Freedom on the Net 2011
Type of work: Report
Categories:Human Rights | Policy & Regulation
Cyberattacks, politically motivated censorship, and government control over internet infrastructure are among the diverse and growing threats to Internet freedom. These encroachments on internet freedom come at a time of explosive growth in the number of internet users worldwide, which has doubled over the past five years. Governments are responding to the increased influence of the new medium by seeking to control online activity, restricting the free flow of information, and otherwise infringing on the rights of users.
The study identifies key trends in internet freedom in 37 countries. It also found that Estonia had the greatest degree of internet freedom among the countries examined, while the United States ranked second. Iran received the lowest score in the analysis. Eleven other countries received a ranking of Not Free, including Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, and Thailand.
A total of 9 of the 15 countries in the original pilot study registered declines over the past two years. Conditions in at least half of the newly added countries similarly indicated a negative trajectory. Crackdowns on bloggers, increased censorship, and targeted cyberattacks often coincided with broader political turmoil, including controversial elections.
Countries at Risk: As part of its analysis, Freedom House identified a number of important countries that are seen as particularly vulnerable to deterioration in the coming 12 months: Jordan, Russia, Thailand, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.