Internet Censorship Around the Globe

internet-censorship-world-map

Depending on where you live, free and open access to the information and entertainment found on the Internet might seem like more of a right than a privilege. But for folks who live in some of the world’s more restrictive societies, some or even most of the Internet remains tantalizingly out of reach, blocked by government censors and their firewalls.

The majority of such Internet censorship is employed in the name of combating software piracy and other types of illegal file sharing (including torrents and file hosting sites such as New Zealand’s controversial Mega.co.nz). It’s interesting to note, however, that while such traffic is actively condemned by both governments and intellectual property advocates alike, corporations such as Netflix are using torrent activity to help them plan their own (legal) offerings.

Another justification for widespread censorship and monitoring of legal content (including torrents, political and social media, and yes, pornography) is state-enforced morality. Countries engaged in this sort of censorship often claim to be looking out for the welfare of their citizenry, but critics are quick to point out that the countries with the most censorship are often the same ones with a history of aggressively suppressing public protest or political unrest.

If you’re taking a trip around the world and plan on accessing the Internet (including basics such as email and social media) while you’re on the road, you may need to review and adjust your itinerary if it includes heavily-censored countries such as Eritrea, China, Somalia, or the famously secretive and regulated North Korea. Torrent users—even those who rely on the embattled tech to share legitimate, legal files—might find themselves out of luck no matter where they go.

It’s not just moral or intellectual outrage that’s driving censorship, of course. With the issue of Net Neutrality dominating news in the tech sector, the specter of another form of censorship—selective or restricted access based on corporate policies, as compared to government intervention—has reared its troubling head. Regardless of the form, it’s clear that equal and open access to the Internet is something no one can afford to take for granted any longer, and that the discussion of how much—if any—of the Internet can or should be censored will continue far into the future.

internet-censorship-world-map

Internet Censorship World Map

The internet, and our freedom to use it as we please, is a contentious issue. Whereas access in some countries can be unrestricted for any materials its government deign legal, in others censorship ranges from governments blocking the dissemination of political opinion, to blacklisting pornographic and social media websites.

No evidence of censorship of legal content

‘Default On’ – content censored unless access requested

Limited access with blocks and monitoring on many sites

Access with heavy restrictions, censorship, and sanctions

No access

Country with heavy censorship

Country Name

Asia

Country

Social Media

Pornography

Political Media

Torrents

Afghanistan

Armenia

Azerbaijan

Bahrain

Bangladesh

Burma

Cambodia

China

Cyprus

Gaza Strip

Georgia

India

Indonesia

Iran

Iraq

Israel

Japan

Jordan

Kazakhstan

Korea, North

Korea, South

Kuwait

Kyrgyzstan

Laos

Lebanon

Malaysia

Mongolia

Nepal

Oman

Pakistan

Philippines

Qatar

Saudi Arabia

Singapore

Sri Lanka

Syria

Tajikistan

Thailand

Tunisia

Turkmenistan

United Arab Emirates

Uzbekistan

Vietnam

Yemen

Africa

Country

Social Media

Pornography

Political Media

Torrents

Algeria

Angola

Egypt

Eritrea

Ethiopia

Gambia, The

Ghana

Kenya

Libya

Malawi

Mauritania

Morocco

Nigeria

Rwanda

South Africa

Sudan

Swaziland

Uganda

North America

Country

Social Media

Pornography

Political Media

Torrents

Bahamas, The

Canada

Cuba

Guatemala

Mexico

United States

South America

Country

Social Media

Pornography

Political Media

Torrents

Argentina

Brazil

Chile

Colombia

Ecuador

Paraguay

Peru

Venezuela

Europe

Country

Social Media

Pornography

Political Media

Torrents

Austria

Belarus

Belgium

Bulgaria

Croatia

Czech Republic

Denmark

Estonia

Finland

France

Germany

Greece

Hungary

Iceland

Ireland

Isle of Man

Italy

Latvia

Moldova

Netherlands

Norway

Poland

Portugal

Romania

Russia

Slovakia

Slovenia

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland

Turkey

Ukraine

United Kingdom

Australia

Country

Social Media

Pornography

Political Media

Torrents

Australia

Fiji

New Zealand

Most democratic countries have little Internet censorship, mainly to control piracy. However, some countries limit access to information and suppress discussion among citizens, often in anticipation of elections, protests, and riots.

Freedom of the Internet is not a guarantee.

Sources

  • List of Countries of the World – listofcuontriesoftheworld.com
  • Era of Digital Mercenaries – surveillance.rsf.org
  • Internet Censorship Listed – theguardian.com
  • Burma (Myanmar) – opennet.net
  • Freedom on the Net – freedomhouse.org
  • New Internet Censorship Rules Take Effect in Gaza – jpost.com
  • Freedom House Georgia – freedomhouse.org
  • Internet Freedom Plummets in India – Indiarealtime
  • Freedom House Indonesia – freedomhouse.org
  • Freedom House Kazakhstan – freedomhouse.org
  • Kazakhstan’s Social Networking Restrictions Spur Censorship Debate – washingtontimes.com
  • North Korea: On the Net in World’s Most Secretive Nation – bbc.co.uk
  • Net Freedom under Fire in Kyrgyzstan – netprophet.tol.org
  • Freedom House Libya – freedomhouse.org
  • Oman – opennet.net
  • Syria – Reporters without Borders – en.rsf.org
  • Syria – surveillance.rsf.org
  • Internet Censorship in Dubai and the UAE – plenz.com
  • New Study on Internet Censorship and Political Activism in Uzbekistan – techpresident.com
  • Vietnam Announces Big Fines for Social Media ‘Propaganda’ – reuters.com
  • Internet Filtering in Yemen – opennet.net
  • Internet Censorship in Southeast Asian Countries – saigonist.com
  • Freedom House Cambodia – freedomhouse.org

Download this infographic.

Embed Our Infographic On Your Site!

Get Exclusive "Subscribers Only" Content

Join our newsletter & be first to hear when we publish new posts.

Get Exclusive "Subscribers Only" Content

Join our newsletter & be first to hear when we publish new posts.

Twitter Facebook

Discussion

6 Comments to “Internet Censorship Around the Globe”

  1. wtf?! Greece has restrictions? I’m able to watch porn while downloading TB’s of games, movies, series, and trolling around FB. If be “restriction” you mean that if i upload a video of chlid pornography and get arrested, then then the rest of Europe is not free, it’s just medieval

  2. Obsolete, verify your data !!

  3. In France, some of streaming-website are censored.

    SEO prohibited by law.

    The websites in question were indeed a lot of illegal content. But it is nevertheless an attack on freedom of the net to prohibit a search engine to censor a site.

  4. Verify your data please, im from Tunisia and after the revolution (since 2011) we dont have any censorship. All websites and all protocols work here 😉

  5. FAIL!!! In Colombia NOT restricted the use of TORRENT. It is COMPLETELY LEGAL!

  6. and where is it VENEZUELA ?

What Do You Think?

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>