Nearly 50 people were killed in the Muzaffarnagar sectarian riots last month. According to media reports, a fake video passed around through social media, contributed to flaming religious passions. This prompted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to say that while people should have freedom to express their opinions, social media cannot be misused “to create communal tension and spread hatred”.

Internet freedom in countries around the world has declined sharply in the past year despite a pushback from activists that successfully blocked some governments’ repressive laws, according to a new report. The study, by advocacy group Freedom House, looked at online trends in 60 countries, evaluating each nation them based on obstacles to access, limits to content and violations of user rights.

In late May, protesters descended on Istanbul’s Taksim Gezi Park. At first, there was a small sit-in over re-development plans that would have it, one of the few parks in European Istanbul. After months of unsuccessful petitioning to save the park, activists took to camping out there to prevent the demolition. Police removed them by force, setting their encampment on fire in the process.

With the international world’s increasing negative views of China, its rising economic power, and a history of ethnic unrest, how will changes in internet censorship in Shanghai’s free trade zone affect China’s economic growth and the Chinese people? As a way to stimulate economic growth, China will lift internet censorship in the Shanghai free trade zone of a number of foreign websites which includes Facebook and Twitter.

Cuba's control over its media just may be lightening up a bit. Cuba's state-controlled Trabajadores newspaper announced the entire list of Cubans nominated for the Latin Grammys, and included even those artists living in exile, ending a long history of ignoring those in exile, according to the Miami Herald.

September 25, 2013

This week on the Listening Post: Presidents, propaganda and channelling the media to get the message out: a look at the similarities and differences between Syria in 2013 and Iraq 10 years ago. As the crisis in Syria deepens, the diplomatic battle outside the country – being fought out in the global media – intensifies.

China's recent history has been marked by two key features: rampant economic growth and tight governmental control on the spread of information. Now, it seems, both are starting to wane, as economic expansion is slowing down and even the government's zealous grip on the internet is beginning to loosen.

The Angolan government should immediately end arbitrary arrests and assaults against peaceful protesters and journalists, Human Rights Watch said today. All those held for exercising their rights to assembly and expression should be released unless they are promptly charged with a credible criminal offense.