Belarus continues to sit near the bottom of the global internet freedom ranking, according to the Freedom House democracy watchdog’s 2019 World Internet Freedom Index.
Free speech and privacy on the internet declined globally for the ninth consecutive year. The report names two reasons for the decline: online election interference and government surveillance, both spreading on social media.
A study focused on 65 countries around the globe, covering 87%of the world’s internet users and tracked improvements and declines in internet freedom conditions from June 2018 to May 2019.
Each country’s ranking was composed of three indicators: a country’s obstacles to internet access, content limits, and user rights violations. Since last year, some 33 countries had an overall decline in their internet freedom score.
Only 16 countries registered improvements in their scores in the past year and Belarus is not one of them, the country gathered just 35 out of 100 scored, putting itself in a “not free internet” category along with Russia. Meanwhile, Ukraine was qualified as a “partly free” country.
Interestingly, the map shows that Belarus’ western neighbours have a better situation with the internet freedom (70-100 scores and “free internet” mark), while those in the east have their scores gradually decreasing (up to 40).
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So, while Russia has 31 scores, Kazakhstan – 32 scores, Uzbekistan already 26, and in China even 10. By the way, the researchers ranked China as the world’s worst abuser of the internet freedoms for the fourth consecutive year.
Iran, Syria and Vietnam also scored low on the rankings. Iceland became the world’s best protector of internet freedom. Estonia, Canada, Germany, the UK, the U.S. and Australia round up the top five countries with “free” internet access.