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  Restrictions on freedom of expression

Governments as well as private entities threaten the potentially empowered freedom of expression by imposing various kinds of censorship to the Internet.

Governmental restrictions on freedom of expression take various forms. In many authoritarian regimes governments exercise control over the flow of information in order to limit citizens access to freely impart and receive information. Governments can also impair access to Internet in more subtle ways, for instance through high phone rates or through excessive taxes or other restrictions on the import or sale of computer equipment.

In democratic countries content regulation have focused on protecting public morals by limiting the dissemination of harmful and/or offensive material, for instance in order to protect minors. Governmental content regulation has taken the form of legislation on liability for Internet Service providers or legislation prohibiting certain expressions on Internet.

The latest development is the encouragement of self-regulatory schemes in which private entities such as Internet Service Providers carry out content restrictions based on moral or ethical criteria.