Tag - map Internet Censorship

Freedom on the Net Report 2017 reflects a worrying increase in digital censorship

Another year has passed in the realm of digital freedom, leaving the global situation more and more precarious, especially in the context of various elections taking place throughout the world.

According to Freedom House, which surveyed 65 countries for its ‘Freedom on the Net 2017’ report (87% of the world’s Internet users), the state of the Internet freedom around the world has little cause for celebration, as this year continues to present a world where few societies give their citizens access to a free, uncensored Internet.

Thus, nearly half of the 65 countries assessed in Freedom on the Net 2017 experienced declines during the coverage period, while just 13 made progress, most of it minor. Less than one-quarter of users reside in countries where the internet is designated free, meaning there are no major obstacles to access, excessive restrictions on content, or serious violations of user rights in the form of unchecked surveillance or unjust repercussions for legitimate speech.

However, in one of the world’s leading democracies, the United States, the use of “fake news”, automated “bot” accounts, and other manipulation methods gained particular attention and caused a decline in the country’s overall Internet freedom. While the online environment in the US remained generally free, it was troubled by a proliferation of fabricated news articles, as well as aggressive harassment of many journalists, both during and after the presidential election campaign.

 

The usual suspects and some unexpected improvements

Of the 65 countries assessed, 32 have been on an overall decline since June 2016. The biggest declines took place in Ukraine, Egypt, and Turkey.

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Map of Internet Censorship [Infographic]

For most of us, internet is something we take for granted. We’ve got used to going online whenever we need to gather information, communicate with friends and family or update our social media profiles. We do it whenever we feel lonely or bored. Getting our phones out for the sake of correcting a friend, winning an argument or simply checking the latest updates of our acquaintances has become a knee jerk reaction.

There are, however, plenty of countries in which access to internet is regarded as a privilege rather than a right. For them, internet is not synonymous with freedom of speech and quick and unlimited access to exhaustive information. Their governments restrict or completely block access to torrents, file-hosting websites, social and political media and pornography, with justifications that range from combating software piracy to looking out for the well-being of their citizens, known also as state-enforced morality.

Below, you can find an infographic (click to see the entire infographic) presenting the censorship situation on 5 continents, based on several criteria, such as the restrictions they imposed on torrents, social and political media and pornography, as well as their level of censorship ranging from very low restrictions to no access at all. Read More

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