Is the Internet Becoming Less Free?

One of the hot button issues in recent times surrounds the idea of the internet and how free it is. A free internet is basically one that allows people to access any legitimate website without the government getting in the way. Censorship is an activity that a lot of governments take part in, in an effort to try and control what information people are able to access through the internet. Authoritarian governments often recognize the dangers of free access to information, so it is fair to say that countries that have authoritarian governments tend to have restricted internet access in which a lot of sites tend to be blocked.

According to a FreedomHouse report, The west tends to have a much liberal internet, with the UK, the US and Canada showing signs of an internet that is free for anyone to access. However, America has come under fire recently for failing to control a monopolization of the internet whereby certain corporations would be able to make certain sites easier to access than others. While not censorship in and of itself, this kind of subtle manipulation is definitely malicious and is something that needs to be addressed.
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That being said, other parts of the world are notorious for having heavily censored internet access. China is the leader in this regard, possessing full control over what websites their citizens can use. Many websites that you are used to using such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are not accessible in China, with the populace there using China’s own social media platforms instead. Russia also has a bad reputation for restricting internet access in a lot of ways. That being said, the East is not all bad. Japan has proven to be provide free internet to its people, and provides an example that other countries in this area can follow.

How Free Is the Internet?

Chart: Statista.

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