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A cyber-dissident is a professional journalist or citizen journalist who posts news, information, or commentary on the internet that implies criticism of a government or regime.

At least two nonprofit organizations are currently working to raise awareness of the contributions of cyber-dissidents and to defend them against the human rights violations to which some of them are subjected: Global Voices Online and Reporters Without Borders. The latter has released a Handbook For Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents and maintains a roster of currently imprisoned cyber-dissidents. The Committee to Protect Bloggers has been created [1]

In regions where print and broadcast media are tightly controlled, anonymous online postings by cyber-dissidents may be the only source of information about the experiences, feelings, and opinions of ordinary citizens. This advantage may be offset by the difficulty in assessing the good faith and accuracy of reports originating from anonymous sources.

Cyber-dissidents appears in the dystopic theatrical play Fahrenheit 56K about a fictional dictatorship where dissidents expose their wailings against the Party through Internet.


Persecution of Cyber-Dissidents


In 2006, several bloggers in Egypt were arrested for allegedly defaming the president Hosni Mubarak and expressing critical views about Islam [1]


In 2005, Mohamad Reza Nasab Abdolahi was imprisoned for publishing an open letter to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei; Mohamad's pregnant wife and other bloggers who commented on Mohamad's treatment were also imprisoned. [2]


When Russian president Vladimir Putin in 2006 called on his nation's women to have more children, journalist Vladimir Rakhmankov published a satiric article on the Internet calling Putin "the nation's phallic symbol". Rakhmankov was found guilty of offending Vladimir Putin, and fined by the court of the region he lived in to the sum equal of 680 USD. The overall story served as a good adversiting for Rakhmanov's article, that was republished by numerous Russian sources afterwards. [2] [3] [4] [5]

Three Russian bloggers has supposed in 2003, that Russian state security service FSB, the main successor to the KGB, created special teams of people who appear on various blogs to harass and intimidate political bloggers and thus effectively prevent free discussion of undesirable subjects [6] They referred to such tactics are known as "active measures". A Russian criticist of this theory has noted in 2003, that security services have more important tasks than flooding in forums. [7]


The Digital Freedom Network has pointed out cases of imprisoning cyber-dissidents in Vietnam, such as the 2004 case of Pham Que Dong, a former People's Army colonel, military historian who had quit the Communist Party in 1999. For publicly discussing issues related to corruption in the official structures and encouraging democratic reforms, he was charged with "abuse of democratic freedoms" and imprisoned.[8]


  1. ^ Egypt arrests another blog critic, BBC News, 20th November 2006. Retrieved on 29th November 2006.
  2. ^ Connor, A. (2005), Not just critics, BBC News, 20th June 2005. Retrieved on 29th November 2006.
  3. ^ Russia: 'Phallic' Case Threatens Internet Freedom
  4. ^ U.S. Media Watchdog Criticizes Russia
  5. ^ Media freedom watchdog condemns conviction of journalist in Russia
  6. ^ FSB brigades in the Internet (Russian)
  7. ^ Conspiracy theory, by Alexander Yusupovskiy, Russian Journal, 25 April 2003
  8. ^ Digital Freedom Network July 30, 2004: Vietnam's Human Rights Situation by Alicia Burns

See also

External links

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