Enemies of the Internet

Updating older story.

March 12 was declared World Day Against Cyber Censorship. On that day, Reporters Without Borders issued a report on the Enemies of the Internet. (Read summary here.)

Not surprisingly the worst violators of free speech and expression on the Internet are Saudi Arabia, Burma, China, North Korea, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Uzbekistan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.

Internet shutdowns or major slowdowns are commonplace in periods of unrest. The Internet’s potential as a portal open to the world directly contradicts the propensity of these regimes to isolate themselves from other countries.

The RSF also has an “Under Surveillance” category for countries that are moving away from Internet freedom and toward a more controlled or censored one.

On the “Under Surveillance” list is Australia for its proposed mandatory Internet filter law.

The growing tendency of Russia to exercise control over all media outlets is now being extended to arrests of independent bloggers.

In Turkey, the government is making it clear that bloggers who discuss the Kurds or Armenians affect “the dignity of the nation” and could be subject to prosecution.

Other countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, Belarus and Thailand are also maintaining their “under surveillance” status, but will need to make more progress to avoid getting transferred into the next “Enemies of the Internet” list. Thailand, because of abuses related to the crime of “lèse-majesté”; the Emirates, because they have bolstered their filtering system; Belarus because its president has just signed a liberticidal order that will regulate the Net, and which will enter into force this summer – just a few months before the elections.

As more people depend on the Internet for their news and information, journalism organizations need to approach attacks on Internet freedom with the same force and vigor as if a government was trying to shut down a mortar and brick newspaper.

It’s all part of that freedom of speech, press and expression thing we all so love.

And dictators so hate.

And just a few other articles of interest from the RSF:

1 Comment

Filed under Censorship, Connections, Freedom of Information, Harassment, International News Coverage, Press Freedom

One response to “Enemies of the Internet

  1. Pingback: Cuban blogger profiled on NPR | Journalism, the World and the Future

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