More bloggers than ever face arrest for exposing human rights abuses or criticising governments, says a report.
In 2007 three times as many people were arrested for blogging about political issues than in 2006, it revealed.
More than half of all the arrests since 2003 have been made in China, Egypt and Iran, said the report.
Arrested bloggers exposed corruption in government, abuse of human rights or suppression of protests. They criticised public policies and took political figures to task.
Jail time followed arrest for many bloggers, said the report, which found that the average prison sentence for blogging was 15 months. The longest sentence found by the WIA was eight years.
The report pointed out that it is not just governments in the Middle East and East Asia that have taken steps against those publishing their opinions online. In the last four years, British, French, Canadian and American bloggers have also been arrested.