A report issued today by the journalism advocacy group Reporters Without Borders (aka Reporters Sans Frontières / RSF) tracks which nations are most hostile to journalists and bloggers:
Of the 20 countries at the bottom of the index, seven are Asian (Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Laos, Vietnam, China, Burma, and North Korea), five are African (Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Somalia and Eritrea), four are in the Middle East (Syria, Iraq, Palestinian Territories and Iran), three are former Soviet republics (Belarus, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan) and one is in the Americas (Cuba).
A total of 26 bloggers and online journalists have been convicted and jailed since September 2006 for using their right to online free expression. Cases of Internet censorship are on the increase and more and more repressive governments are realising the threat that the Internet poses in the hands of pro-democracy activists. Bloggers are now being harassed as much as journalists working for the traditional media. Worldwide, 64 cyber-dissidents are currently in prison.
With its position in the ranking unchanged since last year, China continues to pursue very repressive policies towards the Internet. Five major censorship bodies, including those operated directly by the government and the Communist Party's publicity department (the former propaganda department), control the flow of news and information online.
Link. Also of note: The USA ranks 48th on this list of press (and blog) freedoms in 169 countries around the world.