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International Censorship News


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Update: Searching for More Censorship...

Google reports a 68% increase in government requests to censor its content

Link Here23rd December 2013
Full story: Internet Transparency Reports...Google, Twitter and Microsoft report on law enforcement requests
Google recently published an update to its semi-annual Transparency Report, and the latest figures show an ongoing increase in the efforts of governments around the world to censor content on services like Google and YouTube.

The new figures show that governments made 3,846 takedown requests in the first half of 2013, which is up from 2,285 requests in the previous six month period, a 68% increase. Plus of course the requests that Google is not allowed to tell us about. The published requests targeted 24,737 pieces of content.

Google says it complied in only one third of the cases. Google refers to the requests as censorship and cited:

[A] worrying upward trend in the number of government requests, and underscores the importance of transparency around the processes governing such requests.

The increase in this report appears tied to a spike in requests from Turkey, which demanded the most takedowns of any country (1,673). The second biggest number came from the United States (545), which was followed by Brazil, Russia and India.



Update: A stand for democracy in a digital age...

500 writers sign open letter to the UN protesting mass state snooping

Link Here10th December 2013
Full story: The Edward Snowden Revelations...Internet Snooping in the US revealed

A stand for democracy in a digital age

In recent months, the extent of mass surveillance has become common knowledge. With a few clicks of the mouse the state can access your mobile device, your email, your social networking and internet searches. It can follow your political leanings and activities and, in partnership with internet corporations, it collects and stores your data, and thus can predict your consumption and behaviour.

The basic pillar of democracy is the inviolable integrity of the individual. Human integrity extends beyond the physical body. In their thoughts and in their personal environments and communications, all humans have the right to remain unobserved and unmolested.

This fundamental human right has been rendered null and void through abuse of technological developments by states and corporations for mass surveillance purposes.

A person under surveillance is no longer free; a society under surveillance is no longer a democracy. To maintain any validity, our democratic rights must apply in virtual as in real space.

  • Surveillance violates the private sphere and compromises freedom of thought and opinion.
  • Mass surveillance treats every citizen as a potential suspect. It overturns one of our historical triumphs, the presumption of innocence.
  • Surveillance makes the individual transparent, while the state and the corporation operate in secret. As we have seen, this power is being systemically abused.
  • Surveillance is theft. This data is not public property: it belongs to us. When it is used to predict our behaviour, we are robbed of something else: the principle of free will crucial to democratic liberty.

WE DEMAND THE RIGHT for all people to determine, as democratic citizens, to what extent their personal data may be legally collected, stored and processed, and by whom; to obtain information on where their data is stored and how it is being used; to obtain the deletion of their data if it has been illegally collected and stored.


WE CALL ON ALL CITIZENS to stand up and defend these rights.

WE CALL ON THE UNITED NATIONS to acknowledge the central importance of protecting civil rights in the digital age, and to create an international bill of digital rights.

WE CALL ON GOVERNMENTS to sign and adhere to such a convention.

Signed by more than 500 writers from around the world including the following from the UK:

Akkas Al-Ali, Tariq Ali, David Almond, Martin Amis, Julian Barnes, Priya Basil, John Berger, Jane Borodale, John Burnside, Louis de Bernières, Isobel Dixon, Joanne Harris, Kazuo Ishiguro, Pico Iyer, Stephen Kelman, Hari Kunzru, Ian McEwan, David Mitchell, Stella Newman, Henry Porter, Martin Rowson, Manda Scott, Will Self, Owen Sheers, Philip Sington, Tom Stoppard, Adam Thirwell, David Vann, Nigel Warbuton, Irvine Welsh, Jeanette Winterson, Rana Dasgupta, Anjali Joseph, Nikita Lalwani, Fadia Faqir, Hanif Kureishi, Lionel Shriver



Updated: A police team is homing in on bad taste jokers...

But the tweeters aren't worried, it's the Flying Squad!

Link Here5th December 2013
Full story: Insulting UK Law...UK proesecutions of jokes and insults on social media
A spate of supposedly 'offensive' Twitter remarks on the Glasgow helicopter tragedy has sparked a public 'outcry' as it emerged a teenager was arrested for posting sectarian and racist comments about the disaster.

