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Digital Freedom & Control: Russia and Asia

This series of stories examines the dual use of the Internet for greater freedom and control in Russia, Burma, North Korea and China.

The Internet has become a beacon of free speech in some of the most repressive countries in Asia.  But in many of these places online freedom is being threatened or denied altogether. In China and Russia, where there is some access to free flowing information online, the governments are becoming adept at controlling content. Restrictions on the established press have encouraged online media to rely on citizen journalism, allowing for more information sharing but also expanding the targets for censorship. In North Korea and Burma the Internet is almost entirely blocked off to the general public, and governments try to limit news about internal affairs from reaching the rest of the world. Nevertheless, outside actors are finding innovative ways to gather information inside these countries and to circumvent barriers to news coming in from international sources.

Access Denied, by Julia Pyper
Attacks on Internet Freedom in Russia.

Circumventing Dear Leader, by Joe Proudman
How Internet restrictions in North Korea have forced journalists to take action from the outside.

Burma’s Stealth Media, by Joe Danielewicz
Undercover reporters get the news out to the Burmese diaspora

China’s (Almost) Jasmine Revolution, by Julia Pyper and Joe Danielewicz

The points on this map show the Internet penetration of each country. Click on each point for that country's data and a link to the corresponding article.

Digital Freedom and Control
Russia and Asia
Latin America
Middle East

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