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Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’

The Least Free Countries On Earth – You Probably Will Not Guess #1

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on February 10, 2018

Access to the internet has largely led to the spread of information, cultures and ideas. The proliferation of the internet, as well as the hyper-connectivity of today’s society, often leads to the feeling that the world is getting smaller, that we’re largely interconnected, and that the online world is a free one.

While access to the internet, and the ability to navigate it freely, may sometimes seem like a certainty, less than one-fourth of the world’s internet users actually reside in countries where the internet is technically designated “free.” In fact, according to Freedom House’s 2017 Freedom on the Net report, online manipulation and disinformation tactics are on the rise, leading to a seventh consecutive year of overall decline in internet freedom across the globe.

Freedom House ranked 65 countries worldwide on their level of censorship. Countries were given an overall total score based on 21 questions and nearly 100 subquestions, divided into three categories: obstacles to access, limits on content and violations of user rights.

According to the Freedom House methodology, the top 10 most censored countries are:

In addition to an overall censorship score, Freedom House documented the prevalence of different levels of censorship used by each country to control their citizens’ access to content. Among the nine types of internet controls used were four types we outlined visually, including:

  • Countries that block political, social or religious content: These countries block or filter domains, URLS or keywords with the goal of limiting access to specific content.

  • Countries that block social media/communication apps: These countries either block entire social media/communication applications or have temporarily or permanently blocked the key functions of these applications with the goal of preventing communication and information sharing.

  • Countries that arrest, detain or imprison bloggers or ICT users for posting political/social content: These countries have arrested, detained or imprisoned individuals as an act of retaliation for digital expression. (Brief detentions for interrogation are not reflected.)

  • Countries that use pro-government commentators: There are strong indications that these countries employ paid individuals to manipulate the discussion online.

Other key takeaways from the study include:

  • Almost half of the countries assessed—32 out of 65—have been on an overall decline in internet freedom since June 2016.

  • China continued to be the worst abuser of internet freedom for a third consecutive year.

  • The United States experienced a decline in internet freedom, falling two places from the fourth least censored country in 2016 to the sixth least censored country in 2017. The decline was largely due to the spread of disinformation and hyperpartisan content during the 2016 election, as well as the uptick in harassment and threats against journalists in the country.

  • Thirteen countries improved in their internet freedom score, including Libya, Bangladesh, and Uzbekistan. However, broad shifts in policy across these countries were not seen.

Countries that block political, social or religious content:

Countries that block social media/communication apps:

Countries that arrest, detain or imprison bloggers or ICT users for posting political/social content:

Countries that use pro-government commentators:


My Note: Some sort of sane censorship is a rational thing to do for such countries like Ethiopia that face tremendous challenges in dealing with their numerous enemies. Online manipulation and disinformation tactics are used by the lords of darkness who’ve got the resources to manipulate the less-informed gullible world. Racism, Racialism, Tribalism, Perversion etc. are some of the examples.


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‘The Net Delusion’

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 3, 2011

The net isn’t always what we think, thinks the author, Evgeny Morozov, in his book, “The Net Delusion”. Mr. Morozov argues, the west’s reckless promotion of technological tools as pro-democratic agents has provoked authoritarian regimes to crack down on online activity in some style: not just closing down or blocking websites, but using social networks to infiltrate protest groups and track down protesters, seeding their own propaganda online, and generally out-resourcing and out-smarting their beleaguered citizenry.

The following review of the book – in Egyptian context – is taken from the New York Observer

It’s not often that a nonfiction book appears whose thesis is immediately tested by events. But such is the fate of Evgeny Morozov’s “Net Delusion”

Morozov’s argument that the internet does more harm than good in political contexts is running up against violent reality in Egypt.

Morozov takes the ideas of what he calls “cyber-utopians” and shows how reality perverts them in one political situation after another. In Iran, the regime used the internet to crush the internet-driven protests in June 2009. In Russia, neofascists use the internet to organize pogroms. And on and on. Morozov has written hundreds of pages to make the point that technology is amoral and cuts many different ways. Just as radio can bolster democracy or — as in Rwanda — incite genocide, so the internet can help foment a revolution but can also help crush it. This seems obvious, yet it has often been entirely lost as grand claims are made for the internet’s positive, liberating qualities.

And suddenly here are Tunisia and, even more dramatically, Egypt, simultaneously proving and refuting Morozov’s argument. In both cases, social networking allowed truths that had been whispered to be widely broadcast and commented upon. In Tunisia and Egypt — and now across the Arab world — Facebook and Twitter have made people feel less alone in their rage at the governments that stifle their lives. There is nothing more politically emboldening than to feel, all at once, that what you have experienced as personal bitterness is actually an objective condition, a universal affliction in your society that therefore can be universally opposed.

Yet at the same time, the Egyptian government shut off the internet, which is an effective way of using the internet. And according to one Egyptian blogger, misinformation is being spread through Facebook — as it was in Iran — just as real information was shared by anti-government protesters. This is the “dark side of internet freedom” that Morozov is warning against. It is the freedom to wantonly crush the forces of freedom.

All this should not surprise anyone. It seems that, just as with every other type of technology of communication, the internet is not a solution to human conflict but an amplifier for all aspects of a conflict. As you read about pro-government agitators charging into crowds of protesters on horseback and camel, you realize that nothing has changed in our new internet age. The human situation is the same as it always was, except that it is the same in a newer and more intense way. Decades from now, we will no doubt be celebrating a spanking new technology that promises to liberate us from the internet. And the argument joined by Morozov will occur once again.


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