Internet freedom report says rights worsening in USA, worldwide

AFP  File | Chinese officials have held sessions on controlling information with 36 of the 65 countries assessed by a human rights study

India leads the world in the number of internet shutdowns, with over 100 reported incidents in 2018 alone according to a report titled "Freedom on the Net" by a U.S. think tank.

CHINA'S far-reaching foreign policy includes not only investment and political affiliation, but something more insidious and underhand, according to a new report from Freedom House.

India leads the world with the maximum number of Internet shutdowns with as many as 121 instances this year itself, as reported by Freedom Law Centre's "internetshutdowntracker", a Delhi-based software company. And Chinese foreign investment and influence efforts are not new.

For now it's good to see South Africa listed as a free country when it comes to the internet, but more can always be done to improve our status.

The research director of Freedom House, Adrian Shahbaz, claimed that there is now a move towards digital authoritarianism by a host of countries, all-embracing the Chinese model. So, in the category of obstacles to access on the Internet Ukraine scored 9 points, the limitation of content - 16, violation of the rights of users - 20.

India protests China-Pakistan bus via PoK
China has repeatedly said that the Indian-Pakistani territorial dispute had to be settled through dialogue between the two sides. Khan will meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Saturday, when the two countries are expected to sign a series of agreements.

This data widely shows how the Indian government is controlling internet services provided to citizens. He added: "Propaganda and disinformation are increasingly poisoning the digital sphere, and authoritarians and populists are using the fight against fake news as a pretext to jail prominent journalists and social media critics, often through laws that criminalise the spread of false information". In the past, the ITU has been a key body for China and other leading internet censors, particularly Russian Federation, to push for changes to global regulations to legalize or enable their controls.

But Freedom House said the threat to human rights has grown in severity as powerful technology becomes more accessible to governments and their people.

This according to a new report from Freedom House, a pro-democracy organisation, that highlights the level of internet freedom across the globe.

Authorities have also cracked down on the use of VPNs to circumvent the Great Firewall, leading Apple to delete hundreds of the services from its local app store, the report said.

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. "More governments are turning to China for guidance and support at a time when the United States' global leadership is on the decline, and the acquiescence of foreign companies to Beijing's demands only emboldens the regime in its effort to rewrite worldwide rules in its favor".

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