The Internet is widely known as a go-to area for instant information. Most people consult the Internet for information, ideas, and education.
Due to the strong influence of the Internet on people’s lives, it has become a threat to governments. Information shared on the Internet may get to people and change their thoughts and perceptions.
This is something authoritative governments won’t like; hence, websites are censored.
What is Internet Censorship?
Internet censorship is control of what the public can access on the Internet. It involves the repress of what users view, publish, and share on the Internet.
All countries practice internet censoring to a moderate extent. However, there are some countries where the netizens are denied the right to access the Internet freely. In this post, the countries with extreme internet censoring will be covered in detail.
Countries with Internet Censorship
In a bid to domesticate internet traffic, China came about “the Great Firewall of China.”
China restricts access to many popular websites and instead had internal alternatives for its internet users. Facebook, Google, and Wikipedia are giant victims of China’s firewall.
Instead, China introduces its platforms for the consumption of internet users. Sites like Youku, Baidu (search engine), which came as an alternative for YouTube, Google, and WeChat (instant messaging and social media), are what China offers to its internet users as a replacement for the censored websites.
These platforms have a rigid content monitoring and restriction system, far better than their censored counterparts, however, they continue to miss the glorious Google, and Facebook.
Cuba adopted a weird method of internet censorship – its citizens were denied access to the Internet!
In addition to limiting infrastructure that grants access to the Internet, Cuba also prevents access to so many sites. Cuba was listed as an “internet enemy” by reporters in 2006.
In 2007, the internet limits were relaxed, and citizens were allowed to own smartphones and computers. However, this did not make a significant difference as their internet connection is notoriously bad.
Cubans could only access the Internet using their smartphones and a connection to one of the many public hotspots across the urban cities.
3. Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia also has an effective system of internet censorship. All materials considered immoral under Islamic law are prohibited. Any content that appears to go against the royal family is also prevented.
All international traffic in Saudi Arabia is made to pass through the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, a content filter that removes (filters) content adjudged inappropriate by the government.
Popular websites are not blocked in Saudi Arabia but restricted. For example, social services like Telegram are subjected to data throttling. This prevents images and file sharing among users in the country.
Sites that may also be blocked by the Saudi Arabian censorship include websites that contain anti-Islamic content, like gambling, pornography, etc. However, censorship has been effective in preventing the spread of terrorism content in the country.
In Somalia, less than 2% of the population has access to the Internet. Notwithstanding, heavy internet censorship is under practice.
Somalia’s method of internet censorship is the total shutdown of internet connectivity or the disconnection of sites threatening the monarchy of the government.
Iran also practices and enforces strict internet censoring. Anti-government sites and X-rated sites are banned while other websites, mainly social media, are closely monitored and restricted.
Most popular websites are unavailable in Iran, as about half of the 500 top websites in the world are blocked. Care is also taken to make sure that the citizens do not use a VPN to bypass the censorship.
This makes the accessibility of the Internet in Iran seem impossible.
6. North Korea
North Korea is a country that uses a protected form of the Internet. All media content in South Korea faces some censorship, from radio and television content to the even more powerful internet content.
Besides that, North Korean citizens only use North Korean smartphones and visit North Korean websites. They do not have a freely accessible internet like it is in other parts of the world. They create their versions of all popular websites which are available to their citizens.
Furthermore, the North Korean worldwide web is divided into two. Government officials and other high ranking persons get a unique website connection.
The North Korean web consists majorly of a few social media sites and tons of information promoting the North Korean government.
What if my country censors the Internet?
If you live in a country where the Internet is heavily censored, does that mean you couldn’t reaccess the restricted or blocked websites? No.
Once a website is blocked by government policy, and the website came down, there are two possible solutions to the problem.
- Leave the country and migrate to a country where the website is not banned or censored for uninterrupted access to the Internet.
- Buy a reliable VPN (a virtual private network) and use the content unblocking feature to unblock the content you wish to access.
On the other hand, leaving the country is unrealistic and may not be worth it. The easiest and most reliable way is buying a VPN.
What is the best VPN for bypassing content restrictions?
Many VPN services advertise content unblocking features. However, randomly choosing any VPN service is a great mistake that shouldn’t be made.
To get full content unblocking and bypass internet censorship in your country, the best VPN to choose is RitaVPN.
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