0056_02Police in Morocco arrested a teenage boy and girl for violating “public decency” after posting a photograph of themselves kissing on Facebook.

A friend of theirs who took the photo was also arrested.

Under article 483 of the State’s penal code, those found guilty of violating public decency risk up to two years in prison. The three teens have since been released fom the juvenile detention centre in the northeastern town of Nador following a national public outcry. Online protests called for internet users to post similar kissing photos on their Facebook pages. 

Meanwhile in Saudi Arabia, a young man who posted a video online of himself dancing naked on a car roof has been sentenced to receive 2,000 lashes and ten years inprisonment.  

As the above examples show, web users continue to face a series of reprisals for their activities online as a result of increased state surveillance of the Internet. 

Despite this, as well as an array of State restrictions of internet freedom, online activists have become more effective at alerting to new threats and rights violations, in some cases even forestalling them, says a new report by Freedom House.

The report identifies main trends across 60 countries by looking at barriers to access, limits on content, and violations of user rights. For the second consecutive year China, Cuba and Iran were found to be the most repressive States in the area of internet freedom, while Iceland and Estonia topped the country list as the countries with the greated degree of internet freedom.