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Document of the Day: The World’s 10 Most Censored Countries

The Committee to Protect Journalists has released its latest ranking of the world’s most censored countries, with Eritrea coming in at number one. This Top 10 list is based on CPJ’s research into tactics to muzzle independent reporting, which range from imprisonment to surveillance and restrictions on internet access.

The list’s top two countries, Eritrea and North Korea, have remain unchanged since CPJ’s last ranking in 2015. In third place is Turkmenistan — a new entry that didn’t even make the top 10 last time. In these three countries, notes CPJ’s report, “the media serves as a mouthpiece of the state, and any independent journalism is conducted from exile. The few foreign journalists permitted to enter are closely monitored.”

Meanwhile, other countries on the list use a mix of traditional intimidation tactics and more high-tech ones, like surveillance and hacking.

Here are the top 10 offenders:

1. Eritrea
2. North Korea
3. Turkmenistan
4. Saudi Arabia
5. China
6. Vietnam
7. Iran
8. Equatorial Guinea
9. Belarus
10. Cuba

Note that the list only addresses countries where the government tightly controls the media. It thus leaves out countries like Syria, Yemen, or Somalia, where conditions for journalists are extremely difficult but “not necessarily attributable solely to government censorship,” since conflict and other factors come into play.

Read CPJ’s full report here.

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