Countries With Freedom of Speech 2022

Freedom of speech is the right to communicate one’s thoughts and ideas without fear of reprisal or legal consequences.

Many different forms of expression fall under the umbrella term freedom of speech, and these include everything from written communication to social media posts to the arts to political protests to the burning of the American flag.

This is not to say that freedom of speech is limited to verbal communication. The term freedom of speech is more often used to represent this wider interpretation of the term.




The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the legislation of most countries guarantee the right to free expression. In reality, however, free speech is protected in certain nations while it is suppressed in others.

It is protected in many of the world’s most liberal nations, but under totalitarian regimes, communist regimes, and other oppressive states, freedom of expression is routinely curtailed.

In certain cases, free expression may go too far. The question of where to draw the line between free speech and information that is insulting, dangerous, or destructive is still being debated.

Since social media allows people to propagate harmful disinformation, bully others, and promote hatred and intolerance via their use of free speech, questions have been raised about whether free speech may do more damage than good.

165 countries have freedom of expression

The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance has a database called the Global State of Democracy Indices, which records 116 measures of democratic freedom in 165 different nations.




The GSDI’s eight free speech indicators are whether the government imposes censorship on the media, if one’s cultural expression is suppressed and whether men and women are at ease speaking their minds in public.

When all of these measures are put together, you get one number that ranges from 0.00 to 1.00. If you’d like to see the entire list of scores from 2020, click on the table below this one.

GSDI 2020’s Top 30 Countries with the Most Freedom of Speech/Expression:

  1. Denmark — .95
  2. Belgium — .87
  3. Finland, Switzerland, Uruguay — .86
  4. New Zealand, Portugal, Sweden — .85
  5. France — .84
  6. Canada, Estonia — .83
  7. Argentina, Austria, Ireland, Norway — .82
  8. Italy — .80
  9. Australia, Germany, Jamaica, United Kingdom — .79
  10. Czechia, Iceland — .78
  11. Latvia, Netherlands, Slovakia — .77
  12. Costa Rica, Barbados — .75
  13. Luxembourg, Peru, United States — .74




In the United States, everyone has the right to free expression.

Freedom of speech in America is not perfect. Yet, despite this, Americans are among the world’s most supportive people regarding free speech, press freedom, and the ability to access information online without fear of government censorship.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees that Congress shall pass no legislation… abridging the freedom of expression, making it a basic value in the country.

For example, the right to express oneself via symbols, to use offensive words and phrases, to promote commercial goods and services (with certain limits), and to refuse to salute the flag are all examples of freedom of speech in the United States.

Tolerance for offensive speech is also higher among Americans than in most of the world’s population.

The findings of two recent research on the importance and amount of support individuals put on freedom of speech show this mindset.

For starters, a 2015 Pew Research Center polled people in 38 nations about their views on free speech, asking them to rate each topic on a scale from 0 (least support) to 8 (most support). At 5.73, the United States had the highest average score.




An independent think tank, Columbia University in New York, and Aarhus University collaborated with Justitia to perform second research on criminal justice reform. After Norway (80) and Denmark (80), the United States came in third place (out of a possible 100) with a score of 78.

The following are the top 10 countries where citizens most value free speech.

RankJustitia 2021 (0-100)Pew 2015 (0-8)
1Norway — 80United States — 5.73
2Denmark — 79Spain — 5.62
3United States — 878Spain — 5.62
4Sweden — 78Mexico — 5.42
5Hungary — 75Venezuela — 5.17
6United Kingdom — 74Canada — 5.08
7Venezuela — 74Australia — 4.94
8Spain — 73Argentina — 4.83
9Japan — 71South Africa — 4.80
10Argentina — 70United Kingdom — 4.78

Free speech around the world

In general, the Western Hemisphere countries are more tolerant than the Eastern Hemisphere countries, according to the 2015 Pew study, with Mexico (5.42) and Canada (5.08) placing respectively fourth and sixth.

