The world we live in gave us global Internet, universal right to freedom of expression, but also selective application of national laws to online space. When starting the analysis a few questions were set out as a reference point: Is modern Internet still the same as it was constructed by its founders? How much discretion should the governments enjoy when deciding on the limitations of Internet freedom? These and many other collateral questions are subject of heated discussions at all international forums related to Internet governance and human rights. And while answers are not there, Internet freedom is in danger for many years in a row. If proper actions won’t be taken by international community, we may witness even worse decline of freedom of expression in the upcoming years, and very likely in the countries that gave no alarm signals before. There is also a common misbelief that blocking is something possible and feasible in technologically advanced countries. We decided to check whether technological sophistication and censoring policies always go hand in hand, using the examples of Ukraine, Russia, and Turkey.
The comparative analysis consistently unveils legal framework for Internet freedom, specifics of Internet blocking, statistics naming the most hostile governments, results of Internet freedom survey in Ukraine, as well as restrictive practices implemented in the region by Ukraine, Russia, and Turkey. It concludes with a number of recommendations addressed to the governments in order to ensure proper respect and protection for Internet freedom.
The comparative analysis “Internet Blocking: Fragmenting Network & Violating Freedoms” was prepared by a non-governmental organisation “Digital Defenders Partners” (DDP) within the framework of the project “Securitization of Internet Freedom” implemented under the support of the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI).
IFEX, a global network of independent non-governmental organizations working to defend and promote freedom of expression as a fundamental human right, published “The Faces of Free Expression” – 102 profiles of human rights defenders from around the world, drawing attention to their struggles. 16 of them are from the region of Eastern and Central Europe and Eurasia.
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In July 2017, right before taking a summer break, the Parliament of Ukraine has registered two controversial draft laws allegedly aimed at countering threats to national security in information sphere. The bills 6676 and 6688 are almost identical, with the second one having been registered the next day after the first one was recalled from the Parliament. There were also two new authors added. (more…)