Broad surveillance, new laws controlling web content, and growing arrests of social-media users drove a worldwide decline in internet freedom in the past year, according to a new study released today by Freedom House. Nonetheless, Freedom on the Net 2013 also found that activists are becoming more effective at raising awareness of emerging threats and, in several cases, have helped forestall new repressive measures.
Freedom House is deeply concerned about a new wave of discriminatory bills against LGBTI rights in Kazakhstan and Russia, as parliaments in both countries have proposed new draconian restrictions on the rights of LGBTI people.
Sudan must end a violent government crackdown that has resulted in the deaths of more than 100 protesters, including children, and the arbitrary arrest of several hundred individuals. Freedom House is increasingly concerned by reports of violence and calls on the government of Sudan to immediately stop the killing and unlawful arrest of civilians, and to respect the rights of the Sudanese people to life, freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, and freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly.
Freedom House strongly condemns today’s sentencing of prominent Vietnamese blogger, lawyer, and human rights defender Le Quoc Quan to 30 months in prison and a fine of $59,000, and calls upon the government of Vietnam to immediately release him and dismiss his sentence.