With a median score of 5.66, Poland came in second, followed by Spain, which came in third with a score of 5.62. Senegal (2,06), Jordan (2,53), and Pakistan had the lowest levels of support for freedom of speech among the nations examined (2.78).

As part of a larger study on democracy in 2019, Pew Research asked whether respondents believed their right to free speech was safe and protected. Only 73% of respondents in the United States believed that free expression was adequately protected, which may be surprising.

This put the United States in the last position behind nations like Canada (79 percent), the Netherlands (84 percent), and Indonesia (86 percent), all of which scored higher than the U.S.




The limitations of free speech (and the repression that comes with them)

There are limitations to one’s right to free speech. But these aren’t the only things you may be accused of: defamation, invasion of privacy, invasion of copyright and trade secret rights, and even perjury. People aren’t allowed to instigate violence, such as yelling fire in a packed cinema.

Students are prohibited from making or distributing obscene items or making obscene speeches at school-sponsored events. In certain nations and conditions, threats, racist comments, and other racially or religiously intolerant sentiments are also illegally actionable.

Also See: Countries With Death Penalty 2022

However, although many countries consider freedom of expression a basic right, others significantly restrict its use. North Korea, Burma, Turkmenistan, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Eritrea, Cuba, Uzbekistan, Syria, and Belarus are some of the most censored countries in the world.

Authoritarian leaders that perceive the free flow of information as a threat to their power have effectively cut off these nations’ citizens from the rest of the world.

When it comes to spreading information and ideas, governments deploy a combination of censorship and intimidation, as well as state-controlled media and internet censorship.




