Reporters Without Borders criticized Australia for persuading Internet service providers to create a national content-filtering system, which blocks access to child pornography sites and others deemed inappropriate. The group is concerned that the government is still also pursuing a system of mandatory content-filtering whose criteria are "very broad."
France landed on the surveillance list last year for a series of criminal indictments of journalists for stories they wrote. It remains on the list this year because of a law that could punish people who repeatedly illegally download content by cutting off their Internet access.
The watchdog also said that India had dropped nine places down in its press freedom ranking index. It is currently 131st out of 179 countries in the 2011-2012 world press freedom index compiled by RWB.
Image: Tens of thousands of activists marched across Europe to protest against a controversial anti-online piracy pact. Critics say the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) - to which Australia is a signatory - could curtail internet freedom. Guy Fawkes masks were a popular accessory at these protests. (Photo credit: AP)