Police Scotland confirmed that a 16-year-old had been detained for posting 'sickening' jibes in the wake of the Clutha pub catastrophe. The teenager was arrested on Sunday and held in custody in connection with remarks made on a social networking site following Friday's tragedy, police said.

Update: Katie Hopkins under fire for throwaway joke

5th December 2013. See  article from . Thanks to Phantom

Katie hopkins has built a career on brash utterances and saying what everyone else is thinking . But now, more than 44,000 easily offended people have signed a petition calling for former Apprentice contestant to be banned from any future TV appearances.

The former reality TV star turned professional contrarian and HuffPost blogger issued an apology after cracking a joke on Twitter about life expectancy in Scotland following the fatal helicopter crash on the banks of the Clyde in Glasgow. She had joked on Twitter:

Life expectancy in Scotland is 59.5. Goodness me. That lot will do anything to avoid working until retirement.

She later apologised:

My tweet on Scotland was directly related to this article: . I aologise to those I offended. It was poor timing.



Update: A police team is homing in on bad taste jokers...

But the tweeters aren't worried, it's the Flying Squad!

Link Here4th December 2013
Full story: Insulting UK Law...UK proesecutions of jokes and insults on social media
A spate of supposedly 'offensive' Twitter remarks on the Glasgow helicopter tragedy has sparked a public 'outcry' as it emerged a teenager was arrested for posting sectarian and racist comments about the disaster.

Police Scotland confirmed that a 16-year-old had been detained for posting 'sickening' jibes in the wake of the Clutha pub catastrophe. The teenager was arrested on Sunday and held in custody in connection with remarks made on a social networking site following Friday's tragedy, police said.



Update: Banned Words...

UN official tells Malaysia to stop monopolising the religious character name, Allah

Link Here26th November 2013
Full story: Oh My God...Only muslims can use the word Allah in Malaysia
Malaysia should reverse a ban on a Christian newspaper using the word Allah to refer to the christian religious character called God, a UN official said about a decision that fanned religious tension in the mainly Muslim country.

The UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, said in statement:

Freedom of religion or belief is a right of human beings, not a right of the state. It cannot be the business of the state to shape or reshape religious traditions, nor can the state claim any binding authority in the interpretation of religious sources or in the definition of the tenets of faith.



Offsite Article: Universities should be the last place to ban free speech...

Link Here 24th November 2013
The censorship of an atheist bookstall at freshers' week is just another example of heavy-handed repression in our universities by Nick Cohen

See article from



Offsite Article: Nine criminal t-shirts...

Link Here8th November 2013
An Angolan teen has been detained for almost two months for insulting the President via t-shirts. This is not the only time and place tees have landed someone in serious trouble

See article from



Update: Ticked Off Like a Third World Despot...

CPJ rebukes Cameron for seeking to silence the Guardian and seeking a newspaper censor for the British press

Link Here30th October 2013
Full story: The Edward Snowden Revelations...Internet Snooping in the US revealed
The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by threats against the press made by UK Prime Minister David Cameron in parliament.

Cameron said, It would be very difficult for government to stand back and not to act against the press if newspapers don't demonstrate some social responsibility and stop reporting on National Security Agency files leaked by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden. Cameron singled out the Guardian, saying that the paper had gone on and printed further material which is damaging after having already been accused of harming national security.

CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said:

If David Cameron has evidence that the Guardian or other publications have damaged U.K. national security, he should share this evidence instead of issuing vague threats about taking action.  Governments around the world look to the U.K. as a model for media policies, but in this case, Cameron seems to be taking a page from the book of less enlightened governments that invoke 'social responsibility' to ward off valid criticism.

Cameron mentioned the possibility of resorting to news censorship, through high court injunctions and Defence Advisory notices or through other tougher measures, the Guardian reported .



Offsite Article: Chinese Censorship Expanding Abroad...

Link Here23rd October 2013
Report on how China is using its economic might to bully other countries into accepting censorship

See article from



Offsite Article: China challenged over human rights record at United Nations...

Link Here 23rd October 2013
Activists say despite Beijing's claims of improvements, dissenters, minorities and the disabled still face state brutality

See article from



Freedom of the Press 2013...

