Iceland offers its citizens more internet freedom than any other country in the world, according to a recent study by an independent watchdog. The North Atlantic nation scored six out of a possible 40 points on the index – the 2013 Freedom House Index – which takes into account limits on content, obstacles to access and violations of use. The lower the number of points obtained, the greater the freedom.
The Baltic nation of Estonia came in second place, with Germany, the US and Austria ranked 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively.
It is the fourth annual study Freedom House has carried out on internet freedom. The organisation said the internet has become a crucial medium where people can share their ideas and express their views and has developed into an important tool for human rights and democracy activists to advocate and mobilise political, economic and social reform.
The research also showed internet freedom on a global scale is falling, with 34 of the total of 60 countries monitored experiencing a negative trajectory during the last 12 months. The authors of the study claim this is because of broad surveillance, arrests of social media users and new laws regulating web content.
They also highlighted the fact that activists are able to use the internet more effectively to raise awareness in their efforts to prevent government oppression.