Global decline in freedom of expression
The global state of freedom of expression and information is at its lowest point for ten years.
The price for speaking out and protecting the right to freedom of expression around the world is high. With 78 journalists and 312 human rights defenders murdered in 2017, many more incarcerated, protests met with violence and online behaviour ever-more restricted, we are witnessing a global crisis for freedom of expression. Power holders across the world are increasingly denigrating dissent as treason and ‘fake news’, seeking to silence those that challenge them.
Our 2017/18 report on the state of freedom of expression tracks global trends across key areas of freedom of expression and information, and how they are experienced in various countries.
The Expression Agenda (XpA) metric shows that global freedom of expression has declined significantly over the last three years. The overall decline is being driven by the worldwide demise of media freedom and increasing intimidation of journalists, including verbal and physical attacks. The metric illustrates how freedom of public debate, media freedom, and civil society are particularly under attack.
The XPA metric
The visualization below shows the values of our five ‘freedom of expression’ pillars per country, where each value is a number between 0 and 1, the higher the better. These 175 countries provide both the opportunity to compare each country to the rest of the world, plus the option to zoom in and explore the separate values of each country. Use the buttons below to explore a specific region, or to order all countries by theme.
Measuring freedom of expression
Our metric gives a comprehensive picture of the state of freedom of expression and information internationally in 2017. Using V-Dem’s multi-dimensional dataset, which measures aspects of democracy, social justice, and human rights, around the world, ARTICLE 19 has selected 32 indicators which capture the challenges and complexity of freedom expression and access to information across the world.
By examining freedom of expression through the holistic approach of the Expression Agenda, we have achieved a deeper understanding of the issues that impact the ability of everyone to speak and to know, to raise their voice and be heard, regardless of sex, gender, ethnicity, race or religion.
Global trends from our metric show that media freedom is at its lowest level in ten years. 24 countries showed an overall decline in freedom of expression between 2014 and 2017 – including several democratic states, such as the US, Poland and Brazil.
The five defining elements of the freedom of expression agenda:
XPA report 2017
The Expression Agenda is our global human rights strategy. Through it, we target the best means of protecting rights and freedoms on the ground, while enhancing international instruments that protect freedom of expression and the right to information around the world.
Our annual report on the state of freedom of expression tracks global trends across major issues of freedom of expression and information, and how they are experienced in various countries.