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Freedom House Report

Why is it in the news?

  • According to a report by Freedom House, Global Internet freedom has declined for the 13th consecutive year.
  • The report, titled ‘Freedom on the Net 2023: The Repressive Power of Artificial Intelligence,‘ highlights the growing use of AI by governments for censorship and disinformation.
  • The study covers developments from June 2022 to May 2023 and evaluates Internet freedom in 70 countries, representing 88% of the world’s Internet users.

More about the Report

  • Human rights online have deteriorated in 29 countries, with only 20 countries showing improvements.
  • Iran experienced a sharp rise in digital repression, including Internet shutdowns and increased surveillance in response to anti-government protests.
  • China continues to be ranked as the world’s worst environment for Internet freedom for the ninth consecutive year.
  • Myanmar is identified as the world’s second most repressive country for online freedom.
  • Legal consequences for online expression were observed in a record 55 countries, with 31 countries imposing widespread arrests and multi-year prison terms for online activity.
  • Elections often serve as triggers for digital repression, with incumbent leaders restricting speech and blocking independent news sites to influence the outcome.


What Report says about India

  • In India, the central government incorporated censorship, including AI-based moderation tools, into the country’s legal framework.
  • India’s Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules require AI-based content moderation for certain types of content that could undermine public order, decency, morality, or the country’s sovereignty and security.
  • The government ordered YouTube and Twitter to restrict access to a BBC documentary, leading to automated scanning tools being used to remove related posts.
  • The report warns that India’s expanding censorship regime is silencing criticism and independent reporting, creating an uneven playing field as the country prepares for general elections in 2024.
  • India engaged in various censorship methods, including Internet connectivity restrictions, blocking social media platforms, blocking websites, and forced content removal.
  • India did not engage in VPN blocking but blocked websites hosting political, social, or religious content, disrupted ICT networks, used pro-government commentators to manipulate online discussions, and conducted technical attacks against government critics or human rights organizations.
  • On a scale of 1 to 100, with 100 representing the highest digital freedom and 1 representing the worst repression, India scored 50, while Iceland scored the highest with 94, indicating the best climate of Internet freedom.Top of Form


Freedom House

  • Freedom House is founded on the core conviction that freedom flourishes in democratic nations where governments are accountable to their people.


  • Freedom in the world is Freedom House’s flagship annual report published since 1973. It uses surveys and analysis to tabulate indices around freedom and human rights.


The other publications include

  • Freedom on the Net 2021: The Global Drive to control Big Tech to learn how the coronavirus pandemic is fuelling digital repression worldwide.
  • Nations in Transit: The Antidemocratic Turn is the only comprehensive, comparative, and multidimensional study of reform in the former Communist states of Europe and Eurasia.

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