Comparitech, a technology company based in the United Kingdom, which provides information to help readers and businesses become more cyber secure and cyber aware, has released a study highlighting a country-by-country comparison showing which countries impose the harshest internet restrictions and where citizens can enjoy the most online freedom
The study titled “Internet Censorship 2022: A Global Map of Internet Restrictions” indicates that more than 60 per cent of the world’s population (5.03 billion people) use the internet and is a source of instant information, entertainment, news, and social interactions for them.
In the exploratory study, researchers conducted a country-by-country comparison to see which countries impose the harshest internet restrictions and where citizens can enjoy the most online freedom. This includes restrictions or bans for torrenting, pornography, social media, and VPNs. It also explores whether there are restrictions or heavy censorship of political media and any additional restrictions for messaging/VoIP apps.
Although the usual culprits take the top spots, a few seemingly free countries rank surprisingly high and with ongoing restrictions and pending laws, online freedom is at more risk than ever.
Countries were scored on six criteria. Each is given two points aside from the messaging/VoIP apps with one point (this is due to many countries banning or restricting certain apps but allowing ones run by the government/telecoms providers within the country).
The country receives one point if the content—torrents, pornography, news media, social media, VPNs, messaging/VoIP apps—is restricted but accessible, and two points if it is banned entirely. The higher the score, the more censorship.
The worst countries in terms of Internet shutdowns according to the study are North Korea and China which scored 11/11; Iran, Myanmar, Turkmenistan, and UAE which scored 9/11; and Belarus, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, and Uzbekistan which each scored 8/11.
According to the study, in Nigeria, torrents are restricted but not banned or shut down, it adds that pornography is neither banned nor restricted and the country was scored 3.
Among the African countries which the study covered Nigeria was also not among those which actively shut down torrenting sites, restrict online pornography, restrict political media, implement social media restrictions, restrict VPN use, and restrict the use of messaging/VoIP apps.
The full text of the study is available here: https://www.comparitech.com/blog/vpn-privacy/internet-censorship-map/.