Countries With Freedom Of Speech 2021

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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 2021

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Countries With Freedom Of Speech 2021

* 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 2021 Population
United States5.73332,915,073
Poland5.6637,797,005
Spain5.6246,745,216
Mexico5.42130,262,216
Venezuela5.1728,704,954
Canada5.0838,067,903
Australia4.9425,788,215
Argentina4.8345,605,826
South Africa4.860,041,994
United Kingdom4.7868,207,116
France4.7265,426,179
Italy4.6960,367,477
Peru4.6333,359,418
Philippines4.6111,046,913
Chile4.5819,212,361
Brazil4.48213,993,437
Tanzania4.3861,498,437
Germany4.3483,900,473
Kenya4.0454,985,698
Israel4.028,789,774
South Korea3.8351,305,186
Ghana3.7331,732,129
India3.681,393,409,038
Nigeria3.51211,400,708
Uganda3.4747,123,531
Indonesia3.46276,361,783
Palestine3.425,222,748
Russia3.34145,912,025
Turkey3.2885,042,738
Japan3.27126,050,804
Lebanon3.166,769,146
Vietnam2.9698,168,833
Burkina Faso2.9421,497,096
Ukraine2.8543,466,819
Pakistan2.78225,199,937
Jordan2.5310,269,021
Senegal2.0617,196,301

Countries With Freedom Of Speech 2021