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/Myanmar
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

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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 ?

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