Of the 65 countries assessed in the Freedom on the Net 2016 report, 34 have been on a negative trajectory since June 2015 as governments expand their online censorship and surveillance regimes to increasingly include the blocking of social media and other mass-communication platforms.
In 2016 many countries, including Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, and Russia, continued to censor online content either through blocking, content removal, or prosecution of individuals. In Iran, for example, hundreds of people were taken into custody after their WhatsApp, Instagram, and Telegram posts were deemed by Iran to be “immoral,” “illegal,” and “un-Islamic.
Websites of international news agencies are often blocked in many countries. In order to connect people to these sites, we've featured and recommended tools in the following languages: English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Farsi, Chinese, and Russian.
We provide information on how to access and download the tools, and in some cases feature guides on their use. Oftentimes, governments will try to block these circumvention tools—we update the site regularly with information to help you access the Internet.
Representatives from the anti-censorship divisions of these media organizations have set out to increase Internet freedom for people currently living in repressive environments where regimes aim to block access to information and threaten freedom of expression.