Freedom of information campaign group Reporters Without Borders have added two countries to their ‘Enemies of the internet’ list, a ranking of the countries that are the worst offenders when it comes to restricting internet freedom.
The two countries, Bahrain and Belarus, join the likes of China, Cuba, Iran and North Korea on the list, due to engaging in activities such as content filtering, restricting access, tracking cyber-dissidents, and promoting online propaganda.
In a blog post about the report, the group says "Bahrain offers an example of an effective news blackout based on a remarkable array of repressive measures: keeping the international media away, harassing human rights activists, arresting bloggers and netizens (one of whom died in detention), smearing and prosecuting free speech activists, and disrupting communications, especially during major demonstrations.
"In Belarus, President Lukashenko’s regime has increased his grip on the web as the country sinks further into political isolation and economic stagnation.”
India and Kazakhstan have been added to a list of countries ‘under surveillance’, while Venezuela and Libya have been dropped, the latter following the fall of the Gaddafi regime.
This list also includes Australia, ‘whose government clings to a dangerous content filtering system’, as well as France, which has a ‘three strikes’ policy on illegal downloading similar to that in place in New Zealand.
"In 2011, netizens were at the heart of the political changes in the Arab world and elsewhere. They tried to resist the imposition of a news and information blackout but paid a high price.
"At the same time, supposedly democratic countries continued to set a bad example by yielding to the temptation to prioritise security over other concerns and by adopting disproportionate measures to protect copyright.
"More than ever before, online freedom of expression is now a major foreign and domestic policy issue.”
Go here to read the post in full.