The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has reported that information is subjected to censorship by their governments in many countries in Asia and the Middle East. In certain cases, dictatorships or authoritarian regimes block access to certain media and enforce prison sentences for posting any “misleading” material on internet. Here’s a list of different countries where blogging is considered dangerous and you may get into serious trouble doing so.
Only a few hundred thousand people of North Korea, or about 4% of the total population, have access to the Internet, which is heavily blocked by the national government. The North Korean network is highly controlled with only two domains hosted under a domain name. All sites are under government surveillance, as are all other media in North Korea. Blogging is not permitted, of course, and all material is uploaded or authorized by the North Korean Government.
Censorship of print and digital media content. There is negligible internet penetration in public life and any that remains is heavily regulated by the government, which monitors emails and restricts exposure to human rights organizations and protest groups.
Cuba has the lowest number of computers per resident in Latin America and the lowest rate of Internet service in the entire Western Hemisphere. People must use government-controlled “access points” where their actions are tracked through IP blocking, keyword filtering, and background checks. Only pro-government bloggers and government workers are permitted to post content to the Internet.
Approximately 400,000 pages, including all national, social, or religious subjects, have been banned. According to a report carried out in 2004 by the OpenNet Project, Saudi Arabia has “the most aggressive censorship focused on pornography, substance use, gambling, religious conversion of Muslims, and the blocking of circumvention resources.”
Bloggers who dare to denounce the government or any religious or political figure are being held in custody and threatened. The government requires that someone who has a blog or a personal page be registered with the Ministry of Art and Culture. The government has filtered websites with government-critical content, pornography websites, political blogs, and, most recently, women’s rights websites, weblogs, and online magazines.
People’s republic of China
China has the world’s most strict censorship program. It includes service providers that philter searches, block pages, erase any “inconvenient” content, and track e-mail traffic. China bans or restricts internet material linked to Tibetan democracy, Taiwan democracy, police brutality, 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations, freedom of expression, pornography, certain western news and propaganda sources, some religious groups, and several blogging websites.
Any blogger who shares any sort of anti-government sentiment, or some kind of viewpoint that could “challenge national unity,” is arrested. Sites that oppose the government are also automatically banned. The owners of Cyber Cafes are obliged to ask all of their clients for identification, to leave the registration of the name and the time of use, and to report it to the authorities. In addition to filtering a wide variety of Web content, the Syrian government controls the use of the Internet very closely and has detained citizens.
The Government of Vietnam has requested Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft to offer information to all bloggers using their websites. The Government has set up an organization specifically to control the material on the Internet, to censor websites that are critical to the Government of Vietnam, expatriate political parties, and foreign human rights organizations, among others.
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