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World Sees Media as a Little More Free
World

World Sees Media as a Little More Free

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Amid rising concerns about the freedom of the press across much of the world this World Press Freedom Day, the world in general is more likely to see the media as having a lot of freedom than it was a few years ago.

Across 133 countries surveyed last year -- one of the deadliest on record for journalists -- a median of 64% of adults agreed the media in their country have a lot of freedom, while 28% disagreed. These results are similar to the 2017 figures, but represent a slight improvement from 2016.

Alt text: Line graph. Nearly two in three worldwide see media having a lot of freedom.

These perceptions vary around the world, however, and in 28 countries, less than half of adults say their media have a lot of freedom. Many of these are states with poor track records on media freedom (such as Belarus or Republic of the Congo) and where there is increasing evidence of eroding media freedom (such as Gabon, where a newspaper was temporarily shuttered in 2018 for reporting on the president's health).

Countries With Least Perceived Media Freedom
Do the media in this country have a lot of freedom, or not?
Yes, media have a lot of freedom
%
Comoros 35
Venezuela 35
Belarus 34
Turkey 32
Singapore 30
Togo 30
Gabon 29
Ukraine 29
Yemen 28
Republic of the Congo 27
Mauritania 18
Gallup World Poll, 2018

As in past years, European nations dominate the list of countries with the highest perceived media freedom. More than nine in 10 adults in Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland say their media have a lot of freedom. The only non-European country in that very top range is Canada.

Countries With Highest Perceived Media Freedom
Do the media in this country have a lot of freedom, or not?
Yes, media have a lot of freedom
%
Denmark 98
Norway 96
Netherlands 94
Finland 92
Canada 91
Sweden 91
Switzerland 91
Australia 89
New Zealand 89
Taiwan 89
Gallup World Poll, 2018

Canada's neighbor to the south -- where the media have routinely been called "fake news" and the "enemy of the people" for the past two years -- narrowly misses making the top 10 list. Eighty-eight percent of Americans say the media in their country are free. This is in line with results in 2017, but up from levels in 2015 and 2016, when figures were in the lower 80s.

Alt text: More Americans in 2017 and 2018 said the media in their country have a lot of freedom.

The increase in the U.S. given the prickly relationship between President Donald Trump and the mainstream media may be an unintended byproduct of this environment. It's possible that the intense focus on the media over the past several years has created more visibility to its role as a government watchdog, and a hyper focus on its freedom.

Read more Gallup analysis about the media.

For complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup's Country Data Set details.

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Gallup https://news.gallup.com/poll/249335/world-sees-media-little-free.aspx
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