10 Most Censored Countries – Committee to Protect Journalists
Leadership: President Xi Jinping, in office since 2013.
How censorship works: China has the world’s most extensive and sophisticated censorship apparatus. For nearly two decades, the country has been among the world’s top jailers of journalists, with at least 47 behind bars as of December 1, 2018. Both privately and state-owned news outlets are under the authorities’ supervision, and those who fail to follow the Chinese Communist Party’s directives are suspended or otherwise punished, according to news reports. Since 2017, no website or social media account is allowed to provide news service on the internet without the Cyberspace Administration of China’s permission. Internet users are blocked from foreign search engines, news websites, and social media platforms by the Great Firewall. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in March 2018 announced new regulations that ban unauthorized VPNs, which internet users rely on to circumvent the firewall. Authorities monitor domestic social media networks, using surveillance programs and trained censor professionals. Foreign social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are banned; they are accessible via VPNs, but censorship efforts have extended to knocking on doors to order people to delete their tweets, according to The Washington Post. International journalists working in China face digital and human surveillance, with visas delayed ordenied. In August 2018, the Hong Kong Journalists Association said press freedom in the territory had deteriorated under the “one country” policy, with the media practicing more self-censorship without laws to safeguard freedom of information.
Lowlight: In the northwest Xinjiang region, where the authorities have detained up to three million Uighur and Turkic Muslims in so-called reeducation camps, surveillance and censorship are widespread. Journalists in the region risk imprisonment for everyday reporting, on charges such as being a “two-faced” party official. The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China in January 2019 said many members who travel to the region are followed and surveilled.Visitors take pictures under blooming cherry blossoms near a high-resolution artificial-intelligence camera at Yuyuantan Park in Beijing, China, on March 19, 2019. China has a vast and sophisticated censorship apparatus that is used to monitor journalists as well as ordinary citizens. (Reuters/Stringer)