Reporters Without Borders lists 15 'enemies of Internet'

"Enemies" are countries such as Iran, Syria, and Cuba that harass or imprison internet users.

By TALYA HALKIN
November 20, 2005 22:23
2 minute read.
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The Paris-based, international organization Reporters without Borders marked the World Summit on the Information Society - which took place in Tunisia under the auspices of the UN - by publishing a list of "The 15 enemies of the Internet and other countries to watch." The countries the organization defined as "enemies" were those that condone Internet crackdowns, censor-independent news sites, opposition publications and bloggers, and harassing, or even imprisoning Internet users. The countries included in this category were Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Iran, Libya, The Maldives, Nepal, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. In addressing Syria, the Reporters without Borders report stated: "The regime restricts Internet access to a minority of privileged people, filters the Web and very closely monitors online activity. A Kurdish journalism student is in prison for posting photos on a foreign-based site of a demonstration in Damascus. Another Internet user was freed in August 2005 after more than two years in prison for simply passing e-mail on a foreign-produced newsletter. Both were tortured in prison." The report also included a list of "countries to watch," including the US and the European Union; these countries were defined as showing a growing interest in controlling the Internet for reasons such as fighting terrorism, pedophilia and Internet-based crime. The measures taken to this end, the report argued, "sometimes threaten freedom of expression." Israel was not mentioned in the report.

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