The explosion of social networking sites and Web 2.0 has changed the face of the internet. But in many countries around the world, repressive governments are restricting the ability of citizens to access a multitude of websites:
But despite the potential of web 2.0, in regions ridden with censorship and where the state holds the monopoly on information dissemination, open access to the Internet is often a tough goal to achieve considering the “authoritarian reflex” that is activated each time the repressive regimes feel threatened. Governments who already excel at muzzling the traditional media have been turning their efforts lately to the Internet, doing all they can to tighten their grip on this last refuge of communication. The rise of user-generated content is perceived as a threat by a growing number of countries who are seeking to block and control its dissemination by legal and technical means. Rarely does a week pass by without news about yet another major website being blocked by repressive states. Multimedia-sharing websites, social networking communities, mapping tools and popular web 2.0 websites are becoming a primary target of state censorship in more and more countries.
Global Voices Advocacy has developed an “Access Denied Map” detailing the range of countries banning, filtering and censoring the web. The list, shamefully, is growing.