The freedom of the press is a noble idea that has caught on in the West and has even spread in many parts of the world on the heels of the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, it still has “room for growth,” with governments in some countries blocking efforts of journalists to freely report on what’s going on in the region.
Also, journalists need to know what’s happening in the wider world and in some places that’s easier said than done. So, they’re turning to VPNs to be able to bypass various restrictions that could be imposed in their own countries.
With a VPN running on their devices, journalists are able to get the right information and post it to the Interwebs even if that’s not permitted in their country. The VPN will encrypt all traffic flying between their devices and the rest of the Internet, letting them safely do “their thing” on the Internet. Here are the best options for the world’s journalists:
- 5,000+ servers in the network
- Easy to use - install it and forget it
- One license is good for up to 6 devices
- Strict zero-logs policy
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Chrome extension is just a proxy
- You can't pay with PayPal
Its network includes more than 5,000 servers spread across 60 countries, which directly translates into faster speeds. NordVPN is also very secure, relying on the strong 256-bit encryption combined with secure VPN protocols (OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2/IPSec). But as a user, you get a seamless experience with all this technology "doing its thing" in the background.
NordVPN is well suited to pretty much every task you throw at it — whether it's accessing a banned site from some country that filters out the internet, torrenting, accessing streaming services, or just wanting to keep a low profile on the web. It also doesn't keep any logs.
We highly recommend NordVPN to anyone looking for reliable service.
- Good for both torrenting and streaming
- Works in China
- Solid network with servers in 60+ countries
- Easy to use apps on multiple platforms
- Live chat isn't always available
- Fairly pricey
Whether you need a VPN for watching Netflix shows or downloading files via BitTorrent, Astrill can help you out — all while keeping your identity under the radar. And this is especially true if you live or work in China when the company's stealth protocols will kick in to let you access all the popular sites that are by default blocked by the country's censors.
Astrill's apps are easy to use and available on all popular platforms. Nevertheless, they still manage to provide a host of advanced features tech-savvy folks are used to get. Highly recommended, again, especially if you're looking to bypass the Great Firewall of China.
- Feature-rich yet easy to use
- One of the best VPNs around
- Strong no-logging policy
- Reliable support you can reach 24/7
- Limited number of servers in Africa and the Middle East
- Kinda pricey
ExpressVPN has great desktop apps for Windows and Mac, mobile apps and browser extensions. Also, it is well suited for video streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and others.
However, what makes it stand out is its ease of use. We can't emphasize this enough. One could tell a lot of time has been spent making sure even the advanced features are easily accessible. And we love it for that. Plus, let's not forget ExpressVPN's speed which tends to leave other services in the dust.
- Fast download and upload speeds
- Works with Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, etc.
- Great for torrenting
- Advanced privacy features (i.e. Tor over VPN)
- Relatively small number of servers
- There are no browser extensions
- Live chat support is not always available
Specifically, you can rely on PrivateVPN for both torrenting and streaming, without paying a premium. It is, in fact, one of the most affordable options in its league and we love it for that.
Customer support may not be on par with bigger players but it's not like you should experience many problems anyway. You will get the same level of security and privacy as with other services, and a single license will let you run PrivateVPN on up to 6 devices. Pretty cool.
- Works in China
- Many servers in Asia
- Strict zero-logs policy
- Advanced services like VyprVPN Cloud
- No browser extensions
- Torrenting could be better
It manages to bypass restrictions in high-censorship countries and elsewhere by relying on its proprietary Chameleon protocol, which can easily slide under the radar.
VyprVPN is also great for accessing video streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+, Hulu and so on — delivering the true buffer-free experience every single time. It will also work with BitTorrent, and consequently - Kodi.
VyprVPN has a strict zero-logs policy. Period.
Why journalists need VPNs?
In many countries, major media outlets (TV/radio channels and print media) are directly or indirectly controlled by the government, prompting people to connect to the Internet to find out what’s really going on. But here too, they may not get the complete picture as governments may be requiring internet service providers (ISPs) to limit access to some websites, mainly those that spread the opposing view.
This, in case you wonder, is happening in places like China, North Korea, a few countries in the Middle East, and so on.
And it’s not just media websites that are getting blocked — similar restrictions could exist for services like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and even Skype.
In a situation like this, you only get partial information and, in some instances, you don’t even know about some events taking place.
Online freedom in decline
The sad news is that online freedoms have been declining all across the globe. In countries such as Venezuela, Egypt, Iran, UAE, Saudi Arabia and China – it is getting increasingly difficult to know what’s really going on. All television and print press is state-run and opposition news is taken down.
Heck, even democratic countries like Australia, USA, France, and others have passed controversial laws restricting internet freedoms.
For instance, Australia passed a law compelling tech companies to hand over their clients’ encrypted communications to the authorities. To put it in plain English, the government required messaging apps using end-to-end encryption to create “backdoors” that would make unauthorized access to private conversations possible.
A different thing was revealed by Edward Snowden’s leaks, suggesting that the NSA was spying on the U.S. and citizens of other countries.
Finally, in its “Freedom on the Net” report, Freedom House slashed France’s global ranking due to “problematic policies adopted in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack, such as restrictions on content that could be seen as ‘apology for terrorism,’ prosecutions of users, and significantly increased surveillance.”
Citizens can use social media as an alternative news source, but even these channels are not safe from authorities.
Journalists need a VPN to stay anonymous online
A VPN routes Internet traffic through multiple secure servers, making it next to impossible for authorities to track individual users. During this process, the user gets a new, different IP address and also unlocks the entire Internet. This means that with a VPN, you can access all the media websites in the world, as well as other services that may be blocked in your country or the country you’re visiting.
And that’s just the start, with a VPN being able to do much more for its users. For instance, it will keep them more secure while connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots, encrypting all data traveling between their devices and the rest of the Internet. Also, it will:
- Protect your privacy from the government and big corporations
- Bypass restrictions imposed by the government or various organizations
- Change your IP address so you get unrestricted access to Netflix, Disney+, iPlayer, HULU, and other video streaming services
- Encrypt and protect private data from cybercriminals
The top contenders that check all these boxes include the following: