Internet Under Surveillance 2004 - Laos
|Publisher||Reporters Without Borders|
|Cite as||Reporters Without Borders, Internet Under Surveillance 2004 - Laos, 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/46e6918d28.html [accessed 15 September 2014]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
- Population: 5,529,000
- Internet users: 15,000 (2002)
- Average charge for 20 hours of connection: 24 euros
- DAI*: 0.48
- Situation**: serious
The regime does not allow a free media and intends to keep absolute control of the Internet. Laotians at home or abroad are forbidden to post anything online that "harms national unity."
Laos was one of the countries named as priority targets of the Global Internet Freedom Act passed by the US House of Representatives in June 2003 (see chapter on the United States) to fight online censorship by repressive regimes. Other priority countries were China, Burma, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Syria and Cuba.
Fairly modern cybercafés operate in the capital, Vientiane. Exiled Laotian opposition websites are blocked but users can visit Thai sites for more independent news than they can find in the Laotian state media. Few dare to do this however for fear of drawing the attention of the cybercafé owner or the police.
- Lao Telecommunications - www.laotel.com
- Dissident news site (based in the United States) - www.vientianetimes.com
* The DAI (Digital Access Index) has been devised by the International Telecommunications Union to measure the access of a country's inhabitants to information and communication technology. It ranges from 0 (none at all) to 1 (complete access).
** Assessment of the situation in each country (good, middling, difficult, serious) is based on murders, imprisonment or harassment of cyber-dissidents or journalists, censorship of news sites, existence of independent news sites, existence of independent ISPs and deliberately high connection charges.