Internet Censorship Around the Globe Being Used To Hide Political Corruption

Internet Censorship Around the Globe

internet censorship world map

Depending on where you live, free and open access to the information and entertainment found on the internet might seem like more of a right than a privilege. But for folks who live in some of the world’s more restrictive societies, some or even most of the internet remains tantalizingly out of reach, blocked by government censors and their firewalls.

The majority of such internet censorship is employed in the name of combating software piracy and other types of illegal file sharing (including torrents and file hosting sites such as New Zealand’s controversial Mega.co.nz). It’s interesting to note, however, that while such traffic is actively condemned by both governments and intellectual property advocates alike, corporations such as Netflix are using torrent activity to help them plan their own (legal) offerings.

Another justification for widespread censorship and monitoring of legal content (including torrents, political and social media, and yes, pornography) is state-enforced morality. Countries engaged in this sort of censorship often claim to be looking out for the welfare of their citizenry, but critics are quick to point out that the countries with the most censorship are often the same ones with a history of aggressively suppressing public protest or political unrest.

If you’re taking a trip around the world and plan on accessing the internet (including basics such as email and social media) while you’re on the road, you may need to review and adjust your itinerary if it includes heavily-censored countries such as Eritrea, China, Somalia, or the famously secretive and regulated North Korea. Torrent users — even those who rely on the embattled tech to share legitimate, legal files — might find themselves out of luck no matter where they go.

It’s not just moral or intellectual outrage that’s driving censorship, of course. With the issue of Net Neutrality dominating news in the tech sector, the specter of another form of censorship — selective or restricted access based on corporate policies, as compared to government intervention — has reared its troubling head. Regardless of the form, it’s clear that equal and open access to the internet is something no one can afford to take for granted any longer, and that the discussion of how much — if any — of the internet can or should be censored will continue far into the future.

internet censorship world map

Internet Censorship World Map

The internet, and our freedom to use it as we please, is a contentious issue. Whereas access in some countries can be unrestricted for any materials its government deign legal, in others censorship ranges from governments blocking the dissemination of political opinion, to blacklisting pornographic and social media websites.

No evidence of censorship of legal content  
‘Default On’ – content censored unless access requested  
Limited access with blocks and monitoring on many sites  
Access with heavy restrictions, censorship, and sanctions  
No access  
Country with heavy censorship Country Name

Asia

Country Social Media Pornography Political Media Torrents
Afghanistan        
Armenia        
Azerbaijan        
Bahrain        
Bangladesh        
Burma/Myanmar        
Cambodia        
China        
Cyprus        
Gaza Strip        
Georgia        
India        
Indonesia        
Iran        
Iraq        
Israel        
Japan        
Jordan        
Kazakhstan        
Korea, North        
Korea, South        
Kuwait        
Kyrgyzstan        
Laos        
Lebanon        
Malaysia        
Mongolia        
Nepal        
Oman        
Pakistan        
Philippines        
Qatar        
Saudi Arabia        
Singapore        
Sri Lanka        
Syria        
Tajikistan        
Thailand        
Tunisia        
Turkmenistan        
United Arab Emirates        
Uzbekistan        
Vietnam        
Yemen        

Africa

Country Social Media Pornography Political Media Torrents
Algeria        
Angola        
Egypt        
Eritrea        
Ethiopia        
Gambia, The        
Ghana        
Kenya        
Libya        
Malawi        
Mauritania        
Morocco        
Nigeria        
Rwanda        
South Africa        
Sudan        
Swaziland        
Uganda        

North America

Country Social Media Pornography Political Media Torrents
Bahamas, The        
Canada        
Cuba        
Guatemala        
Mexico        
United States        

South America

Country Social Media Pornography Political Media Torrents
Argentina        
Brazil        
Chile        
Colombia        
Ecuador        
Paraguay        
Peru        
Venezuela        

Europe

Country Social Media Pornography Political Media Torrents
Austria        
Belarus        
Belgium        
Bulgaria        
Croatia        
Czech Republic        
Denmark        
Estonia        
Finland        
France        
Germany        
Greece        
Hungary        
Iceland        
Ireland        
Isle of Man        
Italy        
Latvia        
Moldova        
Netherlands        
Norway        
Poland        
Portugal        
Romania        
Russia        
Slovakia        
Slovenia        
Spain        
Sweden        
Switzerland        
Turkey        
Ukraine        
United Kingdom        

Australia

Country Social Media Pornography Political Media Torrents
Australia        
Fiji        
New Zealand        

Most democratic countries have little Internet censorship, mainly to control piracy. However, some countries limit access to information and suppress discussion among citizens, often in anticipation of elections, protests, and riots.

Freedom of the Internet is not a guarantee.

Sources

  • List of Countries of the World – listofcuontriesoftheworld.com
  • Era of Digital Mercenaries – surveillance.rsf.org
  • Internet Censorship Listed – theguardian.com
  • Burma (Myanmar) – opennet.net
  • Freedom on the Net – freedomhouse.org
  • New Internet Censorship Rules Take Effect in Gaza – jpost.com
  • Freedom House Georgia – freedomhouse.org
  • Internet Freedom Plummets in India – Indiarealtime
  • Freedom House Indonesia – freedomhouse.org
  • Freedom House Kazakhstan – freedomhouse.org
  • Kazakhstan’s Social Networking Restrictions Spur Censorship Debate – washingtontimes.com
  • North Korea: On the Net in World’s Most Secretive Nation – bbc.co.uk
  • Net Freedom under Fire in Kyrgyzstan – netprophet.tol.org
  • Freedom House Libya – freedomhouse.org
  • Oman – opennet.net
  • Syria – Reporters without Borders – en.rsf.org
  • Syria – surveillance.rsf.org
  • Internet Censorship in Dubai and the UAE – plenz.com
  • New Study on Internet Censorship and Political Activism in Uzbekistan – techpresident.com
  • Vietnam Announces Big Fines for Social Media ‘Propaganda’ – reuters.com
  • Internet Filtering in Yemen – opennet.net
  • Internet Censorship in Southeast Asia
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