According to Wikipedia, the term “internet censorship” is defined as “the control or suppression of the publishing of, or access to, information on the Internet.” Internet censorship is implemented by national governments or private organizations – delegated by governmental influences – for several reasons, with emphasis on religion, moral issues and unlawful business schemes.
Enemies of the Internet List
Reporters without Borders (or “RWB”) is a French, non-profit organization that advocates freedom of information and press. This organization has compiled a list of countries that are deemed “Internet enemies” due to their methods of cyber censorship. The flagged nations are Armenia, Bahrain, Belarus, Burma, People’s Republic of China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
In 2009, Belarus was added to the “Enemies of the Internet” list, was subsequently removed, and was added again in 2012. In 2011, Egypt was added to the “Enemies of the Internet” list. In 2012, Tunisia was added to the list after being removed in 2011. Egypt was also removed in 2011 and was added again in 2012. The small kingdom of Bahrain was also added to the list in 2012.
Countries under Surveillance
The RWB further compiled an “Under Surveillance” list. Nations under this category are considered to give cause for concern about the possibility of increased Internet censorship. The current list spans the following countries: Australia, Egypt, Eritrea, France, India, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Russia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
The “Countries under Surveillance” list, introduced in 2008, listed 10 nations which used surveillance on users’ Internet activities or otherwise impeded people’s rights, without blocking massive amounts of information. Between 2008 and 2012 the number of countries listed grew to 16 but subsequently fell to 14. Jordan in 2009, Tajikistan in 2009, and Yemen in 2010 were dropped from the list.
Australia in 2009, France in 2011, Russia in 2010, South Korea in 2009, Turkey in 2010 were added.
Bahrain, Eritrea, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka dropped from the list in 2010, but were added again in
2011. Libya dropped from the list in 2009, added again in 2011, and then dropped in 2012. Venezuela was added in 2011 and then dropped in 2012.
Internet Freedom Setbacks
Azerbaijan, Libya, Malaysia, Pakistan, Rwanda, Russia, and Sri Lanka are seven nations that are at particular risk of suffering Internet freedom setbacks in 2013. These nations are relatively free of government interference and censorship on the Internet for their citizens; however, they also maintain separate governments either known to be a) repressive of freedom of the press in traditional forms of media, or b) they have recently introduced laws that significantly affect online freedoms of expression in negative ways for their citizens.
There are two ways to address internet censorship. The first is to change an IP address to an address under a non-censored nation. The second is to access a search engine website that acts as a host by displaying all results through their site. Governmental censorship reduces freedom of expression, while simultaneously revoking basic, human rights. For more information on this cyber suppressive trend, refer to the Internet Censorship infographic found below.