Which Countries Do Not Have Freedom of Speech?

Countries Without Freedom of Speech

When someone says ‘freedom of speech’ they usually mean the right to express one’s ideas or opinions without being afraid of retaliation from the government. Freedom of expression is similar to it as it is the right to receive, seek or impart information through any medium. Freedom of speech and expression are usually correlated with freedom of the press too. The right to free speech is considered a basic and fundamental human right by most free countries of the world. Countries without freedom of press or countries without freedom of choice make their citizens disconnected from the world.

What countries don’t have freedom of speech?

Countries such as North Korea are so strict about controlling their citizens and their opinions that they have created information void and in doing so made their citizens stop developing or progressing. We have here a list of countries without freedom of speech and expression that will help you understand this analysis better:

  1. North Korea: In North Korea freedom of speech is nonexistent. The public does not get to practice much of their basic rights including freedom of expression. The media is controlled by the government of Kim Jong-un and doles out harsh punishments on anyone disobeying the leader’s policies. The country has been known to hide the real conditions of their people such as their cover-up of the poverty and famine that the people suffered.
  2. Burma: In Burma freedom of speech or expression is considered unnecessary by the government of Htin Kyaw. All the citizens are strictly controlled to not articulate their opinions especially if it is against their leader. The media is run by the government and if anyone dare go against the word of their leader they are punished harshly. The state does not even grant visas easily especially to foreign journalists.
  3. Turkmenistan: The previous president of the country, Saparmurat Niyazov, proclaimed himself to be the president for life and father of the Turkmen. The people of Turkmenistan do not have the freedom of speech and expression as every media is controlled and censored by the government. The oppression is so extreme that all the country’s libraries were closed in 2005 except for the one that had all the president’s books.
  4. Equatorial Guinea: The lack of freedom of expression is so high in this country that there are no bookstores or newsstands in the country. No newspapers are published and people rarely get the chance to voice their opinions. They get imprisoned for life if anyone dares say anything that is their personal opinion. Songs warning people of being punished if they speak out against the leader are played on the local radio station.
  5. Libya: In Libya freedom of speech is not a thing that the people even know about. The country’s oppression is the most extreme out of all Arab countries. The government has been known to arrest and even execute people trying to critic them over the Internet. People of Libya barely get any of their human rights realized, let alone the freedom of speech. The media print or otherwise are censored completely by the government as well.
  6. Eritrea: The president of Eritrea, Isaias Afewerki, has made it so that the country has no private media outlets out of all the sub-Saharan African countries. The international media has no idea of what is going on with the people of Eritrea at all because the government tightly controls all the information being broadcast. The lack of freedom of speech has made the public hopeless and their oppression does not even get broadcast to the world to get them help.
  7. Cuba: The Constitution of Cuba boldly gives the Communist Party their right to control the press. The only opinion you can give must be in favor of the government and their policies. Cuba is the leading oppressors, after China, to arrest journalists with 24 imprisoned at the moment. The country has put restriction on the use of the Internet so the people barely get to communicate and say what they think.
  8. Uzbekistan: The Uzbekistan government runs a Soviet-style dictatorship that started with the former president and continues with the recent Prime Minister, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who is even tougher on his people than his predecessor. The government is known to terrorize and intimidate human rights activists and journalists going as far as to arresting them. Police brutality, Islamic oppression, poverty and many other sufferings of the citizens is silenced by the government-controlled media.
  9. Syria: The President, Bashar al-Assad, has made the government control any and all citizens to not be able to speak their mind especially if it is against the leading regime. The country is known to have arrested and intimidated journalists and human rights activists for being liberal and outspoken in their critic. There are strict rules and punishments in place for when people try to get their voices heard.
  10. Belarus: The freedom of speech oppression is at such extreme levels that the state has set prison penalties that can arrest you for up to five years if you criticize the president. People of Belarus do not get to say their piece because all the media is controlled by the government. The heavily censored media also praise their leader as if he is a beloved leader which is not the case.

Countries World Ranking Score for freedom speech
North Korea 179 84.86
Burma 143 46.59
Turkmenistan 178 84.55
Equatorial Guinea 168 67.58
Libya 164 58.9
Eritrea 180 84.95
Cuba 171 71.34
Uzbekistan 166 62.26
Syria 177 82.46
Belarus 157 55.43

Free speech is a basic human right recognized by many, but it is still a privilege for most. Many of the above mentioned are countries without freedom of religion as well, which is also a fundamental human right. Every human should have the right to speak as they want and say what is on their mind. No other human has the right to control what a person has to say and think. This kind of oppression is why countries barely develop and progress. The above list, chart and table mention countries with the least freedom of speech by country rank.

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