Iran Sees Biggest Drop In Internet Freedom In 2023

Thursday, 10/05/2023

Iran saw the most significant decline in internet freedom in 2023, as authorities attempted to suppress protests associated with the Woman, Life, Freedom movement.

The latest Freedom House report specifically highlights Iran's sharp decrease in scores among the assessed countries, mainly due to the authorities' harsh and disproportionate response to nationwide protests that erupted after the death of Mahsa Amini while in custody in September last year. 

The crackdown included the arrest of numerous protesters, particularly women who used social media to voice their opposition to the government's discriminatory hijab policies. Additionally, the government imposed restrictions on internet services, blocked platforms like WhatsApp and Instagram, and expanded its surveillance measures.

The Middle East in general continued to experience limitations on internet freedom in 2023, as indicated in the latest report titled Freedom on the Net 2023: The Repressive Power of Artificial Intelligence.

Notably, none of the seven Middle Eastern countries evaluated received a "Free" rating. Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq were classified as "Partly Free," while the remaining four – the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Iran – were categorized as "Not Free."

Among these, Iran had the lowest overall score in the region, with 11, and experienced the most substantial decline with a decrease of -5 on Freedom on the Net's 100-point scale.

Freedom on the Net is an annual assessment of human rights in the digital realm. The project examines internet freedom in 70 countries, covering nearly 89 percent of the world's internet users.

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