Filmmakers in Iran daring to overstep the mark can face censorship and harassment. Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof have challenged restrictions via their movies, telling bitter-sweet stories from a troubled society.

It is one of the great allegorical paintings celebrating the French revolution: Liberty Leading the People, by Eugène Delacroix, shows a barefoot, bare-breasted woman – representing Marianne, the female symbol of the republic – brandishing a tricolour in one hand and a bayonetted musket in the other, leading the people over the bodies of the fallen. Pupils at the French Lycée in Kuwait, however, might be forgiven for missing the symbolism of the celebrated work of art used to illustrate their history books after local censors slapped a large red sticker over

It’s not a good time for freedom of the press. The non-profit organization Reporters Without Borders, devoted to supporting journalists worldwide, published its annual index this month. In six continents, the conditions for free media in 2014 became not just worse, but “dramatically worse,” according to the group’s “2015 World Press Freedom Index.”

Tensions over cybersecurity are building between the U.S. and Beijing after the latest string of hacking attacks in the United States, some of which have been traced back to China. The two countries have dug in their heels on differing approaches to cybersecurity and don’t appear ready to budge, experts say.

In 2014, China stepped up its campaign to shape international norms governing the Internet, moving vigorously in its public diplomacy and behind the scenes to subjugate the online world to state power.

He presides over a one-party state that jails more journaliststhan any other on the planet, silences its critics ruthlessly and censors the Internet extensively. But China’s President Xi Jinping is not only wildly popular in his own country, he could be the most popular world leader globally.

December 15, 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin has nearly completed his purge of independent news media in Russia.  “This is not just a war of information,” says one keen analyst at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.  “It is a war on information.”

As Japan and South Korea have shown, the best way for governments to encourage pop culture with global appeal is probably to stay out of the way. China’s President Xi Jinping disagrees.