous New York Times op-ed writer, insisting that the passages revealed so far from the book do not expose anything new about the goings-on in the White House.

Nevertheless, wrote Daniel Lippman, the book has produced a headache for the White House: a redoubled effort by reporters and political observers to deduce who exactly "anonymous" is.

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CNN’s John Berman tears apart leaked GOP anti-impeachment talking points piece by piece

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CNN's John Berman on Tuesday tore apart Republicans' new anti-impeachment talking points and expressed astonishment that this was the best they could come up with to defend President Donald Trump.

Referring to talking points first reported by Axios, Berman went over the GOP's arguments line by line and showed why they are unlikely to convince anyone of the president's innocence.

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