A new US-based report finds internet freedom across the world is on the decline as some governments push through new laws to control web content and boost surveillance.
The independent watchdog Freedom House researched on 60 countries for the report.
Its Asia research analyst, Madeline Earp, told Radio Australia's program that China, Cuba and Iran were found to be the most repressive countries.
The countries with most freedom were Iceland and Estonia.
The research involved measuring parameters such as ease of access to the internet and what content is being shared.
It says that activists retaliated to government censorships by raising awareness of emerging threats and sometimes even forestalled new repressive measures.
Ms Earp says in Asia, China and Vietnam are notorious for the controls in their content and they pursue this using a range of means.
"It's a kind of dual pronged approach - on the one hand you make the content illegal and you try and restrict access to it, on the other hand you try and pursue and target the people who are breaking those rules," she said.
Civil society groups have been increasingly using social media to provide alternative views, a trend which Ms Earp says is a global trend.
"Several countries particularly in Southeast Asia, have freer space on the internet than they do in the traditional media sphere which has been often subjected to tight control," she said.
"That means activists are able to take advantage of this new medium and readdress the balance and get citizen voices out there."