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Censoring the WEB

Posted by Harish.S at Friday, January 22, 2010

Another post regarding the censorship issues relating to the web. I have posted the problems faced by Google in china previously. Internet was introduced to enable free flow of information throughout the world and it has succeeded in doing so. But there are some countries which are prohibiting people from the right of freedom to browse by "censoring the web" .The list of top ten countries where stringent censorship exits are :

10. Pakistan

Pakistan started censoring the web in 2000, when the main target was anti-Islamic content. Over the time, it seems, they liked the possibility to control the Internet traffic, and have been increasing the scope of their censorship system ever since.

9. Burma

Burma, officially the Union of Myanmar, is a country characterized by severe human rights problems, so it would be hard to expect an open and reliable Internet adoption. It is estimated that less than 1% of its population has access to the web, and this happens via a handful of cybercafes, and always under tight surveillance.

8. Yemen

The Yemen government is very hostile to the freedom of the media in general, and the Internet is no exception. Political and social issues are always under their radar, although the digital infrastructure for the censorship here is not as advanced as in some of the other countries on our list.

7. North Korea

North Korea has managed to accomplish a really tough task given our time: they kept the Internet outside of the country borders! For a country that has no independent media at all, however, it makes sense.

6. Syria

The Syrian government admits that it automatically blocks websites with pornographic content and with politically sensitive information. In reality the situation is much worse, and many journalists from around the world consider Syria to be one of the most repressive countries as far as the Internet is concerned.

5. Cuba

The Reporters Without Borders organization considers Cuba “one of the world’s 10 most repressive countries” when it comes to online content.
The local access to the Internet is so controlled, and the punishment to dissent so severe, that they managed to create a state of self-censorship, where people don’t even try to access prohibited material out of fear.

4. United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates is one of the most connected countries in the Middle East. Despite that fact, the country tries to control heavily the flow of information on the web. Virtually any website containing ideas or information that goes against the political, moral or religious values of the country is blocked.

3. Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia introduced the Internet on its country many years after other Arab countries, exactly because they didn’t know how they would be able to control the content. Today they have a complex censorship system in place, and they even have laws criminalizing the access to websites that violate Saudi laws or Islamic values.

2. Iran

The censorship of the web in Iran started several years ago, and today they are one of the most efficient countries on this respect. The target? All non-Islamic websites, making Iran probably the country with the most extensive web censorship in the world.

1. China

If you think that The Great Wall of China was already an incredible thing, you should take a look at what critics from around the world call “The Great Firewall of China.” China has undoubtedly the most sophisticated censorship system in the world. In the past they have been able to block all sorts of unfriendly websites, and even to silence movements like the pro-Tibet protest as if they never existed.


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