Uncensored Internet a global concern, Pew survey finds

A median of 50 percent of people from 38 countries surveyed by Pew Research Center say it is very important to have an Internet without government censorship.

In the survey released today, Pew found that majorities in 32 of the 38 countries surveyed agreed on the importance of Internet freedom. About 70 percent of people surveyed in the United States, Argentina, Germany and Spain deem it very important.

In the U.S., 69 percent said Internet freedom was very important, 22 percent said it was somewhat important and 7 percent deemed it not too important or not important at all.

Only 21 percent of citizens of Burkina Faso and Indonesia deemed Internet freedom very important.

Pew found a correlation between Internet penetration and support for Internet freedom: The more smartphone owners there were in a country, the more likely those residents supported an uncensored Internet.

Eighty-seven percent of those surveyed in the U.S. said they used the Internet at least occasionally. In Burkina Faso, that number was 14 percent.

“As access to the Web continues to spread around the globe in the coming years, the desire for freedom in cyberspace may grow as well,” the report said.

Publics with Higher Rates of Internet Usage More Likely to Prioritize Internet Freedom

The survey’s results come amid some calls for filtering the Internet in the wake of last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris.

Pew’s survey — which also addressed global attitudes on religious freedom, gender equality and other forms of freedom of expression — was based on 40,786 face-to-face and telephone interviews in 38 countries with adults 18 and older conducted from April 5 to May 21, 2015.

Photo at top from Associated Press


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