Finnish Research Project Censorship and Control in the Internet Age

In terms of freedom of expression, the last few years represent a
historical transition period. This transition has left a permanent
imprint on the media, communications, political history and activism.

While the latest shifts of the developments, like Arab Spring, brought
along many delightful signs of expanding freedom of speech, the real
situation on the international level is still grim.

Every fourth citizen of the world lives under censorship. Also,
Internet censorship and data surveillance has found global acceptance.
The fundamental question of the legitimacy of control is no more
addressed as often than questions like how to control and what. At the
same time, the next phase of Internet development, the ubiquitous
information society, threatens to establish conditions of continuous
real-time surveillance everywhere.

Kai Ekholm, Director of the Finnish National Library, Chair of FAIFE and
Researcher Päivikki Karhula have studied global trends in the freedom
of expression in a recent research project.

This introduction and the following articles are the outcome of the
Finnish research project Censorship and control in the Internet age,
led by professor Kai Ekholm. The project was granted by Finnish Fund,
Helsingin Sanomain Säätiö. Our heartfelt thanks to Helsingin Sanomain
Säätiö who recognized the importance of the study. These papers present
the top research done globally and tie together the results of this
project until summer 2012 covering the history of internet censorship
and conditions of its’ development directions through cases and country
reviews. We are most interested in maintaining permanent research on
this topic.

Kai Ekholm & Päivikki Karhula 
Helsinki, July 2012

FAIFE (Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression)

Last update: 5 October 2012