Freedom House reports that media freedom is at a low ebb

Link Here2nd May 2013

The percentage of the world's population living in societies with a fully free press has fallen to its lowest level in over a decade, according to a Freedom House report. An overall downturn in global media freedom in 2012 was punctuated by dramatic decline in Mali, deterioration in Greece, and a further tightening of controls in Latin America. Moreover, conditions remained uneven in the Middle East and North Africa, with Tunisia and Libya largely retaining gains from 2011 even as Egypt experienced significant backsliding.

The report, Freedom of the Press 2013 , found that despite positive developments in Burma, the Caucasus, parts of West Africa, and elsewhere, the dominant trend was one of setbacks in a range of political settings. Reasons for decline included the increasingly sophisticated repression of independent journalism and new media by authoritarian regimes; the ripple effects of the European economic crisis and longer-term challenges to the financial sustainability of print media; and ongoing threats from nonstate actors such as radical Islamists and organized crime groups.

David J. Kramer, president of Freedom House, said:

Two years after the uprisings in the Middle East, we continue to see heightened efforts by authoritarian governments around the world to put a stranglehold on open political dialogue, both online and offline. The overall decline is also a disturbing indicator of the state of democracy globally and underlines the critical need for vigilance in promoting and protecting independent journalism.

Worrying deterioration was noted in Ecuador, Egypt, Guinea-Bissau, Paraguay, and Thailand--which were all downgraded to the Not Free category--as well as in Cambodia, Kazakhstan, and the Maldives. Meanwhile, Mali suffered the index's largest single-year decline in a decade due to a coup and the takeover of the northern half of the country by Islamist militants, and media in Greece came under a range of pressures as a result of the European economic crisis. The score declines in those two countries triggered a status change to Partly Free, as did a smaller negative shift in Israel.

Of the 197 countries and territories assessed during 2012, a total of 63 (32%) were rated Free, 70 (36%) were rated Partly Free, and 64 (32%) were rated Not Free. The analysis found that less than 14 percent of the world's inhabitants lived in countries with a Free press, while 43% had a Partly Free press and 43% lived in Not Free environments.

The world's eight worst-rated countries are Belarus, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. In these states, independent media are either nonexistent or barely able to operate, the press acts as a mouthpiece for the regime, citizens' access to unbiased information is severely limited, and dissent is crushed through imprisonment, torture, and other forms of repression.

Key Regional Findings:

The Americas: The region experienced a decline in press freedom in 2012, with Ecuador and Paraguay falling into the Not Free category and erosion also noted in Argentina and Brazil. The media environment remained extremely restrictive in Cuba and Venezuela, and Mexico continued to be one of world's most dangerous places for journalists, with high levels of violence and impunity for crimes against media workers, though positive legislation to address this issue was passed in 2012. The United States is still among the stronger performers in the region, but the limited willingness of high-level government officials to provide access and information to members of the press was noted as a concern.

Asia-Pacific: This region is home to one of the world's worst-rated countries, North Korea, and the world's largest Not Free setting, China. However, the regional average score improved in 2012. Burma earned the year's largest numerical improvement worldwide due to broad openings in the media environment, and Afghanistan also registered gains. Less positively, Thailand moved back into the Not Free category, and deterioration was noted in Cambodia, Hong Kong, the Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

Central and Eastern Europe/Eurasia: A modest overall reduction in press freedom occurred in this region during 2012, with deterioration in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan offset by improvements in Armenia and Georgia. Restrictive conditions persist in Russia, where the relatively unfettered new media, which have somewhat mitigated the government's near-complete control over major broadcast outlets, faced the threat of further curbs during the year. Hungary's score remained steady amid ongoing concerns regarding extensive legislative and regulatory changes that have tightened government control of the media.

Middle East and North Africa: This region's level of media freedom remained the worst in the world in 2012, and stasis or backsliding was noted in the vast majority of countries, with the exception of Yemen. While two of the Arab Spring countries, Libya and Tunisia, largely retained their significant gains from the previous year, Egypt moved back into the Not Free category. On the Arabian Peninsula, deterioration was noted in Bahrain, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. Israel, an outlier in the region due to its traditionally free and diverse press, nevertheless experienced several challenges during 2012, resulting in a status downgrade to Partly Free.

