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 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.