Internet Freedom on the Downward Trend for Eight Years

The flag of the Chinese Communist Party is displayed at an exhibition showcasing China's progress in the past five years at the Beijing Exhibition Center on Oct. 10 2017

Freedom on the Net is a investigates internet freedom in 65 countries around the globe, covering 87 percent of the world's internet users, tracking improvements and declines in internet freedom conditions each year. "Governments in countries such as Egypt and Iran rewrote restrictive media laws to apply to social media users, jailed critics under measures created to curb false news, and blocked foreign social media and communication services".

The report, an annual study of how the government controls freedom of the internet, gives various instances, of which one is a video showing a child being kidnapped in Tamil Nadu.

Established in 1941 and based in D.C., Freedom House is largely funded by the U.S. Department of State, and its report credits the support of donors including the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Google.

The report added: "Securing internet freedom against the rise of digital authoritarianism is fundamental to protecting democracy as a whole".

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The report is critical of Sri Lanka and India, which have periodically shut down or limited access to the internet.

'Democracies are struggling in the digital age, while China is exporting its model of censorship and surveillance to control information both inside and outside its borders, ' said Michael Abramowitz, president of Freedom House.

Ranked Free this year, Armenia scored 27 out of 100 in the global internet freedom ranking - the lower the number, the better a country ranks.

The Freedom House naturally expressed concern over this trend.

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Chinese officials have held training and seminars on new media or information management with representatives from 36 out of the 65 countries covered in this survey.

The researchers said online freedom also declined in the United States in part due to the rollback of "net neutrality" rules which ensured that all data be treated equally, without "fast" or "slow" lanes for commercial or other reasons.

While the meeting has only just got underway, most experts expect the issue of internet governance - the key argument over which boils down to whether only governments should be able to set global policy, or if civil society and industry should have a role as well - to dominate matters again in Dubai.

As of March, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), as the junta is formally known, has also prosecuted at least 94 people since taking power on charges of violating Lese-Majeste, a royal defamation law under which offenders can be sentenced to as many as 15 years in prison for sharing a story on Facebook, according to iLaw, an advocacy group for online law education.

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The report also recommends that policymakers ensure that human rights assessments - including the rights to privacy and free expression - are taken into account when new artificial-intelligence technologies are implemented.

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