Sub-Saharan Africa: The region suffered a modest decline in press freedom in 2012, largely as a result of the losses in Mali, now rated Partly Free, and Guinea-Bissau, which slid into the Not Free category. However, trends elsewhere on the continent were positive, with significant improvements for Côte d'Ivoire and Malawi and smaller positive moves for Liberia, Mauritania, Senegal, and Zimbabwe. South Africa's score deteriorated slightly due to de facto restrictions on media coverage of wildcat mining strikes in August and September, and the advancement of the controversial Protection of State Information Bill remained an issue of concern.

Western Europe: The region has consistently boasted the highest level of press freedom worldwide, but its average score underwent an unprecedented decline in 2012. Conditions for the press in Greece deteriorated significantly, moving the country into the Partly Free category, while lesser slippage was noted in Spain, also as a result of the European economic crisis. Turkey, a regional outlier, continued to elicit concern due to its high number of imprisoned journalists.



Update: Who's Asking?...

Microsoft starts up a transparency report about the scale of law enforcement requests

Link Here22nd March 2013
Full story: Internet Transparency Reports...Google, Twitter and Microsoft report on law enforcement requests

Brad Smith , Microsoft's General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Legal & Corporate Affairs at Microsoft writes in a blog post:

Today, we are releasing our 2012 Law Enforcement Requests Report. This is our first Law Enforcement Requests Report. It provides data on the number of requests we received from law enforcement agencies around the world relating to Microsoft online and cloud services and how we responded to those requests. All of our major online services are covered in this report, including, for example, Hotmail,; SkyDrive; Xbox LIVE; Microsoft Account; and Office 365. We're also making available similar data relating to Skype, which Microsoft acquired in October 2011.

We will update this report every six months.

In recent months, there has been broadening public interest in how often law enforcement agencies request customer data from technology companies and how our industry responds to these requests. Google, Twitter and others have made important and helpful contributions to this discussion by publishing some of their data. We've benefited from the opportunity to learn from them and their experience, and we seek to build further on the industry's commitment to transparency by releasing our own data today.

Like others in the industry, we are releasing publicly the total number of requests we receive from law enforcement in countries around the world and the number of potentially affected accounts identified in those requests.

We are also publishing additional data that we hope will provide added insights for our customers and the public who are interested in these issues. For example, we are providing more detailed information that shows the number of law enforcement requests resulting in disclosure to these agencies of "customer content", such as the subject line and body of an email exchanged through; or a picture stored on SkyDrive. We similarly are reporting on the number of law enforcement requests that result in disclosure only of "non-content" data, which includes account information such as an email address, a person's name, country of residence, or gender, or system-generated data such as IP addresses and traffic data.

I've tried to summarize what has struck me as some of the principal trends reflected in the data we're releasing today:

  • First, while we receive a significant number of law enforcement requests from around the world, very few actually result in the disclosure to these agencies of customer content. To be precise, last year Microsoft (including Skype) received 75,378 law enforcement requests for customer information, and these requests potentially affected 137,424 accounts or other identifiers. Only 2.1%, or 1,558 requests, resulted in the disclosure of customer content .

  • It's insightful, I believe, to look at the governments to whom customer content was disclosed. Of the 1,558 disclosures of customer content, more than 99% were in response to lawful warrants from courts in the United States. In fact, there were only 14 disclosures of customer content to governments outside the United States. These were to governments in Brazil, Ireland, Canada and New Zealand.

  • Of the 56,388 cases where Microsoft (excluding Skype) disclosed some non-content information to law enforcement agencies, more than 66% of these were to agencies in only five countries . These were the U.S., the United Kingdom, Turkey, Germany and France. For Skype, the top five countries accounted for 81% of all requests. These countries were the U.K., U.S., Germany, France and Taiwan.

  • Roughly 18% of the law enforcement requests (again, excluding Skype) resulted in the disclosure of no customer information in any form, either because Microsoft rejected the request or because no customer information was found.

  • Finally, while law enforcement requests for information unquestionably are important (and raise important issues around the world), only a tiny percentage of users are potentially affected by them. We have many hundreds of millions of accounts across our online and cloud services. To give you a sense of proportion, we estimate that less than two one-hundredths of  one % (or 0.02%, to put it another way) were potentially affected by law enforcement requests.



Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards...

Index on Censorship honours those showing courage in the face of extreme adversity

Link Here22nd March 2013

Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, Greek journalist Kostas Vaxevanis, Syrian internet activist Bassel Khartabil and South African photographer Zanele Muholi were honoured at the Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards in London this evening.

Doughty Street Advocacy award:

In October 2012, a Taliban gunman shot education campaigner Malala Yousafzai in the head and chest for her activism, as she was returning home from school in Pakistan's Swat district.

Journalism award sponsored by the Guardian:

Greek investigative journalist Kostas Vaxevanis was arrested in October 2012, days after he published the Lagarde List of wealthy Greeks with Swiss bank accounts in his weekly magazine Hot Doc. He was found not guilty of breaking data privacy laws in November 2012, but the Athens public prosecutor subsequently ordered a retrial.

Digital freedom award sponsored by Google:

Palestinian-born Syrian software engineer Bassel Khartabil is a champion of web freedom and a computer engineer, who specialises in the development of open source software. Khartabil has been held in prison in Syria for over a year.

Index Arts award:

South African photographer and LGBT activist Zanele Muholi challenges traditional perceptions of the black female body --- and specifically black lesbians --- through her work. She has faced considerable opposition in South Africa where lesbians have been the targets of horrendous hate crimes including murders and corrective rape .



Update: No Rapport with the OIC...

UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion comes out strongly against blasphemy laws

Link Here7th March 2013
Full story: Defamation of Religion...OIC pushes for global blasphemy laws at UN

the United Nations' special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief has come out strongly against laws against blasphemy and apostasy.

Heiner Bielefeld said in a report to the U.N. Human Rights Council that legislation outlawing apostasy and insults against religious figures could be used to violate the rights of minorities:

States should repeal any criminal law provisions that penalize apostasy, blasphemy and proselytism, as they may prevent persons belonging to religious or belief minorities from fully enjoying their freedom of religion or belief.

Bielefeld does not speak for the U.N. but was taken on as an independent official to report regularly on how freedom of religion was respected across the world.



Update: Challenging Free Speech...

OIC re-energises its bid for international laws to criminalise the criticism of religion

Link Here22nd February 2013
Full story: Defamation of Religion...OIC pushes for global blasphemy laws at UN

Getting the go-ahead from the Cairo Islamic Summit, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has re-energised its efforts to try and get the denigration of religions recognized as a criminal offence.

Rizwan Saeed Sheikh, director of cultural affairs at the OIC said:

Next session of the Istanbul Process on Islamophobia will be held in the first half of this year, and the session will squarely focus on the issue of criminalizing denigration of religions.

The OIC is of the firm view that any religion or its symbols should not be denigrated. The Cairo Islamic Summit endorsed this position and tasked the OIC secretariat to develop a unified strategy to impress upon the international community to take effective measures against such acts of incitement of intolerance and hatred that may lead to violence and loss of lives.

In an interview with the Saudi Gazette, Sheikh underscored the need for transposition of the international law to domestic one to effectively combat Islamophobia, which he claimed is a contemporary manifestation of racism mainly targeting Islam and Muslims . He said the OIC seeks establishment of an international observatory, based in Geneva, with a global mandate not only to monitor denigration of Islam but all other religions.

According to Sheikh, international law clearly states that denigration of symbols or persons sacred to any religion is a criminal offence. This law ratifies OIC's position and the only remaining problem is the absence of enforcement in the true spirit by member states.

Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said:

We had thought the OIC had abandoned its plans for an international blasphemy law after it was roundly rejected by the United Nations, but here they are, coming at it again by a different route -- but with exactly the same end result, a blanket ban on any criticism of Islam. This is dangerous and dictatorial. We can see in Pakistan what horrors are perpetrated when these kinds of laws are in effect. Imagine it on an international scale.

The OIC may represent powerful interests, but its stifling and tyrannical approach to free speech must be resisted very strongly by the West.



World Report 2013: Challenges for Rights After Arab Spring...

Human Rights Watch releases World Report 2013

Link Here 3rd February 2013

The euphoria of the Arab Spring has given way to the sobering challenge of creating rights-respecting democracies, Human Rights Watch said in issuing its World Report 2013. The willingness of new governments to respect rights will determine whether those uprisings give birth to genuine democracy or simply spawn authoritarianism in new forms.

