Internet Freedom Declines for Fifth Straight Year in 2015

Here’s the annual map of global Internet freedom, drawn from Freedom on the Net 2015, released this week by Freedom House. The news is not good: Internet freedom worldwide declined for the fifth straight year in 2015, with more governments censoring information of public interest while expanding surveillance and restricting privacy tools, the report found. More than 61 percent of Internet users reside where criticism of governments, militaries, or ruling families have been subject to online censorship. A striking 58 percent live in countries where people have been imprisoned for posting political, social, or religious content.

Global Press Freedom Dives to Lowest Point in Over 10 Years

The annual report on freedom of the press by Freedom House is out, and the results are grim: Freedom of the Press 2015 finds that harsh laws and violence have driven press freedom to its lowest level in over a decade. “Conditions for the media deteriorated sharply in 2014 to reach their lowest point in more than 10 years, as journalists around the world encountered more restrictions from governments, militants, criminals, and media owners,” states the report.

Global Press Freedom Drops to Lowest Level in a Decade

Freedom House is out with its annual look at global press freedom, and the news is pretty grim: press freedom has fallen to its lowest level in more than a decade. Behind the decline were major losses in the Middle East, Turkey, Ukraine, and East Africa, as well as “deterioration in the relatively open media environment of the United States.” There were positive developments in other places, notably in sub-Saharan Africa, but the dominant trends were not good: “setbacks in every other region,” according to the report. Only one in seven people now live in a country with a free press. For more on this, see Freedom of the Press 2014.

Less than 14% of World Lives in Countries with Free Press

The percentage of the global population living in countries with a free press is at the lowest level in more than a decade, according to the findings of Freedom of the Press 2013: A Global Survey of Media Independence, a new report by the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Freedom House. The report found that just 14 percent of the world’s population — about one in six people—live in societies “where coverage of political news is robust, the safety of journalists is guaranteed, state intrusion in media affairs is minimal, and the press is not subject to onerous legal or economic pressures.” The overall decline in press freedom is highlighted by various cases. As a region, Latin America experienced a further tightening of controls on the media, led by Ecuador and Paraguay, which dropped from Party Free to Not Free. Moreover, there was an important downturn in Mali and a significant deterioration in Greece. The report also notes uneven conditions in the Middle East in 2012, which again ranked as the world’s worst region for press freedom.