CountryFreedom of Expression Score 2020Free Speech Index 2021Free Expression Index 2015Free Speech Protection 20192022 Population
Denmark0.9500795834.9500
Belgium0.870011668.2780
Switzerland0.86008773.6370
Finland0.86005554.9600
Uruguay0.86003496.0160
Sweden0.8500788010218.9710
Portugal0.850010140.5700
New Zealand0.85004898.2030
France0.8400664.72007165584.5180
Canada0.83005.08007938388.4190
Estonia0.83001321.9100
Argentina0.8200704.83004446010.2340
Austria0.82009066.7100
Norway0.8200805511.3700
Ireland0.82005020.1990
Italy0.80004.69004360262.7700
Germany0.7900664.34007783883.5960
United Kingdom0.7900744.78006768497.9070
Australia0.7900694.94007426068.7920
Jamaica0.79002985.0940
Czech Republic0.78006810736.7840
Iceland0.7800345.3930
Netherlands0.77008417211.4470
Slovakia0.77005460.1930
Latvia0.77001848.8370
Costa Rica0.76005182.3540
Barbados0.7500288.0230
United States0.7400785.730073334805.2690
Peru0.74004.630033684.2080
Luxembourg0.7400642.3710
Spain0.7300735.62004846719.1420
Chile0.73004.580019250.1950
Taiwan0.72006623888.5950
Ecuador0.720018113.3610
South Korea0.7100683.83007151329.8990
Dominican Republic0.710011056.3700
Senegal0.70002.060017653.6710
Lithuania0.70002661.7080
Japan0.6900713.270062125584.8380
Israel0.6900634.0200688922.8920
Mongolia0.69003378.0780
Cyprus0.69001223.3870
Ghana0.68003.730032395.4500
Greece0.68005910316.6370
Liberia0.68005305.1170
Georgia0.68003968.7380
Trinidad and Tobago0.67001406.5850
Burkina Faso0.66002.940022102.8380
Romania0.660019031.3350
Cape Verde0.6600567.6780
Nigeria0.6500453.510051216746.9340
Panama0.65004446.9640
Armenia0.65002971.9660
Namibia0.65002633.8740
Gambia0.65002558.4820
Solomon Islands0.6500721.1590
Tunisia0.6400437012046.6560
Botswana0.64002441.1620
South Africa0.6300584.80005460756.1350
Kenya0.6300424.04005856215.2210
Niger0.630026083.6600
Malawi0.620020180.8390
Paraguay0.62007305.8430
North Macedonia0.62002081.3040
Mauritius0.62001274.7270
Sierra Leone0.61008306.4360
Croatia0.61004059.2860
Moldova0.61004013.1710
Timor-Leste0.61001369.4290
Nepal0.590030225.5820
Papua New Guinea0.59009292.1690
Gabon0.59002331.5330
Mexico0.5800655.420051131562.7720
Poland0.5800665.66005737739.7850
Mali0.580021473.7640
Haiti0.580011680.2830
Honduras0.580010221.2470
Lesotho0.58002175.6990
Ukraine0.57002.850043192.1220
Guatemala0.570018584.0390
Togo0.57008680.8370
Bulgaria0.57006844.5970
Guinea-Bissau0.57002063.3670
Brazil0.5600614.480042215353.5930
Slovenia0.56002078.0340
Central African Republic0.55005016.6780
Afghanistan0.540040754.3880
Hungary0.540075499606.2590
Kyrgyzstan0.54006728.2710
Mauritania0.54004901.9810
Albania0.54002866.3740
Montenegro0.5400627.9500
Indonesia0.5300453.460086279134.5050
Myanmar0.530055227.1430
India0.5100483.6800581406631.7760
Ethiopia0.5100120812.6980
Sudan0.510045992.0200
Morocco0.510037772.7560
Madagascar0.510029178.0770
Lebanon0.5100543.16006684.8490
DR Congo0.500095240.7920
Colombia0.500051512.7620
Ivory Coast0.500027742.2980
Sri Lanka0.500021575.8420
Bolivia0.500011992.6560
Pakistan0.4900382.7800229488.9940
Zambia0.490019470.2340
Guinea0.490013865.6910
Benin0.490012784.7260
Libya0.49007040.7450
Palestine0.49003.42005345.5410
Malaysia0.48004433181.0720
Philippines0.4600564.600080112508.9940
Iraq0.460042164.9650
Angola0.460035027.3430
Mozambique0.460033089.4610
Zimbabwe0.460015331.4280
El Salvador0.46006550.3890
Bosnia and Herzegovina0.46003249.3170
Uganda0.44003.470048432.8630
Somalia0.440016841.7950
Jordan0.44002.530010300.8690
Kuwait0.44004380.3260
Fiji0.4400909.4660
Chad0.430017413.5800
Tanzania0.41004.380063298.5500
Algeria0.410045350.1480
Uzbekistan0.410034382.0840
Cameroon0.410027911.5480
Serbia0.41008653.0160
Russia0.4000503.340057145805.9470
Venezuela0.4000745.170029266.9910
Bangladesh0.3900167885.6890
Singapore0.39005943.5460
Oman0.38005323.9930
Iran0.370086022.8370
Thailand0.370070078.2030
Kazakhstan0.370019205.0430
Azerbaijan0.370010300.2050
Vietnam0.35002.960098953.5410
Cambodia0.350017168.6390
United Arab Emirates0.330010081.7850
Qatar0.33002979.9150
Rwanda0.320013600.4640
Republic of the Congo0.32005797.8050
Equatorial Guinea0.32001496.6620
Nicaragua0.31006779.1000
Eswatini0.31001184.8170
Egypt0.300041106156.6920
South Sudan0.300011618.5110
Turkey0.2900473.280085561.9760
Tajikistan0.29009957.4640
Yemen0.280031154.8670
Burundi0.280012624.8400
Bahrain0.27001783.9830
Saudi Arabia0.260035844.9090
Cuba0.250011305.6520
Belarus0.25009432.8000
China0.24001448471.4000
Turkmenistan0.23006201.9430
Laos0.22007481.0230
Eritrea0.18003662.2440
Syria0.160019364.8090
North Korea0.060025990.6790




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