The uncertainties of freedom are no reason to revert to the enforced predictability of authoritarian rule, said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. The path ahead may be treacherous, but the alternative is to consign entire countries to a grim future of oppression. The tension between majority rule and respect for rights poses perhaps the greatest challenge for the new governments, Human Rights Watch said. Leaders in the Middle East are naturally eager to exercise their new electoral clout, but they have a duty to govern without sacrificing fundamental freedoms or the rights of minorities, women, and other groups at risk.

Three additional essays in the World Report address other threats to human rights. One describes the need to regulate business operations around the world, especially in an era of globalization, to protect the rights of workers and people negatively affected by company operations. The second says that in responding to environmental crises, governments and others frequently focus on the harm to nature, neglecting the human rights impact on people in the crisis zone. The third essay highlights how arguments of tradition and cultural relativism are used to deny women and minorities human rights that should be universal.

The rights of women are a source of contention in many countries as Islamists gain electoral power. Some opponents contend that such rights are a Western imposition, at odds with Islam or Arab culture. International human rights law does not prevent women from leading a conservative or religious lifestyle if they wish. But too often governments impose restrictions on women who seek equality or autonomy. Calling such rights a Western imposition does nothing to disguise the domestic oppression, compelling women to assume a subservient role.

The problem of unbridled majority rule is not limited to the Arab world. A vivid demonstration was found in Burma, where a long-entrenched military dictatorship gave way to a reform-minded civilian government. Still, the Burmese government has been reluctant to protect the country's minority groups or even speak out about abuses against them, most notably the severe and violent persecution of the Muslim Rohingya.



Dashed Hopes after Spring...

Reporters Without Borders publish their annual press freedom index for 2013

Link Here31st January 2013

After the Arab springs and other protest movements that prompted many rises and falls in last year's index, the 2013 Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index marks a return to a more usual configuration. The ranking of most countries is no longer attributable to dramatic political developments. This year's index is a better reflection of the attitudes and intentions of governments towards media freedom in the medium or long term.

The same three European countries that headed the index last year hold the top three positions again this year. For the third year running, Finland has distinguished itself as the country that most respects media freedom. It is followed by the Netherlands and Norway. Although many criteria are considered, ranging from legislation to violence against journalists, democratic countries occupy the top of the index while dictatorial countries occupy the last three positions. Again it is the same three as last year -- Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea .

For the second year running, the bottom three countries are immediately preceded by Syria (176th, 0), where a deadly information war is being waged, and Somalia (175th, -11), which has had a deadly year for journalists. Iran (174th, +1), China (173rd, +1), Vietnam (unchanged at 172nd), Cuba (171st, -4), Sudan (170th, 0) and Yemen (169th, +2) complete the list of the ten countries that respect media freedom least.

The high number of journalists and netizens killed in the course of their work in 2012 (the deadliest year ever registered by Reporters Without Borders in its annual roundup), naturally had a significant impact on the ranking of the countries where these murders took place, above all Somalia (175th, -11), Syria (176th, 0), Mexico (153rd, -4) and Pakistan (159th, -8).


Malawi (75th, +71) registered the biggest leap in the index, almost returning to the position it held before the excesses at the end of the Mutharika administration. Cote d'Ivoire (96th, +63), which is emerging from the post-electoral crisis between the supporters of Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara, has also soared, attaining its best position since 2003. Burma (151st, +18) continued the ascent begun in last year's index. Previously, it had been in the bottom 15 every year since 2002 but now, thanks to the Burmese spring's unprecedented reforms, it has reached its best-ever position. Afghanistan (128th, +22) also registered a significant rise thanks to the fact that no journalists are in prison. It is nonetheless facing many challenges, especially with the withdrawal of foreign troops.


Mali (99th, -74) registered the biggest fall in the index as a result of all the turmoil in 2012. The military coup in Bamako on 22 March and the north's takeover by armed Islamists and Tuareg separatists exposed the media in the north to censorship and violence. Tanzania (70th, -36) sank more than 30 places because, in the space of four months, a journalist was killed while covering a demonstration and another was murdered.

