The most censored countries globally are North Korea, Eritrea, and China. Journalists and media outlets in these countries face significant restrictions on what they can publish. In North Korea, for example, all media is state-owned and strictly controlled by the government.
Any criticism of the regime is forbidden, and journalists who cross the line can be arrested or even executed. Eritrea is also considered one of the most repressive countries in the world. All media is state-owned, and there are no independent news outlets.
The Government tightly controls what can be published, and any criticism of the ruling party is harshly punished. China is home to the world’s largest population of internet users and one of the most repressive regimes regarding freedom of expression online. The government censors a wide range of content, from political dissent to pornography.
Here Are The Most Censored Countries
Cuba is another country that consistently ranks near the bottom of most lists of countries with the most censored media. The Committee to Protect Journalists released its report on the most censored countries in 2020, and Cuba was ranked number 10. In Cuba, all media is owned and operated by the state.
There are no private media outlets in Cuba. The government exercises tight control over what information is released to the public and what is not. Journalists who attempt to report on critical topics of the government can face imprisonment or other forms of punishment.
Belarus is a country located in Eastern Europe. It has 9.5 million people and a GDP of $47.7 billion.
Despite its small size, Belarus is one of the most censored countries globally. The government monitors internet usage and suppresses dissent through censorship and surveillance. In 2019, Belarus was ranked as the second most censored country by Freedom House.
The government exercises tight control over the media and uses propaganda to reinforce its grip on power. Independent journalists face intimidation and harassment, while bloggers and social media users are routinely arrested for posting critical content.
Belarus is also one of the most isolated countries in the world. The government imposes strict controls on travel and maintains a tight grip on the economy. As a result, most Belarusians have limited access to information and opportunities outside their country.
8. Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea is the most censored country in the world, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). In 2020, the government continued to have a dismal record on press freedom, with journalists facing arbitrary arrests, harassment, and intimidation.
Equatorial Guinea ranks at the bottom of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index 2019 released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The country is also listed as one of the “10 Most Censored Countries” by CPJ.
The government of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has a long history of repressing freedom of expression. For example, in February 2020, seven journalists were detained and charged with money laundering after they attempted to cover an opposition rally.
According to RSF, there are currently no independent media in Equatorial Guinea.
According to a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists, Iran is one of the most censored countries globally. The government strictly controls the media, and journalists who dare criticize the government or its policies can face prison time or other retribution.
In addition, social media platforms are heavily monitored, and users can be arrested for posting content that is deemed objectionable. As a result, many Iranians rely on circumvention tools and VPNs to access information that the government does not approve of.
Vietnam is one of the most censored countries in the world. The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) tightly controls all information, and any form of criticism against the government is harshly punished. In 2020, Vietnam was ranked 175th out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index, a decline from its position in 2019 (171st out of 180 countries).
The government employs a wide range of tactics to control the media, including censorship, propaganda, and intimidation. Online media is tightly regulated, and bloggers are frequently arrested and sentenced to prison terms. In 2019, at least ten bloggers and social media users were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 11 months to 14 years.
The CPV also tightly controls the education system. For example, students are taught that the party is always right and must never be questioned.
China has consistently been ranked as one of the most censored countries globally. In 2020, it continued to be a leader in internet censorship, with a long list of banned websites and keywords. The Chinese government employs a large team of censors tasked with monitoring and policing the internet.
The most common censorship methods in China include blocking websites, filtering keywords, and arresting people for posting or sharing prohibited content. In addition, social media platforms such as WeChat and Weibo are heavily censored, and any content deemed sensitive or critical of the government is quickly removed.
Critics argue that the heavy-handed approach to censorship in China is not only ineffective but also counterproductive. By stifling free speech and limiting access to information, the Chinese government essentially prevents its citizens from engaging in open dialogue and learning about the world around them.
4. Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is one of the most censored countries in the world. In 2020, it was ranked number 6 on the list of the most censored countries. The main reason for this is that the government controls the media, and freedom of speech is not allowed.
Criticism of the royal family or Islam is not tolerated and can lead to imprisonment or even death. Social media platforms are also heavily censored, and users can be arrested for posting anything deemed critical of the government or religion.
Turkmenistan is one of the most censored countries globally, and it’s only getting worse. In 2020, Turkmenistan will be ranked as the second most censored country globally according to the World Press Freedom Index. The government of Turkmenistan severely restricts freedom of speech and freedom of the press. There is a very tight grip on what information can be released to the public, and any criticism of the government or its policies is harshly punished.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov has ruled Turkmenistan since 2006. He has continued his predecessor’s policy of strict media censorship and has made it even harsher. In addition to media censorship, there are also severe restrictions on internet access in Turkmenistan.
2. North Korea
Pyongyang, North Korea- The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is the most censored country globally. The government controls all forms of communication, including the internet, radio, and television. According to Reporters Without Borders, there is “no free media” in North Korea. In 2020, the country ranked 177th out of 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index.
The government strictly controls what its citizens can see and hear. All TV and radio programs are pre-approved by the government. Citizens are not allowed to access foreign websites or satellite TV. The only way to get news from outside North Korea is through smugglers who bring in contraband newspapers and magazines.
The internet is also heavily censored in North Korea. As a result, only a few people have access to the internet, and the government closely monitors them.
The Eritrean government is one of the most judgmental in the world. It is ranked as the 5th most censored country globally by the Committee to Protect Journalists. In 2020, Eritrea continued to have a tight grip on the media, with few independent outlets and journalists operating.
Eritrea has been under emergency rule since 2001, which gives the government broad powers to restrict freedom of expression. Authorities have closed down newspapers, arrested journalists, and banned critical websites. In 2019, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranked Eritrea 179th out of 180 countries in its World Press Freedom Index.
Authorities often target the few independent media outlets that operate in Eritrea. For example, in 2019, three journalists from Radio Bana – a station known for its critical reporting – were arrested and charged with treason.
Source: | The Committee to Protect Journalists