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Are you free to express your thoughts in your country?

By Rediff Labs
November 24, 2016 15:55 IST
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"Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of citizen.”

-- George Orwell

The Constitution of India provides the right of freedom with the view of guaranteeing individual rights that were considered vital by the framers of the Constitution. The Right of Freedom includes freedom of speech and expression as one of its six freedoms. 

The Rediff Labs team analysed the free expression index developed by PewResearchCenter which explains how countries compare on attitudes about free expression. The index combines the responses for eight survey questions that ask about whether certain types of speech and press should be censored.

Of the questions included in the index five questions ask about free speech, including whether people should be allowed to make public statements that criticise the government policies are offensive to minority groups, all for violent protests, are offensive to their religion or beliefs or are sexually explicit.

Three questions ask about free press, including whether media organisations should be allowed to publish information about large political protests in those country, sensitive issues related to national security or economic issues that might destabilise the country’s economy.

The above map explains the freedom of expression index for each country. Thirty-seven countries participated in this survey and the free expression index is calculated on the scale of 0 to 8.

United States, Poland and Spain are in the first three places with 5.73, 5.66 and 5.62 as their scores respectively. India is at 19th place with 3.68 as its freedom of expression index. The countries which are ranked lowest are Senegal, Burkina Faso and Uganda with 2.06, 2.94, 3.47 as their freedom of expression index respectively. 

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