Are there countries without freedom of speech or press? Yes, unfortunately there are. It is a very interesting topic and now Insider Monkey has published an article about it. Lack of freedom of speech and press is often associated with third-world dictatorships and poverty ridden nations and while we have plenty of those on the menu, there are also a few countries that are considered strong economically.
Regardless of their economic status, they do have few things in common, like the rampant corruption and lack of transparency in government’s work. For the most part, these regimes don’t shy from censorship in any way they can achieve the media’s cooperation and intimidating journalists is usually their go to method of preventing them from reporting on their dealings.
Now without a further ado let’s see what Insider Monkey has investigated for us. We have picked two countries from their list. The first one is Laos. The Lao People’s Revolutionary Party has been in power since the country gain independence from France in 1953. It has gone the usual route for all other communist regimes worldwide when it comes to the media freedoms, complete control of all agencies and quick stomping of any dissenting voices. However, as Internet became more available to the population, it has become a popular platform for the opposition to be heard. The government has introduced a decree that criminalized any critic of “Marxist-Leninist though” and the party itself, which led to several arrests and convictions. Any foreign media wishing to operate in Laos must allow the state censors unlimited access to their materials, a condition few were ready to accept.
The second country is Yemen. Between the non-discriminatory air strikes of Saudi Arabia and their allies and the Houthi rebels, journalism has become a highly risky profession in Yemen. The capital Sanaa, under the control of former President Saleh and his Houthi allies, is a scene of constant threats and harassment of those few remaining independent journalists. Abductions of reporters are also a common occurrence, with some 15 journalists and media workers held in captivity by the Houthis. Those who venture close to the front lines risk getting killed by the Saudi air force, which has adopted the practice of shooting first and asking questions later, although some witnesses say that they have dispensed with the whole “asking question” part entirely.
For any further interesting information read Insider Monkey’s article about 11 countries without freedom of speech or press.