This report is the third in a series of comprehensive studies of internet freedom around the globe and covers developments in 47 countries that occurred between January 2011 and May 2012. Over 50 researchers, nearly all based in the countries they analyzed, contributed to the project by researching laws and practices relevant to the internet, testing the accessibility of select websites, and interviewing a wide range of sources.
This year’s findings indicate that restrictions on internet freedom in many countries have continued to grow, though the methods of control are slowly evolving, becoming more sophisticated and less visible. Brutal attacks against bloggers, politically motivated surveillance, proactive manipulation of web content, and restrictive laws regulating speech online are among the diverse threats to internet freedom emerging over the past two years. Nevertheless, several notable victories have also occurred as a result of greater activism by civil society, technology companies, and independent courts, illustrating that efforts to advance internet freedom can yield results.