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This publication is a follow-up to the 2011 issue of Global Information Society Watch (GISWatch), an annual report that offers a civil society perspective on critical emerging issues in information societies worldwide. The theme for GISWatch 2011 was internet rights and democratisation, with a focus on freedom of expression and association online. In line with this, the reports gathered here offer an in-depth account of the human rights challenges faced online in six countries: Argentina, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa.

As Jillian York writes in the introduction, the reports

…seek to inform, from a human rights-focused perspective, on the challenges facing freedom of expression — and its advocates… each country of the six is different, with varied forms of government, cultural backgrounds, and national aspirations, but the similarities in the challenges faced by their citizens in preserving the principles of free expression on the frontiers of the internet are all too similar.

We hope that this publication helps to alert activists to the critical issues faced when it comes to the internet and human rights in the countries surveyed, and also serves as a way to galvanise civil society advocacy in these areas.

GISWatch is produced by the Association for Progressive Communications ( and Hivos ( To download past publications, please visit: