Internews Center for Innovation & Learning

Internews Center for Innovation & Learning
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5 applications for journalists to visit blocked sites

In 2012, Russia adopted a law that allows the government to block any website without a court order. For 2013, the Russian government has blocked access to 2500 wesites, including the resources that publish information about officials who have been caught taking bribes, for example.

I believe that censorship is evil, no matter what kind of white clothes it wears. We also understand that journalists require access to different sources of information for their work.

That's why we offer you five solid tools that can give you an opportunity to view sites blocked by censorship in your country. These tools are designed for people who have no technical skills and seek simple solutions.

We deliberately do not go into the technical details in the description, but give you only the final result. If you are interested in the technical side of things, you will be able to explore it for yourself at the websites of each tool.


The Opera browser

This solution is simple and does not require any technical skills. Go to the Opera site and download to your computer the latest version of Opera browser. Every time you need to view the content on the blocked website, turn on mode “Off-road” (earlier it was called the Turbo). In the new version of Opera, this mode is always enabled by default to speed up web page loading.

This mode sends all your inquiries first to a special foreign server, and only from there the request goes to the address you provided. Thus you can easily bypass the lock. For example, you can read in Kazakhstan the blocked Livejournal.com. Off-road mode also encrypts the data that come from websites to your browser and provides the necessary security for open wi-fi access points, say in a cafe.

Download Opera browser

Widget friGate

If you use Google Chrome as a browser, this little application will suit your needs very well. It is built into your browser, and when you go to a blocked website, you just press a button on your browser and the program guides you through all the locks to the desired content.

Widget friGate included right from the browser panel. Included is a regime that holds your request through different proxy servers around the world and thus bypasses all inhibitions. At the same time, there is no noticeable decrease in the speed of loading pages.

Download the app for Chrome friGate 

ZenMate app for Google Chrome 

This is a new development which has performed well. The application give you the opportunity to not only easily and quickly access locked resources, but also makes your surfing safe and encrypted. "Big Brother" cannot see the end point of your journey through the network. All they will see is some quite harmless IP addresses based in Europe.

You can enable the application directly via the toolbar of your browser. The address of your location can be disguised as a resident of US, UK, Germany, Switzerland or Hong Kong. Currently, this application can be used for free, but its developers say it will only remain so as long as they are testing it. The special charm is that it does not require any configuration. Download and use.

Download ZenMate for Google Chrome

TunnelBear application for MAC users

A small program that you install on your computer. It is very simple, but not only gives you the ability to read blocked content but also allows you to do it safely. This application creates a VPN connection, and whoever tries to track your traffic will not be able to trace the end point of your surfing.


The program provides 500 MB of free traffic per month. If you need more data capacity, you can subscribe to premium services. All you need to read the blocked sites is to install TunnelBear and enable the tunnel.

Download TunnelBear 

App Hotspot Shield VPN

Hotspot Shield VPN is a comprehensive solution for activity that requires a constant encrypted, safe, and fast channel in the network, not only on your computer, but also on your tablet or smartphones. This program is installed on your computer (Mac, PC) to the tablet or smartphone (IOS, Android).

Hotspot Shield VPN application can be installed on smartphones and tablet computers. It protects your session in a web browser, detects and blocks malware, maintains confidentiality, and enables access to blocked sites. It is available as a free verions, or a subscription version called "Hotspot Shield Elite." The subscription version seemed faster to me, but the free plan also suits my needs.

Download Hotspot Shield VPN 

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