Top 10 Countries that Censor the Internet


The UAE is a country situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf.  Internet censorship in the UAE focuses on two particular areas, criticism against the governments in the Middle East and pornography.  The authorities use SmartFilter, a popular filtering program, to hinder all sites that offer gambling, pornography, illegal drugs and religious conversion content.  Apart from such sites, it seems that access to Israeli-based sites, the Bahai faith, English dating sites and those that support gay and lesbian issues in the Middle East is also prohibited.


Saudi Arabia is officially known as The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and is the largest state in Western Asia by land area.  Saudi Arabia directs all international Internet traffic through a proxy farm, content filter is implemented there.  On 11 July 2006 the Saudi government blocked access to Wikipedia and Google Translate, which was being used to bypass the filters on the blocked sites by translating them.  In 2011, the Saudi government introduced new Internet rules and regulations that require all online newspapers and bloggers to obtain a special license from the Ministry of Culture and Information.


Turkmenistan was formerly known as Turkmenia.  Turkmenistan is a Turkic state in Central Asia.  Internet services are the least developed in Central Asia. Access to internet services are provided by the government’s ISP company “Turkmentelekom”. It was estimated that in 2010 there were 80,400 internet users in Turkmenistan or roughly 1.6% of total population.


Vietnam was formally the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and is located on the eastern most side of of Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia.  Internet censorship prevents access to websites critical of the Vietnamese government, expatriate political parties, and international human rights organizations, among others. Online police reportedly monitor Internet cafes and cyber dissidents have been imprisoned. Vietnam regulates its citizens Internet access using both legal and technical means. The government’s efforts to regulate, monitor, and provide oversight regarding Internet use has been referred to as a “Bamboo Firewall”.


China is officially The People Republic of China (PRC).  It is the world’s most-populous country, with a population of over 1.3 billion.  Internet censorship is conducted under a wide variety of laws and administrative regulations. In accordance with these laws, more than sixty Internet regulations have been made by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) government, implemented by provincial branches of state-owned ISPs, business companies, and organizations. China has the largest recorded number of imprisoned journalists and cyber-dissidents in the world.  The size of the Internet police is rumored at more than 30,000.


Iran is officially the Islamic Republic of Iran.  It is an country in Southern and Western Asia, the country was previously known to the western world as Persia.  When initially introduced, the Internet services provided by the government within Iran were comparatively open and currently has the second highest percentage of its population online in the Middle East, after Israel.  The Iran government is instituting strict rules on cybercafes and preparing to launch a national internet.It also requires all Iranians to register their web sites with the Ministry of art and culture.  Many bloggers, online activists, and technical staff have faced jail terms, harassment and abuse.


Cuba is officially called the Republic of Cuba and is an Island country in the Caribbean.  The Cuban internet is among the most tightly controlled in the world. A special permit is required to use the Internet and all e-mails are intricately monitored.  Two kinds of online connections are offered in Cuban Internet cafes: a ‘national’ one that is restricted to a simple e-mail service operated by the government, and an ‘international’ one that gives access to the entire Internet. The population is restricted to the first one. To use a computer, Cubans have to give their name and address – and if they write dissent keywords, a popup appears stating that the document has been blocked ‘for state security reasons’, and the word processor or browser is automatically closed.


Syria is officially the Syrian Arab Republic.  Syria is a country in Western Asia bordering Lebanon.  Internet censorship is very strict in Syria, they ban websites for political reasons and arrests people accessing them.  In addition to filtering a wide range of Web content, the Syrian government monitors Internet use very closely and has detained citizens “for expressing their opinions or reporting information online.”


Eritrea is a country in the horn of Africa. The northeast and east of the country has an extensive coastline on the Red Sea, directly across from Saudi Arabia and Yemen.  Eritrea is the only African country to have no privately-owned news media. The public media do nothing but relay the regime’s belligerent and ultra-nationalist discourse. Not a single foreign correspondent now lives in the capital city of Asmara.  The state-owned news agency censors news about external events.  Independent media has been banned since 2001.


The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, commonly referred to as North Korea is a country in East Asia.  North Koreas media is under the strictest government control in the world.  The North Korean constitution provides for freedom of speech and the press; but the government prohibits the exercise of these rights in practice.  North Korea’s first Internet café opened in 2002 as a joint venture with a South Korean Internet company, Hoonnet. Ordinary North Koreans do not have access to the global Internet network, but are provided with a nationwide, public-use Intranet service called Kwangmyong, which features domestic news, an e-mail service, and censored information from foreign websites (mostly scientific).



    • Thanks for the comment megalagom, yes you are right there are so many things we do that we don’t even think about how it would be living with certain restrictions

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