Internet censorship

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Internet censorship is a form of censorship where a government restricts Internet users from accessing certain websites due to ideological differences or the content of the website being illegal in that country.


Pervez Kambaksh, an Afghan student, was sentenced to death in 2008 for downloading an article on women's rights. After international pressure, the sentence was commuted to 20 years imprisonment.


In March 2009, the anti-censorship site Wikileaks published a list of internet sites which had been banned within Australia. The list included a pro-Christian pro-life website.


China blocks content supporting Tibetan independence, Taiwanese independence, police brutality, the Tiananmen Square protests, freedom of speech, pornography and certain religions (including the Catholic Church). 52 bloggers are reportedly currently incarcerated for their writings.


Denmark operates a similar system to the United Kingdom, however, it was criticised for a 2008 court order forcing the ISP Tele2 to block access to BitTorrent tracker ThePirateBay.


Finland operates another system similar to that of the UK, however, the blacklist is provided by Finnish police instead of maintained by representatives of the ISPs operating under a memorandum of understanding as is the case in the UK. It was criticised for filtering the website of the Internet standards organisation W3C and content, although pornographic, is not actually child pornography.

United Kingdom

The Internet Watch Foundation maintains a list of websites containing child pornography that ISPs voluntarily subscribe to and block access to. Recently the IWF was criticised for blocking users from viewing the album cover for "Virgin Killer" by the German heavy metal band Scorpions on Wikipedia, claiming it was child pornography. The block was removed several days later.

United States

The Communications Decency Act of 1996 restricted online speech that could potentially be seen by children. Supporters of free speech, however, had most of the act's provisions overturned.

"Enemies of the Internet"

In 2008 Reporters without Borders listed the following 15 countries as "enemies of the Internet" due to their aggressive forms of Internet censorship: