Marek Siwiec MEP on Poland & Europe

The work on the report on the European Union’s policy in the field of digital freedom is now in progress. I will certainly come back to this subject more than once, but today let me focus on another document, prepared by the U.S. NGO Freedom House, which for several years has conducted a systematic study on the digital freedom, its violations and present trends. In addition to its research on the Internet, Freedom House prepares also its flagship products – regular reports on the freedom in the world and on the freedom of the press. This year’s study was realized by a group of the interviewers cooperating with the Foundation in 47 countries. They have all filled out a questionnaire consisting of 100 questions.

The authors of the report state at the beginning that one third of the population uses the internet, and even more people use mobile phones. Year by year we can see that internet is a key area for the fight for human rights.

The authors developed a suggestive list of hits on which at a scale of 0 to 100 you can measure the degree of network’s bondage. Level “0” is an absolute freedom, and “100” is the total lack of it. On the first place we have Estonia (10), followed closely by the United States (12). Georgia (30) is close the group of free countries. Then we have some partially free countries like Russia, Uganda, Turkey and Egypt. At the end of the list: China (85), Cuba (86) and Iran (90).

It is also an interesting summary of current yearly trends. This year the situation improved the most in Tunisia, and deteriorated especially in Bahrain and Pakistan.

Interesting, isn’t it?

PS My country, Poland, has not been tested this year. However, I had the opportunity to present to the authors of the report the case of Mr Robert Frycz, who was sentenced by the court of Piotrków for insulting our President Bronislaw Komorowski on the Internet. They were truly interested and announced that they would try to include also our country’s case into future reports.

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