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Freedom on Net Report 2019: Key Facts

Published on Friday, November 22, 2019
Freedom on Net Report 2019: Key Facts
  • The Freedom on Net Report 2019 has been released by the think tank Freedom House. This is the 9th edition of Freedom on Net Report 2019. It is a report that tracks improvement and decrease in freedom of the internet each year. Freedom on Net Report 2019 has measured the level of internet and digital media freedom in 65 countries across the world.
  • The report provides a numerical score out of 100 to each country on the basis of its performance in internet freedom. Here, a score of 100 means the country is most free and 0 means the country is least free in terms of internet freedom. Other than this, the score between 70-100 means the country is free, a score between 40-69 means the country is partly free and score between 39-0 means the country is not free.

These ratings are determined on the basis of three broad categories-

  • OBSTACLES TO ACCESS: This parameter assesses government efforts to block specific applications or technologies, and ownership control over internet and mobile phone access providers; infrastructural and economic barriers to access;
  • LIMITS ON CONTENT: The parameter determines blocking and filtering of websites; manipulation of content; forms of censorship; usage of digital media for social and political activism and the diversity of online news media.
  • VIOLATIONS OF USER RIGHTS: This parameter determines legal protections and restrictions on surveillance; online activity; privacy; and repercussions for online activity.

Global Findings-

  • According to the Freedom on Net Report 2019, 33 countries out of 65 have shown a decline in internet freedom since June 2018 while only 16 countries have shown improvement.
  • The number of countries showing decline is more than countries showing improvement for the ninth consecutive time.
  • The 65 countries in the report represent 87 per cent of the world's internet user population. Over 1.5 billion internet users which are around 39 per cent of global users live in three countries— India, China and the United States.
  • Iceland has topped the list of 65 countries in Internet freedom with a score of 95.
  • Iceland is followed by Estonia (94) and Canada (87) to rank second and third in the list.
  • Ethiopia has recorded the largest gain in its score from last year.
  • Sudan and Kazakhstan have seen the biggest decline in their score from the last year.
  • Governments across the world are harnessing a large amount of data for social media surveillance. 40 out of 65 have used advanced social media monitoring programs.
  • The freedom of expression is under danger and 47 out of 65 countries have seen arrests of users for political, social, or religious speech.
  • Governments in 38 countries out of 60 have employed bots or and fake accounts to manipulate social media.
  • China has been ranked last in the list with a score of 10. China has been termed as the world’s worst abuser of internet freedom for the fourth consecutive year.

Regional Rankings-

  • Australia has topped Asia-Pacific region.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa region has been topped by South Africa.
  • Iceland has topped the Europe region.
  • Armenia has topped Eurasia region.
  • Canada has topped the Americas.

India Specific Findings-

  • India has a score of 55 on the measuring scale in the Freedom on Net Report 2019.
  • Parties in India like BJP and Congress respectively deployed 1.2 million and 800,000 die-hard supporters to create and disseminate disinformation that amplified the party line on platforms including WhatsApp and Facebook. Thus, India is partly free in terms of Digital Election Interference.
  • India has been ranked 7th in the Asia-Pacific region.


Q: 1. Who has released the Freedom on Net Report 2019?
2. Freedom House
3. Google
4. Organisation for Expression and Freedom
5. Freedom Source
Answer – (2)

The Freedom on Net Report 2019 has been released by the think tank Freedom House.

Q: 2. Where are the headquarters of Freedom House?
1. Paris, France
2. The Netherlands, Hague
3. Brussels, Belgium
4. Washington D.C., USA
5. Geneva, Switzerland
Answer- (4)

The Freedom House is headquartered in Washington D.C, USA.

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