In 2006, in the midst of the furor over the publication of Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, Freedom House issued a statement that declared:
At the heart of the cartoon controversy is the right, now and in the future, of an independent and uncensored press—and artists and writers in other venues—to comment on the issues of the day without interference from the state or threat from discomfited or aggrieved groups.
We now find ourselves embroiled in yet another uproar over freedom of expression and the sensitivities of the Muslim world. While the level of violence provoked by the Innocence of Muslims thus far has been notably lower than was the case with the Danish cartoons or, especially, the publication of Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses, the response of the world’s political leadership has often been more disturbing than in the previous episodes.
Freedom House is deeply disturbed by regulations issued this week by China's authoritarian leaders that warn video-sharing websites to increase censorship, further restricting what is already one of the world's most repressive internet environments.