Buffeted by social and economic protests, the Sultanate of Oman (141st) sank 24 places, the biggest fall in the Middle East and North Africa in 2012. Some 50 netizens and bloggers were prosecuted on lese majeste or cyber-crime charges in 2012. No fewer than 28 were convicted in December alone, in trials that trampled on defence rights.

Journalists in Israel (112th, -20) enjoy real freedom of expression despite the existence of military censorship but the country fell in the index because of the Israeli military's targeting of journalists in the Palestinian Territories. Regional models found wanting

Democracies that stall or go into reverse

The situation is unchanged for much of the European Union. Sixteen of its members are still in the top 30. But the European model is unravelling. The bad legislation seen in 2011 continued, especially in Italy (57th, +4), where defamation has yet to be decriminalized and state agencies make dangerous use of gag laws. Hungary (56th, -16) is still paying the price of its repressive legislative reforms, which had a major impact on the way journalists work. But Greece's dramatic fall (84th, -14) is even more disturbing. The social and professional environment for its journalists, who are exposed to public condemnation and violence from both extremist groups and the police, is disastrous.

Japan (53rd, -31) plummeted because of censorship of nuclear industry coverage and its failure to reform the kisha club system. This is an alarming fall for a country that usually has a good ranking. Argentina (54th, -7) fell amid growing tension between the government and certain privately-owned media about a new law regulating the broadcast media.

