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Written by The Informed Aussie
Published on Wednesday, February 29th, 2012
We may consider the Internet, television, newspapers and radio as mediums we have an automatic right to use and view. We like to think of ourselves as democratic, free speakers who can voice our opinions and listen to those of others whenever we want to, whether or not they go against government policies and beliefs.
We are lucky, however, as many countries censor the media beyond anything we could comprehend, using filtering software to block certain sites from voicing their political opinions. Here we give you a run down of the most censored nations in the world.
Cuba is a socialist, one party state, where everything from media influence to workers’ wages is heavily regulated. In fact, the Internet isn’t just censored, it is banned completely and anyone wanting to access the net has to apply for a special permit. However these are rarely handed out and even when they are, downloads, page views and e-mails are heavily monitored. To the Cubans this is a way of life and as a nation they are denied many things we take for granted every day.
All television, radio and newspapers are run and controlled by the government with all channel content produced by government sources. The Korean Central News Agency produces all the news related programmes and many of the non-news content as well. The news centred around the countries late leader Kim Jong Il and his public engagements, along with positive updates on his party’s progress. The media coverage has manifested itself so deeply into Korean society that it has been reported that when there is a disaster, such as a train crash or building collapse, citizens rush around trying to save artefacts displaying their leader before looking for their own family members. Question is, will Kim Jong Un receive the same level of respect?
The State Peace and Development Council (known as the Junta) governs Burma with Than Shwe at its helm as chairman. The Junta own all the newspapers, radio stations and television channels and nothing negative is reported on. Computers which are going to be used to access the Internet need to be registered with a government body and a fee has to be paid. The amount is so high most of Burma’s population cannot afford it and computers with Internet access are so highly filtered that many sites are blocked. However, all this could come to an end as in recent months the head of Burma’s powerful press censorship department has called for greater media freedom in his country. The BBC reported, “Tint Swe said censorship was incompatible with democratic practices and should be abolished in the near future.” As for now though, Burma remains one of the heaviest regulated countries in the world.
Although Colonel Muammar Gaddafi is now dead after the recent unrest, the dictator had a long reign since he stepped up to power in 1969. In this time he terrorised his country, had complete control of media coverage and remained unchallenged until this year. The government owned (and still does as this goes to print) all print and broadcast media with government officials providing content to all mediums. The Internet is also extremely regulated and journalists who dare to challenge the government on independent sites do it at their own peril. Dayf al-Ghazal al-Shuhaibi was shot recently after writing negatively online, no one was charged and no one claimed responsibility. Soon after, Internet writer Abdel Razek al-Mansouri was jailed for his online writings critical of the government.
The Syrian government monitors newspaper, television and radio content heavily. It also watches Internet use very closely and has detained citizens “for expressing their opinions or reporting information online.” In 2007 Facebook was banned as it was deemed harmful to the political parties and Wikipedia was blocked for a year from April 2008. The newspapers are privately owned but by loyalists who still make sure the coverage is geared towards the government in power.