Report: Nigeria among Least Internet Restrictive Countries

Dike Onwuamaeze

A new report on Internet Freedom Around the World (IFAW) released yesterday has ranked Nigeria among the countries with the fewest internet restrictions in the world.
Nigeria, which was ranked 10 out of 20 countries that were covered by the report, had a censorship score of three over 11; internet freedom score of 57 and internet restriction score of 5.4 over 10.

However, Nigeria was among the lowest countries with number of people online with 49,968 people per 100,000 online users. Nigeria was ranked 18 out of 20 countries ahead of India and Bangladesh which had 46,430 and 30,715 people respectively per 100,000 online users.
But the United Kingdom had the highest number of people online at the ratio of 99,231 per 100,000 people.

The report also showed that the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany topped countries with the greatest internet freedom while China, Iran and Egypt were ranked as nations with the highest internet restrictions in the world, which are clamping down on digital rights for internet users.
The report noted that, “internet freedom is fast becoming an increasingly important issue, as governments around the world seek to limit their citizen’s digital rights, restrict access to or censor information, or even prevent reliable internet access altogether.

“Internet freedom is also on the decline globally, with some activists taking advantage of residential proxies and VPNs to speak out against corrupt regimes and create a fairer society.”

It added that, “internet access is a key aspect of internet freedom, as some governments chose to silence opposing voices by limiting the internet infrastructure of certain areas. This is not the case in France however, as it takes third place for this factor, with just over 94,000 people per 100,000 being regular internet users.”

The report, which was prepared by experts at Proxyrack, United Kingdom, gave a table of 20 countries that it categorised as those with the most, and least, internet restrictions based on their analysis of variables such as internet freedom, censorship, the number of people online per 100,000 people and social media restrictions to give each listed country an ‘Internet Restriction Score’ out of 10.

The report stated that countries with most internet freedom are The United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, France, United States of America, Italy Brazil, Mexico, Philippines and Nigeria.
But the countries with highest internet restrictions, according to the report are China, Iran, Egypt, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand, India, Turkey, Russia and Indonesia.

The report added: “The United Kingdom is the least Internet-restricted country in the world, with 99,231 people online (per 100,000), a censorship score of two, an Internet freedom score of 79 and zero social media restrictions.”
The report also stated that, “China is the most internet-restricted country in the world, with 71,534 people online (per 100,000), a censorship score of 11, an Internet freedom score of 10, and two social media restrictions.”

Further breakdown of the report showed that there, “are around 65,000 people online per 100,000 in the top five most restricted areas, as opposed to 94,000 in those with looser internet restrictions.”
Further findings from the study also showed that Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, The United Kingdom, and The United States have the least internet censorship in the world, all with a score of two over 11.
They were followed by Mexico, Philippines and Nigeria with censorship scores of four, five and three respectively on the list of countries with lower internet restrictions.

According to Mr. Sam Hall of Proxyrack, the report further stated that “social media is banned in both China and Iran, prohibiting the use of western sites and heavily restricting the use of political media.”

The UK, according to the report, “takes the top spot as the country with the most internet freedom, scoring the lowest, zero out of 10. The country has the highest proportion of people online and tops the list for its internet freedom score. The UK also places no restrictions on social media sites.”

Similarly, Japan was ranked second among countries with the most internet freedom with  0.40 point out of 10 internet restriction score.
It said that Japan “has one of the highest proportions of internet users and ranks very low for internet censorship, sharing last place for the factor. Japan also takes second place thanks to its high internet freedom score.”

The third country is Germany with 0.66 point out of 10 internet restriction score. Germany was ranked “highly thanks to its internet freedom score of 77 and sharing second place for this factor. Germany also doesn’t restrict user access to social media and the country has one of the lowest censorship scores.”
However, China topped the countries with the most internet restrictions with 9.21 out of 10 internet restriction score.

The report said: “China has the most internet restrictions, as the Chinese government has banned its citizens from western social media sites, giving it one of the lowest scores for the factor. The country also heavily restricts its political media on the internet, giving the highest internet censorship score.

“Taking second place is Iran with 8.16 over10 internet restrictions score, as the nation has banned western social media sites and heavily restrict citizen access to political media. The country also has a very low net freedom score thanks to its failure to protect the rights of its users.

“Next up is Egypt, scoring 6.84 out of 10 internet restriction score. The North-African nation has a relatively low proportion of citizens who use the internet, ranking in the bottom five for this factor. It also ranks in the bottom five for internet freedoms, as the Egyptian government has been known to imprison journalists and human rights campaigners for their actions online.”

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