The Islamic Republic claims to champion internet freedom, but in reality, it imposes restrictions.
According to IranGate, the Islamic Republic consistently ranks among the worst in terms of internet freedom, alongside other authoritarian regimes. It is enough to mention the limited and blocked personal and social freedoms to see that the Islamic Republic uses oppressive tools and censorship to suppress these areas.
IranGate has published a report based on the latest statistics and information from reputable non-governmental organizations, examining the state of internet freedom in Iran.
The non-governmental organization Freedom House announced in a report that Iran had the worst decline in internet freedom worldwide in 2023, with a negative score of five out of 100.
The report states that after the death of Mahsa Jina Amini in the detention of the Guidance Patrol, the Islamic Republic cut off the internet, blocked WhatsApp and Instagram, and increased surveillance to suppress anti-government protests, resulting in the highest regression in internet freedom evaluation worldwide.
Furthermore, Iran has been mentioned alongside Myanmar as a country where their authorities have imposed the death penalty on citizens for expressing their opinions online, and two Iranians have been executed for blasphemy after posting content on Telegram channels.
This report refers to Youssef Mehrdad and Sadrallah Fazeli Zare, two active users on social networks who were executed on May 8th of this year by the judiciary of the Islamic Republic on charges of insulting Islamic sanctities and Prophet Muhammad.
According to this report, in terms of internet freedom decline in 2023, after Iran, the Philippines ranked second with a negative four score, followed by Belarus, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua, each with a negative three score.
For the ninth consecutive year, China has been named the worst country for internet freedom in this report. It is also mentioned that during the period covered by this report, internet access was restricted in at least 16 countries.
According to this report, in 55 out of 70 countries surveyed, citizens have faced legal prosecution for expressing their opinions online, and in 41 countries, people have been physically attacked or killed for expressing their opinions in the online space.
Freedom House has also stated that the advancement of artificial intelligence has allowed some governments to strengthen and expand their control over online information by employing automated censorship systems.
Furthermore, the governments of 41 countries have blocked websites that are supposed to operate under the standards of freedom of expression in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, using traditional methods. Even in democratic countries like the United States and European countries, restrictions have been imposed on websites or social networks under the pretext of concern over fake news and online security.
This report concludes that the decline of internet freedom in the world has continued for the thirteenth consecutive year, as it has worsened in 27 countries and only improved in 22 countries. Freedom House reported last year that Iran imposes the most restrictions on the internet after China and Myanmar.
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