The political climate is repressive and opposition leaders and independent journalists are frequently detained and prosecuted.

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At the time the Internet in most of these countries was a relatively open and unconstrained space for free expression, but the countries also typically featured a repressive environment for traditional media and had recently considered or introduced legislation that would negatively affect Internet freedom.

Due to legal concerns the Open Net Initiative does not check for filtering of child pornography and because their classifications focus on technical filtering, they do not include other types of censorship.

As a way to limit coverage of demonstrations some Internet users and bloggers have been arrested and others have been invited to “preventive conversations” with the police. 317-3, which took effect on 6 January 2012, reinforced Internet surveillance and control measures.

The Belarus government has moved to second- and third-generation controls to manage its national information space.

Control over the Internet is centralized with the government-owned Beltelecom managing the country’s Internet gateway.

Regulation is heavy with strong state involvement in the telecommunications and media market.

Detailed country by country information on Internet censorship and surveillance is provided in the Freedom on the Net reports from Freedom House, by the Open Net Initiative, by Reporters Without Borders, and in the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices from the U. State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

The ratings produced by several of these organizations are summarized below as well as in the Censorship by country article.

The reports are prepared by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor within the United States Department of State.