Even though recent times have wavered my reliance in The United States Federal Government, I am still glad I live here. We still have the freedom (for now) to hold open discussions on the internet through blogs, social networks, etc. We can criticize our Government as much as we want, as long as we do not threaten The President. Intellectual freedom is one of the most important fundamental Human rights, and the internet facilitates our ability to share our thoughts, beliefs, opinions, and pretty much anything else we want to share.
Unfortunately, there are several nations who’s leadership feel threatened by the Internet’s awesome power to connect people. What they are really afraid of is the connection of ideas, especially ideas that might promote freedoms that they are not willing to allow their citizens to enjoy. God forbid people would criticize their prehistoric dictum of supremacy!
Here are the top three countries that censor the internet to the maximum.
#1 North Korea
Leave it to the Kim Jong-il regime to make the top of the list. With only 4% of the entire population of North Korea even being wired to the internet, and what they have access to is heavily censored by their crooked government.
The average citizen in North Korea consider internet access and a home computer to be a lavish luxury.
And forget about Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. They are all banned in North Korea. Unless you happen to be a high-level government official, don’t get your hopes up for finding an online news outlet either. The only one you will find is owned and operated by the government. As a matter of fact, you will only have access to about 50 websites filled with propaganda supporting the “grand pub-ah” and his “wonderful” ideals. Surprisingly though, the North Korean government have official accounts on Facebook and Twitter.
Blogging is also strictly prohibited. Every piece of data that is uploaded to the internet has to be reviewed and approved by the government.
If you are planning a trip to the isolated peninsula of Pyongyang, you might as well leave your laptops and cell phones at home. Customs officials will confiscate them at the airport. Furthermore, if you do require internet access, you will only be able to at an Internet cafe for an hourly fee of $10 US.
The Golden Shield Project, also known as “The Great Firewall of China” filters and controls all information flowing through cyberspace. There are an estimated 30,000 civil servants that monitor all “sensitive content” being discussed on blogs, forums and websites. Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Blogger are 100% blocked, while Flickr, Wikipedia and Google are partially blocked.
The stringent Internet censorship in China is sanctioned by the government to “protect” its citizens from undesirable content, especially the Western culture, that deems harmful to societal stability. In 2010, Chinese internet regulators blocked 350 million pieces of “harmful information.”
In a population of almost 50 million, only about 108,000 have access to the Internet. And if you are one of the lucky few that have internet access, every move you make while on-line is closely monitored. Blogging is strictly prohibited due to fear that a conversation may lead to criticism of the government.
Free-speech activists claim that the reason why the level of Internet censorship in Burma is high is because the “undesirable content posted on the Internet” will “influence the people” and “cause ethnic tension or encourage political instability.”
- Researcher Maps Extent of Internet Censorship Worldwide (censorshipinamerica.wordpress.com)
- Censorship 2010 Recap (censorshipinamerica.wordpress.com)
- China Micro-Blogging Sites Censor ‘Egypt’ (censorshipinamerica.wordpress.com)
- Technology Undermines Censorship in China (censorshipinamerica.wordpress.com)
- 2010 Trend Watch Update: Global Internet Censorship (censorshipinamerica.wordpress.com)