Kazakhstan among countries with most deteriorating Internet freedoms — Freedom House

NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — Kazakhstan, Sudan, Brazil, and some other countries saw the worst deterioration in Internet freedoms over the past year, according to a new Freedom House report that also documented how governments increasingly use social media to monitor citizens and manipulate elections.

The Washington-based organization’s Freedom of the Net report, released on November 5, documented growing attempts by populist leaders and their allies to distort domestic politics. It also examined efforts to block websites or cut off Internet access in many countries, as part of efforts by various regimes to stay in power, RFE/RL reported.

“Many governments are finding that on social media, propaganda works better than censorship,” Mike Abramowitz, president of Freedom House, said in a statement accompanying the annual report.

The democracy research group said in 26 of the 30 countries it studied, where national elections were held over the past year, there were incidents of disinformation being used. In 40 of 65 countries the group examined, “advanced social media surveillance programs” were reported in use.

The countries that saw the biggest deterioration in Internet freedoms included Kazakhstan, where the resignation of longtime ruler Nursultan Nazarbayev, and the election of his anointed successor, was met with widespread protests.

“The government temporarily disrupted internet connectivity, blocked over a dozen local and international news websites, and restricted access to social media platforms in a bid to silence activists and curb digital mobilization,” Freedom House said. “Also contributing to the country’s internet freedom decline were the government’s efforts to monopolize the mobile market and implement real-time electronic surveillance.”

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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