Hivos International


In recent years, we have witnessed an increasing crackdown on the freedoms of the internet and its critical users, specifically in repressive and transitional environments.

Protection of online privacy and information freedom is now more important than ever, as Internet freedom around the world continues declining. Two-thirds of all Internet users – 67 percent - live in countries where criticism of the government, military or ruling family is subject to censorship. Globally, 27 percent of all internet users live in countries where people have been arrested for publishing, sharing, or merely “liking” content on Facebook, and governments are increasingly going after messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram, which can spread information quickly and securely (source: Freedom House, 2016).

The Digital Defenders Partnership contributes to counter this repression through its grants, fellowship and advice. Despite threats of censorship and surveillance, the Internet has become an indispensable tool for promoting social justice and political liberty, used by citizens worldwide to fight for their rights, demand accountability, and amplify marginalised voices. This is precisely why authoritarian governments intensify their efforts to impose control, and why democratic societies must simultaneously defend Internet freedom abroad and uphold their own standards at home.