Freedom Of Speech: Inextricable And Part Of A Strong Democracy

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Freedom Of Speech
The freedom to express ourselves and speak our minds is an inextricable and part of a strong democracy. When you have a government directed by its citizens, it is critical that those citizens be engaged and informed. It is equally important that citizens have the freedom and the avenue to challenge the government and its representatives, discuss key issues and be absolutely assured that their voices are heard.
Newspapers, social media and the internet provide that avenue and self-expression. We recognise the importance of publishing a diversity of view-points, as we only grow as a country and effectively address difficult issues if a variety of expertise, facts and opinions are shared.
Repressive nations threaten jail terms,
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Thirty-two of China's 44 jailed journalists worked online.
In Azerbaijan (fifth most censored), criminal defamation laws have been extended to social media and carry a six-month prison sentence. Iran, the seventh most censored country, has one of the toughest Internet censorship regimes worldwide, with millions of websites blocked; it is also the second worst jailer of journalists, with 30 behind bars.
Government harassment is a tactic used in at least five of the most censored countries, including Azerbaijan, where offices have been raided, advertisers threatened, and retaliatory charges such as drug possession levied against journalists. In Vietnam, many bloggers are put under surveillance in an attempt to prevent them from attending and reporting on news events. In Iran, journalists' relatives have been summoned by authorities and told that they could lose their jobs and pensions because of the journalists' work.
Restricting journalists' movements and barring foreign correspondents is also a common tactic used by censoring governments. In Eritrea, the last remaining accredited international reporter was expelled in
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