Reporters Without Borders updates "Enemies of the Internet" list
As governments including Egypt and Cameroon make headlines for shutting down Internet access, Reporters Without Borders issued a new report detailing other countries where access is at risk.
The report was issued in conjunction with the World Day Against Cyber-Censorship. Reporters Without Borders issued an updated list of governments from Australia to Uzbekistan that are restricting or censoring the Internet.
The current list of “Enemies of the Internet” includes: Burma, China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. Burma, for example, made the list after the government took drastic measures in 2010 to reorganize the country's Internet and to arm itself with the means to cut off its population's web access without affecting official connections.
A list of "Countries under Surveillance" includes Australia, Bahrain, Belarus, Egypt, Eritrea, France, Libya, Malaysia, Russia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. Australia is on the list because the government has not abandoned its dangerous plan to filter online traffic, even though this will be hard to get parliamentary approval.
“One in three of the world’s Internet users does not have access to an unrestricted Internet,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard said. “Around 60 countries censor the Internet to varying degrees and harass netizens. At least 119 people are currently in prison just for using the Internet to express their views freely. These are disturbing figures."
The potential of the Internet to spread information scares governments and makes traditional censorship less effective. In many countries, officials are trying to use the Internet to spread official propaganda and increase control over citizens.
For example, the President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez announced on TV that "the Internet cannot be something open where anything can be done and said. No, every country has to impose its rules and regulations."
The complete report is available in PDF here.
A version of this story first appeared in IJNet's Russian edition