Internet freedom declined in Armenia and Azerbaijan

Internet freedom declined in Armenia and Azerbaijan

Governments of 30 countries, including Russia, Turkey and Azerbaijan, use online troll armies to fight their opponents, Freedom House annual Freedom on the Net assessment claims. (https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-net/freedom-net-2017 )  

According to Freedom on the Net 2017, over 6,000 people work for the ruling party in Turkey countering opposition in social media. In Azerbaijan, a youth group connected to the leading political force Yeni Azerbaijan targeted the comment sections of independent media outlets such as Meydan TV during the constitutional referendum in 2016. The survey also mentions, that the governments of Azerbaijan was behind cyberattacks on opposition media, politicians and human rights defenders.

Armenian score on internet freedom declined by 2 points, and the country lost its status as non-abuser. The most significant violations were one-hour blocking of Facebook during protests in July, 2016 and content manipulations by coordinated groups. The report claims that “possibly automated accounts spread misinformation about the April 2017 parliamentary election on Twitter”.

Published on November 14, Freedom on the Net 2017 reported seventh consecutive year of overall decline in internet freedom. In 18 countries, including United States, online manipulation and disinformation tools were used to substantially influence elections. For the third time in a row, the list of the most unfree countries is headed by China. Only 16 of 65 countries covered in the report were free from censorship.

 

Image: Freedom House