First published at Journalism, Journalists and the World.
Nice little piece in the Economist on the 21st about how and why its issues get censored or banned around the world.
As the article points out, at first it looks as if India is the #1 baddie when it comes to censorship. But it appears that the main concern is how the Economist depicts Kashmir.
Now our friends in China are a real piece of work.
China is more proscriptive. Distributors destroy copies or remove articles that contain contentious political content, and maps of Taiwan are usually blacked out.
I remember when Chinese would come up to me in Beijing and Shanghai and ask me to buy them a copy of TIME or the ECONOMIST in the Western hotels. Seems those were the only places such “subversive” publications were available.
Now more items are available but not always.
And is anyone surprised that four Arab Gulf countries are on this list?
Or that Sri Lanka and Libya are near the top?
What is surprising to me is that Venezuela is not on the list. Or Cuba.
Once I looked over the comments on the article I got depressed. While there were a few enlightened comments such as one from Russell_B who wrote:
Freedomhouse reported in its ‘worst of the worst-2010′ that there is a U-turn in the global human rights conditions after 30 years.
But others showed their “national pride” by criticizing the Economist for their report. Shetz wrote:
Is it not ironical that none of the rich nations figure in this list. All the countries listed are Asian. Is Economist all about Asia bashing?
I am happy that India respects it’s territorial rights.
The bottom line is that ANY form of censorship is wrong. Whether it is a stamp saying the government doesn’t agree with the maps drawn by the publication (India and China), the removal of articles that are “too sensitive” (China) or the outright confiscation of issues before they get to the newsstands. (Way too many.)