Reporters Without Borders is asking Congress to take a stand in favor of Net neutrality after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the Federal Communications Commission lacks the authority under existing legal framework to prevent Internet service providers from blocking or slowing specific websites.
“This is a major stepback”, the organization said “The ruling is contradictory to the government’s commitment to Net neutrality and equal access to the Internet for all American citizens. It allows Internet service providers to control Internet traffic, rerouting people to sites and search engines they own. This is not only a commercial decision, it also has enormous consequences for the free flow of information. The neutrality principle has made the Internet an open, creative and free space. It is already being put under threat by the world’s authoritarian states, led by China and Iran. It would be disastrous if the United States was to go against this key principle.”
The “Enemies of the Internet” list drawn up again this year by Reporters Without Borders presents the worst violators of freedom of expression on the Net: Saudi Arabia, Burma, China, North Korea, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Uzbekistan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.
Some of these countries are determined to use any means necessary to prevent their citizens from having access to the Internet: Burma, North Korea, Cuba, and Turkmenistan – countries in which technical and financial obstacles are coupled with harsh crackdowns and the existence of a very limited Intranet. Internet shutdowns or major slowdowns are commonplace in periods of unrest. The Internet’s potential as a portal open to the world directly contradicts the propensity of these regimes to isolate themselves from other countries. Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan have opted for such massive filtering that their Internet users have chosen to practice self-censorship. For economic purposes, China, Egypt, Tunisia and Vietnam have wagered on a infrastructure development strategy while keeping a tight control over the Web’s political and social content (Chinese and Tunisian filtering systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated), and they are demonstrating a deep intolerance for critical opinions. The serious domestic crisis that Iran has been experiencing for months now has caught netizens and the new media in its net; they have become enemies of the regime.
Read the rest of the report (PDF File) from Reporters Without Borders HERE