China has slammed a report criticising its tightening laws on internet censorship and control.
The country's government lashed out following a report that ranked it among the worst countries in the world for internet freedom.
The country's cyber security authority is apparently unhappy with the fact it was recently ranked as the worst country for online freedom of speech.
According to Reuters, the country believes that the internet must be organised in an "orderly" fashion and that the international community needs to do more to tackle cyber security.
The use of paid commentators and political bots to spread government propaganda was pioneered by China and Russia, but has now gone global
In particular, the organisation said countries need to find a solution to deal with the rise of fake news, which is impacting democracy around the world.
Ren Xianliang, vice minister of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), said the his country is a great advocate of the "free flow of information".
He also said the country has made great strides in developing its internet ecosystem over the past few decades, calling it a major success.
"We should not just make the internet fully free, it also needs to be orderly... The United States and Europe also need to deal with these fake news and rumours," he told journalists.
China has faced increasing criticism for its internet censorship rules over the past few years, and it's cracking down on social media particularly.
In January, it tightened rules on people using VPNs to evade government internet controls. "China's internet connection service market… has signs of disordered development that requires urgent regulation and governance," a director told a press conference in Beijing.
On Tuesday, Freedom House in the US released its annual censorship report. China was the last of 65 countries ranked for press freedom.
Governments are now using social media to suppress dissent and advance an anti-democratic agenda
Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House, said: "The use of paid commentators and political bots to spread government propaganda was pioneered by China and Russia, but has now gone global.
"The effects of these rapidly spreading techniques on democracy and civic activism are potentially devastating."
Sanja Kelly, director of the Freedom on the Net project, said: "Governments are now using social media to suppress dissent and advance an anti-democratic agenda.
"Not only is this manipulation difficult to detect, it is more difficult to combat than other types of censorship, such as website blocking, because it's dispersed and because of the sheer number of people and bots deployed to do it," she said.
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