Freedom of expression at a 10-year low, study says

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A UK-based charity’s annual survey of freedom of expression around the world has found that such freedom hit a 10-year low in 2019.

The Global Expression Report, which analyzes the factors that contribute to the health (or otherwise) of freedom of expression globally, found many countries encouraging a downward trend in the rights of their own citizens.

The data show that three of every four people on the planet are in a deteriorating environment for freedom of expression.  Extrapolating from these figures, some 5.5 billion people are living in countries where a vitally important human right is being increasingly throttled.

The survey, conducted by the charity Article 19, notes that while there were some improvements in the overall freedom-of-expression environment around the world between 2008 and 2013, these gains were eroded in the five subsequent years. According to Article 19’s analysis, more than sixty-five countries with a combined population of over five billion people have seen their freedom of expression decline over the past decade.

In 2018, 99 journalists were killed – 21 more than 2017. The global impunity rate for this crime continues to soar, at over 95 percent.  At the end of 2018, more than 250 journalists were in prison – also up from the year before. 321 human rights defenders were also killed – up nine from 2017.

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