1 Finland 0 (1)
2 Netherlands +1 (3)
3 Norway -2 (1)
4 Luxembourg +2 (6)
5 Andorra -
6 Denmark +4 (10)
7 Liechtenstein -
8 New Zealand +5 (13)
9 Iceland -3 (6)
10 Sweden +2 (12)
11 Estonia -8 (3)
12 Austria -7 (5)
13 Jamaica +3 (16)
14 Switzerland -6 (8)
15 Ireland 0 (15)
16 Czech Republic -2 (14)
17 Germany -1 (16)
18 Costa Rica +1 (19)
19 Namibia +1 (20)
20 Canada -10 (10)
21 Belgium -1 (20)
22 Poland +2 (24)
23 Slovakia +2 (25)
24 Cyprus -8 (16)
25 Cape Verde -16 (9)
26 Australia +4 (30)
27 Uruguay +5 (32)
28 Portugal +5 (33)
29 United Kingdom -1 (28)
30 Ghana +11 (41)
31 Suriname -9 (22)
32 United States +15 (47)
33 Lithuania -3 (30)
34 OECS -9 (25)
35 Slovenia +1 (36)
36 Spain +3 (39)
37 France +1 (38)
38 El Salvador -1 (37)
39 Latvia +11 (50)
40 Botswana +2 (42)
41 Papua New Guinea -6 (35)
42 Romania +5 (47)
43 Niger -14 (29)
44 Trinidad and Tobago +6 (50)
45 Malta +13 (58)
46 Burkina Faso +22 (68)
47 Taiwan -2 (45)
48 Samoa +6 (54)
49 Haiti +3 (52)
50 South Korea -6 (44)
51 Comoros -6 (45)
52 South Africa -10 (42)
53 Japan -31 (22)
54 Argentina -7 (47)
55 Moldova -2 (53)
56 Hungary -16 (40)
57 Italy +4 (61)
58 Hong Kong -4 (54)
59 Senegal +16 (75)
60 Chile +20 (80)
61 Sierra Leone +2 (63)
62 Mauritius -8 (54)
63 Serbia +17 (80)
64 Croatia +4 (68)
65 Central African Republic -3 (62)
66 Tonga -3 (63)
67 Mauritania 0 (67)
68 Bosnia and Herzegovina -10 (58)
69 Guyana -11 (58)
70 Tanzania -36 (34)
71 Kenya +13 (84)
72 Zambia +14 (86)
73 Mozambique -7 (66)
74 Armenia +3 (77)
75 Malawi +71 (146)
76 Republic of the Congo +14 (90)
77 Kuwait +1 (78)
78 Nicaragua -6 (72)
79 Benin +12 (91)
80 Dominican Republic +15 (95)
81 Lesotho -18 (63)
82 Bhutan -12 (70)
83 Togo -4 (79)
84 Greece -14 (70)
85 Kosovo +1 (86)
86 Guinea 0 (86)
87 Bulgaria -7 (80)
88 Madagascar -4 (84)
89 Gabon +12 (101)
90 East Timor -4 (86)
91 Paraguay -11 (80)
92 Guinea-Bissau -17 (75)
93 Seychelles -20 (73)
94 Northern Cyprus +8 (102)
95 Guatemala +2 (97)
96 Ivory Coast +63 (159)
97 Liberia +13 (110)
98 Mongolia +2 (100)
99 Mali -74 (25)
100 Georgia +4 (104)
101 Lebanon -8 (93)
102 Albania -6 (96)
103 Maldives -30 (73)
104 Uganda +35 (139)
105 Peru +10 (115)
106 Kyrgyzstan +2 (108)
107 Fiji +10 (117)
108 Brazil -9 (99)
109 Bolivia -1 (108)
110 Qatar +4 (114)
111 Panama +2 (113)
112 Israel -20 (92)
113 Montenegro -6 (107)
114 United Arab Emirates -2 (112)
115 Nigeria +11 (126)
116 Republic of Macedonia -22 (94)
117 Venezuela 0 (117)
118 Nepal -12 (106)
119 Ecuador -15 (104)
120 Cameroon -23 (97)
121 Chad -18 (103)
122 Brunei +3 (125)
123 Tajikistan -1 (122)
124 South Sudan -13 (111)
125 Algeria -3 (122)
126 Ukraine -10 (116)
127 Honduras +8 (135)
128 Afghanistan +22 (150)
129 Colombia +14 (143)
130 Angola +2 (132)
131 Libya +23 (154)
132 Burundi -2 (130)
133 Zimbabwe -16 (117)
134 Jordan -6 (128)
135 Thailand +2 (137)
136 Morocco +2 (138)
137 Ethiopia -10 (127)
138 Tunisia -4 (134)
139 Indonesia +7 (146)
140 India -9 (131)
141 Oman -24 (117)
142 DR Congo +3 (145)
143 Cambodia -26 (117)
144 Bangladesh -15 (129)
145 Malaysia -23 (122)
146 Palestine +7 (153)
147 Philippines -7 (140)
148 Russia -6 (142)
149 Singapore -14 (135)
150 Iraq +2 (152)
151 Burma +18 (169)
152 Gambia -11 (141)
153 Mexico -4 (149)
154 Turkey -6 (148)
155 Swaziland -11 (144)
156 Azerbaijan +6 (162)
157 Belarus +11 (168)
158 Egypt +8 (166)
159 Pakistan -8 (151)
160 Kazakhstan -6 (154)
161 Rwanda -5 (156)
162 Sri Lanka +1 (163)
163 Saudi Arabia -5 (158)
164 Uzbekistan -7 (157)
165 Bahrain +8 (173)
166 Equatorial Guinea -5 (161)
167 Djibouti -8 (159)
168 Laos -3 (165)
169 Yemen +2 (171)
170 Sudan 0 (170)
171 Cuba -4 (167)
172 Vietnam 0 (172)
173 China +1 (174)
174 Iran +1 (175)
175 Somalia -11 (164)
176 Syria 0 (176)
177 Turkmenistan 0 (177)
178 North Korea 0 (178)
179 Eritrea 0 (179)



Lab Report...

The Citizen Lab find that the internet bad boy countries are united by the use of Blue Coat censorship software

Link Here18th January 2013

The Citizen Lab Internet research group, based at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, used computer servers to scan for the distinctive signature of gear made by Blue Coat Systems of Sunnyvale, Calif.

It determined that Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates employed a Blue Coat system that could be used for digital censorship.

The group also determined that Bahrain, China, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey and Venezuela used equipment that could be used for surveillance and tracking.

The authors said they wanted to alert the public that there was a growing amount of surveillance and content-filtering technology distributed throughout the Internet. The technology is not restricted from export by the State Department, except to countries that are on embargo lists, like Syria, Iran and North Korea. The group noted:

Our findings support the need for national and international scrutiny of the country Blue Coat implementations we have identified, and a closer look at the global proliferation of dual-use information and communications technology. We hope Blue Coat will take this as an opportunity to explain their due diligence process to ensure that their devices are not used in ways that violate human rights.

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