Central Asia Program Series Publications Voices from Central Asia

Internet Freedom: A Comparative Overview of Central Asia and the South Caucasus

Voices From Central Asia No. 13, October 2013

By Fuad Aliyev and Galib Mammadov

While there is no set definition for “Internet freedom” as such, unrestricted access to an Internet network is a fundamental prerequisite. However, access and content can be constrained by controls placed on Internet content and usage by governments as well as the surveillance of individuals deemed a threat through online activism. While such issues affect all countries, they are of more concern for struggling democracies in post-Soviet Central Asia and the Caucasus. Accordingly, by using several criteria, this study assesses the presence and extent of Internet freedom in the region of Central Asia and the South Caucasus. In particular, it reviews the state of public access to the Internet based on various indicators, and analyzes policy measures taken by the respective governments.

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