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A woman from the Iranian diaspora writes ‘#no to death penalty’ on her neck at a protest in support of Iranian women after the death of Jhina Amini in Istanbul, Turkey, on 19 November 2022. Photo: Reuters/Umit Bektas
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NEW: The state of freedom of expression around the world 2024

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More than half of us globally are now living through a freedom of expression crisis

In 2023, the percentage of people living in countries in Crisis rose to 53%. That’s more than 4 billion people in 39 countries. This growth in the population in Crisis countries is due to the shift of India into this expression category between 2022 and 2023. 
Crisis
0-19
Highly Restricted
Highly restricted
20-39
Restricted
40-59
Less restricted
60-79
Open
80-100
Countries per expression category
39
24
25
35
38
People per expression category
4,212m
773m
1,161m
531m
1,287m

5 countries advanced into a more positive expression category

2023 - 2024

FIJI

FROM
Highly Restricted
TO
Restricted

BRAZIL

FROM
Restricted
TO
Open

NIGER

FROM
Restricted
TO
Less Restricted

SRI LANKA

FROM
Highly Restricted
TO
Restricted

THAILAND

FROM
Crisis
TO
Highly Restricted

THAILAND

FROM
In Crisis
TO
Highly Restricted

9 countries fell back into a more restricted expression category

2023 - 2024

BURKINA-FASO

FROM
Less Restricted
TO
Highly Restricted

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

FROM
Restricted
TO
Highly Restricted

ECUADOR

FROM
Less Restricted
TO
Restricted

ETHIOPIA

FROM
Highly Restricted
TO
Crisis

INDIA

FROM
Highly Restricted
TO
Crisis

MOLDOVA

FROM
Open
TO
Less Restricted

MONGOLIA

FROM
Less Restricted
TO
Restricted

SENEGAL

FROM
Less Restricted
TO
Restricted

TOGO

FROM
Restricted
TO
Highly Restricted
While there have been individual country shifts across expression categories over the last year, the total number of countries sitting in each category has remained relatively consistent.

At a global level, freedom of expression is stagnant

‍Both the Global Expression Score (the mean average of country scores) and the Human Score (weighted by population) – which shows the real cost of that loss – have remained unchanged over the last year. Expression Scores have significantly declined over the past decade but the scores have started to level off. 

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Global facts in numbers

46
countries have experienced a negative shift in expression categories since 2000
23%
Less than a quarter of the global population live in Open and Less Restricted expression environments
4.2bn
More than half of the global population now live in Crisis countries – more people than any time this century so far

Far more people are experiencing increases in repression than decreases

Whether measured over the last year, last 5 years, or last decade, those of us experiencing declines far outnumber those experiencing advances in freedom of expression. 

2022-2023

In the last year, 451 million people across 10 countries experienced a deterioration of their freedom of expression; only 335 million people across 5 countries saw improvement. 

The largest decline over the last year took place in Burkina Faso (-24 points), followed by Mongolia (-10 points) and Senegal (-9 points).

Brazil saw the largest advance of the last year with a 26-point increase, pulling the country up by 2 expression categories.

2018-2023

In the last 5 years, 4.2 billion people across 53 countries experienced a deterioration of their freedom of expression; only 681 million people across 18 countries saw improvement.

The largest declines over the last 5 years spanned the globe: expression dropped 47 points in Afghanistan, 43 points in El Salvador, and 42 points in Hong Kong (China). The largest advance in expression (+32 points) took place in Zambia.

2013-2023

Over the last decade, 6.2 billion people across 78 countries experienced a deterioration of their freedom of expression; only 303 million people across 18 countries saw improvement.

Similar to the 5-year timeframe, the largest declines over the last 10 years took place in Hong Kong (-54 points), Afghanistan (-48 points), and El Salvador (-46 points).

The Gambia had by far the largest advance over the timeframe (+63 points) but is a clear outlier; the next-largest increase during the period experienced only a 28-point gain (Fiji).

There continue to be more countries in which freedoms are in decline than countries seeing rises in Expression Scores. What’s more, countries in decline contain many more people than countries in advance, which tend to have much smaller populations. 
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Regions

An overview of the regional data, including scores, rankings, advances and declines – plus data download.
Data for 2023
Sub-Saharan Africa
A map of Sub-Saharan Africa with different colour indicating freedom of expression scores.
Americas
A map of the Americas with different colour indicating freedom of expression scores.
Asia and the Pacific
A map of the Asia and the Pacific with different colour indicating freedom of expression scores.
Europe and Central Asia
A map of Europe and Central Asia with different colour indicating freedom of expression scores.
Middle East and North Africa
A map of the Middle East and North Africa with different colour indicating freedom of expression scores.
Sub-Saharan Africa
Americas
A map of the Americas with different colour indicating freedom of expression scores.
Asia and the Pacific
A map of the Asia and the Pacific with different colour indicating freedom of expression scores.
Europe and Central Asia
A map of Europe and Central Asia with different colour indicating freedom of expression scores.
Middle East and North Africa
A map of the Middle East and North Africa with different colour indicating freedom of expression scores.

Regions (2023)

An overview of the regional data, including scores, rankings, advances and declines – plus data download.
Data for 2024
Sub-Saharan Africa
A map of Sub-Saharan Africa with different colour indicating freedom of expression scores.
Americas
A map of the Americas with different colour indicating freedom of expression scores.
Asia and the Pacific
A map of the Asia and the Pacific with different colour indicating freedom of expression scores.
Europe and Central Asia
A map of Europe and Central Asia with different colour indicating freedom of expression scores.
Middle East and North Africa
A map of the Middle East and North Africa with different colour indicating freedom of expression scores.
Sub-Saharan Africa
Americas
A map of the Americas with different colour indicating freedom of expression scores.
Asia and the Pacific
A map of the Asia and the Pacific with different colour indicating freedom of expression scores.
Europe and Central Asia
A map of Europe and Central Asia with different colour indicating freedom of expression scores.
Middle East and North Africa
A map of the Middle East and North Africa with different colour indicating freedom of expression scores.

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Methodology
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