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More bloggers than ever face arrest for exposing human rights abuses or criticising governments, says a recent University of Washington report.

Since 2003, 64 people unaffiliated with news organisations have been arrested for publishing their views on a blog, according to the 2008 World Information Access (WIA) report. And last year, three times as many people - 36 - were arrested for blogging about political issues than in 2006, the report revealed.

More than half of arrests since 2003 were made in China, Egypt and Iran, but British, French, Canadian and American bloggers have also been detained. The average prison sentence for blogging was 15 months, while the longest sentence recorded was eight years.

Arrested bloggers exposed corruption in government, abuse of human rights or suppression of protests. The report said the rising number of arrests indicates blogging's growing political importance, especially in times of political uncertainty such as around general elections or large protests.

This year, the report predicts the number of bloggers arrested will exceed 2007 numbers thanks to greater popularity of blogging as a medium, greater enforcement of net restrictions, and elections in China, Pakistan, Iran and the U.S.

Visit these links:
- WIA report: and
- BBC story:
- Ars Technica (technology news website) comment:
(2 July 2008)

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