What is Threatened Voices?

This website is a project of Global Voices Advocacy to map instances where bloggers and online writers have been threatened, arrested, killed, or disappeared by authorities since 2000 (where our database begins) until today. The project was conceived and coordinated by Global Voices Advocacy founding Director, Sami Ben Gharbia.

We call on everyone to submit information about new arrests, threats and online campaigns supporting oppressed bloggers, as well as help us keep our database current by sending us updates. All submitted information will be reviewed before publication.

Never before have so many bloggers been imprisoned. To learn more about the background for this website, and the increase in arrests of bloggers read this article by Sami ben Gharbia (himself a "threatened" blogger).

How to use this website

The dynamic map on the homepage is connected to the timeline beneath it.

By country: By default the map displays all types of cases recorded since the year 2000 until today, sorted by country. The size of each red dot corresponds to the number of cases we're tracking in that country. Click on a country's red dot to see a list of bloggers that have been threatened or arrested there.

Timeline: By dragging the timeline under the map to the left or right (drag the day line to move slowly, or the month line to move quickly) you can change the timeframe being displayed by the map. For instance, you could scroll back to the Iran election protests in the summer of 2009, or to the Beijing Olympics in the summer of 2008 to see whether bloggers were arrested in China or Iran. You can also use the buttons to jump in time.

By status: By clicking the checkboxes beneath the map (threatened, arrested, deceased, unknown) you can filter the map to display individual cases of that status. When more than one checkbox is selected, the map will update automatically to show individual cases from all selected statuses. As with country sorting the timeline below will control what cases are visible. Drag the timeline by day or month to see cases occurring at those times.

Profiles: Via the map and timeline you will discover the names of bloggers in the database. You can click on their names to visit their case profiles. On these pages you will find:

- a brief summary of the blogger's story
- web links to recent news or organization reports
- link and logo of campaigns to support their freedom
- a field for you to submit new information

Statistics: Our database is not exhaustive. There may be cases we are not aware of. The "Top 10 Countries" block shows a percentage bar graph for each country that has incidents reported on this website.

Submit a report: Threatened Voices relies on crowd-sourced information, and is powered by volunteers. Help us by submitting a report on any new or existing blogger mentioned on this website.

Status definitions

These are the categories in use on this website along with their corresponding definitions.

Arrested - imprisoned or detained by authorities
Released - was imprisoned or detained, but has been released
Threatened - has received written, verbal, physical or legal threats from authorities
Deceased - has died as a result of actions by authorities
Unknown - whereabouts are currently unknown

What do you mean by "blogger"?

The lines are blurred when it comes to defining who is a 'blogger', 'journalist', or 'online activist'. On Threatened Voices we focus on people who have been silenced by their authorities for what they have communicated online, no matter whether it was in a blog, online forum, Facebook, Twitter, or what the individual does for a living. Sometimes well-known bloggers are arrested for reasons that have little to do with their online activities. When this is the case, we reflect it in their case profile information.

Is a blogger you know under arrest?

One of our goals with this website is to bring all the online campaigns to help free bloggers together in one place. We want to make it easier for activists, journalists, and human rights organizations to get up-to-date information about a blogger in distress.

Most online campaigns to free or support threatened or arrested bloggers have been created by ordinary citizens, rather than human rights or trade organizations. If someone you know has been arrested, feel free to ask us for advice. You can also visit the campaign websites Free Adnan & Emin, Free Hoder and Free Ayyash & Madgy.

For more ideas on how to create your own campaign for a threatened or arrested blogger, take a look at our guide, Blog for a Cause!.


Threatened Bloggers is coordinated by Sami Ben Gharbia, Global Voices Advocacy Director.

The credit for technical development of this platform go to our friends Dan Braghis from Moldova and Gleb Kanunnikau from Belarus, and additional design work by Jeremy Clarke in Canada. Solana Larsen in New York helped write text for the site.

Most of the content published on this website was produced by Global Voices and Global Voices Advocacy teams, composed mainly of volunteer authors who write about online free speech issues in their countries.

Simon Columbus, Jillian York, and Oiwan Lam helped with writing and editing additional bogger profiles. A complete list with biographies and contact details of our team members can be found on Global Voices Advocacy.

How this website was built

This website was built in Drupal using both existing and custom-made modules. The Google Map on the homepage is powered by Nick Rabinowitz's TimeMap and Google MapIconMaker libraries.

The first version of the database content was based on an export of relevant articles from Global Voices Advocacy.

On profile pages we use Yahoo! Pipes to search externally on the web for the blogger's name, using a pre-defined list of feeds, including:

Note that alternate spellings of names (like Mohammed, Muhamed) may produce incomplete results.

An upcoming revision will secure the platform with an SSL certificate.