A thick skin is a necessary prerequisite for every successful politician, at least in democratic societies. Love them or hate them, political satirists like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are symbols of the deep-seated respect for freedom of opinion in the United States (as well as Americans’ love of a public roasting). In nondemocratic parts of the world, however, politicians are much less willing to become the butt of the joke.
The Egyptian public and the international community were shocked last week by televised images of civilian Hamada Saber being dragged, stripped, and brutally beaten by police officers amid ongoing clashes between police and protesters in Cairo.
Freedom House is alarmed by the ongoing crackdown on the media in Honduras; on February 5, journalist Cesar Silva and cameraman Samuel Aguilera from the television station Globo TV were attacked by participants of a transportation protest that they were reporting on near the presidential palace in Tegucigalpa. Authorities must conduct a thorough investigation into the attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Freedom House condemns the attack on Peruvian journalist Juan Carlos Yaya Salcedo after he exposed government irregularities in the municipal of Nuevo Imperial through his reporting, and calls for a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding his attack and for authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.
With the upcoming presidential elections in Iran on 14 June 2013, the international community—particularly election monitors and free expression activists—should be very worried about the plight of Iran’s netizens. They rely heavily on circumvention tools, such as virtual private networks (VPNs) and proxy websites, to access the tens of thousands of websites blocked by Iran’s centralized filtering system, but observers say this practice is not keeping pace with Iran’s expanding capability for online repression.