Eyes on Lebanon’s Lack of Internet Freedom

By Wendy Wohlfeill

Although still seen as having the highest Internet freedom out of any Arab country, Lebanon has been taking some criticism for it’s recent crack down on free speech, a New York Times article reports.

The last year alone, showcasing a variety of arrests and detentions, may change the reputation of a country that at one-time prided itself on being the poster child for free speech in the Middle East.

Posts written on Facebook, which lead to the arrest of four individuals earlier this year, along with the recent detention of a blogger, have put a spotlight on the Lebanon’s strict internet freedoms.

A 2010 Reporters Without Borders study found that Lebanon ranked above every country in the Middle East when it comes to Internet freedoms, yet had dropped 17 places within the same study from 2009.

Reports show that the most dangerous topics to speak out against online are the army and the president.

With the daily posts I see on Facebook, especially around election time, it’s hard to imagine a society where people censor themselves out of fear of arrest. I’m convinced that at least half of my online friends would be completely lost for words if they weren’t able to grip about politics, war or some other contentious subject.


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