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This article was published on November 3, 2009

Let them be heard!

Let them be heard!
Amalia Agathou
Story by

Amalia Agathou

Amalia Agathou is the Community Director for The Next Web. She's studied Information and Communication Systems Engineering and has shared he Amalia Agathou is the Community Director for The Next Web. She's studied Information and Communication Systems Engineering and has shared her time between the startup and fashion scene. She has worked as an editor for The Next Web, House& Garden and Glamour magazine. Follow her on Twitter

Picture 1The internet has given everyone a voice and has helped ordinary people speak out about their problems and become an even stronger part of the political process.

The most recent and impressive example of how internet and particularly social networking services, like Twitter and Facebook, have played a key role in the world political scene is the 2009 Iran elections and the protests that followed.

As many voices were heard though, during this troubled times, that many were muffled. You may remember for instance, the case of Roxana Saberi, an Iranian-American from North Dakota working as a journalist in Iran, was sentenced to eight years in prison by the Iranian government, and was finally released after a big web campaign.

Today hundreds of bloggers and online writers are threatened or imprisoned, for using the internet to express their opinions freely and communicate to others the status quo in their country. According to a 2008 report by Committee to Protect Journalists, online journalists and bloggers represent 45% of all media workers in prison worldwide. To help make a change Global Voices Advocacy , a community of more than 200 bloggers and translators who gather information with focus on free speech and human rights abuses, today lunches it’s project Threatened Voices.

Threatened Voices is a collaborative mapping project of bloggers who have been threatened, arrested or killed, which aims to help track suppression of free speech online and draw attention to the campaigns to free them. The site features a world map and an interactive timeline that help visualize the story of threats and arrests against bloggers worldwide. Threatened Voices gathers information from well known organizations and activists, like the Committee to Protect Bloggers, the Reporters without Borders, the Amnesty International, and the Committee to Protect Journalists, but also gives the user the potential to file his own report.

The site currently tracks 177 cases, which you can filter by country, most of them (33) in China. The profiles of the missing or under arrest bloggers feature links to their blog, the campaign dedicated to free them, as well as links to articles from trusted websites about them.  According to the statistics from the cases presented in Threatened Voices, 35,6% of them are under arrest and 45,2% are released. Help their voices be heard and increase the latter percentage, by blogging, tweeting, and updated your Facebook status about Threatened Voices!

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