Countries With Freedom Of Speech 2020

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Freedom of speech is the right for an individual or community to express any opinions without censorship or restraint and without fear of retaliation or legal sanction. This is not limited to “speech” specifically as it includes other forms of expression. There is an ongoing debate about where to draw the line between freedom of speech and offensive comments. Especially in the age of social media, concerns have arisen over whether freedom of speech is causing more harm than it is good.

Freedom of speech is a right preserved in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is granted formal recognition by the laws of most nations; however, the degree to which this right is upheld varies significantly from one country to another. Freedom of speech is just one of the many freedoms that the freest countries in the world guarantee.

In the United States, freedom of speech is more widely accepted than in any other country. A 38-nation Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2015 found that Americans are among the most supportive of free speech, freedom of the press, and the right to use the Internet without government censorship. Furthermore, Americans are much more tolerant of offensive speech than people in other nations. In general, the survey showed that countries in the Western Hemisphere are more tolerant than countries in the Eastern Hemisphere.

Researchers asked participants of 38 countries a series of five questions with answers ranging from 0-8. Zero represents the least support for freedom of expression, and 8 represents the most supportive for freedom of expression. A median score was calculated for each country.

The United States received the highest score of 5.73. Freedom of speech is no stranger to freedom of speech, as the First Amendment protects freedom of speech: “Congress shall make no law… abridging freedom of speech.” In the U.S., freedom of speech includes the right not to speak (specifically, the right not to salute the flag), to engage in symbolic speech, to use certain offensive words and phrases to convey political messages, and to advertise commercial products and professional services (with some restrictions).

Freedom of speech does have restrictions. These include, but are not limited to, libel, slander, incitement, copyright violation, trade secrets, and perjury. A person may not incite action that would harm others, such as shouting “fire” in a crowded theater. A person may not make or distribute obscene materials, and students may not make an obscene speech at a school-sponsored event.

Poland was the second-most tolerant with a median score of 5.66, followed by Spain and the United Kingdom with median scores of 5.62 and 4.78, respectively.

While many nations acknowledge freedom of speech as a fundamental right and allow their people to freely voice their opinions and ideas, this is not the case in some nations. Some of the most censored nations globally are North Korea, Burma, Turkmenistan, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Eritrea, Cuba, Uzbekistan, Syria, and Belarus. Citizens of these countries are virtually isolated by authoritarian rulers who see access to information as a threat to their rule. The media is silenced, and highly censored and restrictive laws, fear, and intimidation are used to prevent the spread of information.

Countries With Freedom Of Speech 2020

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Countries With Freedom Of Speech 2020

* Support for free expression is measured using and eight-item index ranging from 0–8, with 8 representing the most supportive of free expression.
Country Free Expression Index Population 2020
United States5.73331,002,651
Poland5.6637,846,611
Spain5.6246,754,778
Mexico5.42128,932,753
Venezuela5.1728,435,940
Canada5.0837,742,154
Australia4.9425,499,884
Argentina4.8345,195,774
South Africa4.859,308,690
United Kingdom4.7867,886,011
France4.7265,273,511
Italy4.6960,461,826
Peru4.6332,971,854
Philippines4.6109,581,078
Chile4.5819,116,201
Brazil4.48212,559,417
Tanzania4.3859,734,218
Germany4.3483,783,942
Kenya4.0453,771,296
Israel4.028,655,535
South Korea3.8351,269,185
Ghana3.7331,072,940
India3.681,380,004,385
Nigeria3.51206,139,589
Uganda3.4745,741,007
Indonesia3.46273,523,615
Palestine3.425,101,414
Russia3.34145,934,462
Turkey3.2884,339,067
Japan3.27126,476,461
Lebanon3.166,825,445
Vietnam2.9697,338,579
Burkina Faso2.9420,903,273
Ukraine2.8543,733,762
Pakistan2.78220,892,340
Jordan2.5310,203,134
Senegal2.0616,743,927