The Bible says "the truth shall set you free." But for many governments around the world, the truth is the last thing they want their citizens to know.
Just this week, reports emerged from the Philippines of a new law intended to combat cyber-crime and exploitative online sex businesses – which also just happens to have a clause that means anyone who retweets or "likes" a post deemed libellous could get sent to prison for 12 years. Needless to say, accusing government officials of corruption or other crimes could easily be considered "libel".
The truth is that governments across the world are coming up with ever more repressive ways of keeping the people in the dark. According to Freedom House's 2012 Freedom of the Press report, only 14.5% of the world’s inhabitants live in countries with a free press, 45% have a partly free press and 40.5% live in countries rated not free.
Here's just a sampling of other recent moves to punish and prevent those who try to tell the truth:
Human rights journalists are becoming an endangered species. As the Daily Beast reports, threats, intimidation and murder have decimated the ranks of those who report on corruption and human rights abuses.
Mam Sonando, a 71-year-old radio station owner who has been reporting on unrest in a south-western province of the country, has just been handed a 20-year sentence for "insurrection." Sonando has twice before been arrested for "defaming" prime minister Hun Sen.
Khadija Ismayilova, a well-known Azerbaijani journalist, opened an envelope she'd been sent. Inside were photographs of her having sex in her home, taken by hidden cameras that had been placed in her apartment – plus a note saying she'd be publicly "shamed" if she didn't drop her reporting on corruption involving the family of President Ilham Aliyev. When Ismayilova went public with the story, a sex video of her was posted on the internet.
The government of President Alexander Lukashenko decided the best way to prevent his people from getting information he doesn't want them to have is to forbid them to browse foreign websites. Yes, in Belarus, accessing the worldwide web is a crime.
Read more: Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Barometer details who's doing what to keep the truth hidden.