China and Saudi Arabia are notorious for keeping their citizens in check online, but they are not the only countries that monitor their population’s activities on the web. The internet has proven to be a beast of its own, and regulating it has been highly inconvenient and unsuccessful. Most of the bans mentioned below have been lifted because people have found a way around the firewall or just adapted new websites to get access to the banned media and services.
But that doesn't mean governments have stopped trying. Here are 5 other countries that haveattempted to ban the web:
Following the publication of satirical images of the prophet Muhammad on Facebook in May 2010, Bangladesh attempted to ban Facebook. The ban was unsuccessful, barely lasting a week.
The country continuously works ban any content it considers to be blasphemous, anti-Islamic, or threatening to internal security.
In Syria, you can be jailed for accessing political content online or simply using Twitter. If you want to publish a website, you need permission of the Syrian government before it goes live.
Vietnam has never officially banned anything on the internet. However, the Vietnamese government closely monitors the activities of its citizens and occasionally makes access to popular websites (like Facebook) unavailable.
Internet censorship has been common practice for Iran since 2005. In 2012, the Iranian government banned Google and censored Gmail at the same time as the Arab Spring.
After reflecting on this list for a couple of minutes, you can note some similarities between the countries. All the countries mentioned are either communist or claim to be a representative democracy.
Another notable coincidence is that most of the countries mentioned are predominantly Muslim. Bangladesh and Pakistan placed bans to curb protests and prohibit access to content disrespecting Prophet Muhammad. The sanctions in Iran in 2012 were enforced to prevent democratic protests similar to those taking place in the rest of the Middle East.
Further, most of the sanctions proposed by the governments of these countries at some point were because of Facebook (Click her to learn more about the Facebook bans). Also, most of the bans placed by these countries were either “unofficial,” short-lived, or poorly managed.
As the internet continues to grow, unfortunately, censorship will also grow. The web is a place to express free opinions and out of fear, some governments are going to continue to take the steps to find ways to regulate its use by their citizens.