OpenNet Initiative, a project by Harvard Law School and the universities of Toronto, Cambridge and Oxford, repeatedly tried to call up specific websites from 1,000 international news and other sites in the countries concerned, and a selection of local-language sites.
The research found a trend towards censorship or, as John Palfrey, executive director of Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, said, “a big trend in the reverse direction”, with many countries recently starting to adopt forms of online censorship.
This OpenNet Initiative has a map of the world color-coded by the openness of their internet access.
I find it ironic that while the neoconservatives push an agenda of forced democratization in the Middle East the overall world trend is toward more dictatorships and controls on free speech and press. Russia has been on the road toward less freedom for probably the last 10 years, or at least since Vladimir Putin took office. The Venezuela of Hugo Chavez is going down a similar path. Democracy in Iraq has not produced a panacea.
Look at the big picture. The Europeans are not reproducing. The Muslims are making more babies and the Muslims aren't much interested in freedom of religion and freedom of speech when such freedoms can lead people to say and do things against Islam. Africa is a thoroughly corrupt place where freedom to access the internet is irrelevant for people living on 1 or 2 dollars per day. Governments in Africa are too incompetent to regulate internet access but their populaces are mostly too poor and illiterate to make use of web sites.
The rise of East Asia and the decline of the West argue for a more authoritarian future.