|Governments are frightened of Internet Freedom.|
A Tunisian demonstrator hoists a computer keyboard like
a gun during a demonstration in Tunis. Freedom of information
is opposed by governments from the dawn of time.
Governments desperately try to control the Internet
- Internet reporters and Bloggers are attacked and web-sites blocked to prevent you from hearing the truth.
The global reach of the Internet was supposed to democratize information and improve the lives of millions. But as the sophistication of the World Wide Web has spread, so too have the tools of despotic regimes and other political groups to suppress freedom.
A special reports from Fox News says, that from blocking websites and social networks to monitoring text messages and arresting bloggers and journalists who post online, censorship of the Internet is on the rise, according to several monitoring agencies.
And the ways and means of blocking political discussion, religious freedom, and reports of institutional corruption are getting more invidious, from China to the Middle East.
"Overall, it's getting worse," Jillian York, director for international freedom of expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told FoxNews.com.
In fact, according to Freedom on the Net 2012 -- a survey by independent watchdog group Freedom House -- of the 47 countries covered "20 have experienced a negative trajectory since January 2011, with Bahrain, Pakistan, and Ethiopia registering the greatest declines" in Internet freedom.
Internet Censorship Alert!
Alex Jones exposes agenda to 'blacklist' dissenting web-sites
Iran Internet Censorship
Internet Censorship in China
Made in the USA: Internet Blocking Software
The US has spent at least $20 million to fund software and technologies to help those in the Middle East circumvent Internet censorship. But, the Wall Street Journal has reported much of the technology used to block websites by foreign governments, is developed and sold here in the US.
Far from leading to the spread of democracy and freedom online, the events of the 2011 Arab Spring led many authoritarian countries to clamp down more tightly, fearful of rebellious citizens inciting and organizing online. In other cases, such as that of Pakistan, religious restrictions were the reason for censoring so-called blasphemous speech online.
Still in other countries, such as Mexico, threats and the killing of online reporters and bloggers by drug cartels has stifled reports of criminal activity.
Indeed, the real world effects of such censorship are alarming and getting worse. Last year, 144 journalists, media, and bloggers were killed for their activities, according to Reporters Without Borders.
It was the deadliest year since the organization began tracking such murders in 1995, and nearly double the number of such killings -- 73 -- committed in the previous year. The most egregious offenders were Syria and Somalia, followed by Pakistan.
The goal of such violence is often to staunch the flow of information.
In Iran last November, blogger and cyber-journalist Sattar Beheshti was reportedly tortured to death by prison authorities for allegedly threatening Iran's national security on social networks. (Iran's state prosecutor later confirmed that Beheshti died in police custody and had wounds on his body.)
In Bahrain, which hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet, several online journalists have been tortured and killed for their reporting of the 2011 protests in the country. Zakariya Rashid Hassan al-Ashiri, who reported for a Bahraini Web site, was arrested and died in custody, as did Abdul Kareem Fakhrawi, a co-founder of Al-Wasat, who was also reportedly tortured to death according to the watchdog group Committee to Protect Journalists.
While much of the focus on Internet censorship has centered on large countries like China, there are smaller countries that are guilty of egregious online censorship and suppression, but usually escape notice in the mainstream media. Eritrea, a tiny country across the Red Sea from Saudi Arabia and Yemen, for example, ranks as the worst offender according to the Reporters Without Borders' 2013 Press Freedom Index. It is closely followed by North Korea, Turkmenistan, Syria, Somalia, Iran, China, Vietnam and Cuba.
Read more at: Fox News.