The expression of freedom

The Expression Agenda (XpA) metric gives a comprehensive picture of the state of freedom of expression and information internationally in 2016, using independently collected and verified data by Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem)

V-Dem’s pioneering work, now the largest social science data collection project in the world, has at last made it possible to evaluate the state of freedom of expression effectively. ARTICLE 19 has partnered with the V-Dem, whose multi-dimensional dataset examines 350 aspects of democracy, enabling a cutting-edge analysis that presents the challenges and complexity of the landscape for freedom of expression.

By examining freedom of expression through this holistic approach, we can achieve a far deeper understanding of the benefits, risks and global trends that impact on the ability of everyone to raise their voice and be heard, regardless of sex, gender, ethnicity, race or religion.

ARTICLE 19 has worked with V-Dem to select 32 indicators out of the 350 measured by V-Dem to provide a rich and multi-faceted view on the challenges facing freedom of expression and information globally. These indicators have been aggregated into five indices based on ARTICLE 19’s assessment of the five defining elements, or pillars, of freedom of expression:

Civic space | civic space is the place, physical and legal, where individuals realise their rights. It includes the freedom to speak and to access the means to do so, participate in public decision-making, organise, associate and assemble. A robust and protected civic space forms the cornerstone of accountable, responsive democratic governance and stable societies.

Media | media pluralism and media freedom are essential for protecting and promoting freedom of expression and the public interest in an increasingly globalised, digitalised and converged media landscape worldwide.

Transparency | the basis of transparency is the right of individuals to obtain information from both public and private bodies, where their actions relate to how government operates or affect the public interest. Communities and individuals are then empowered to hold governments and other actors accountable in promoting and defending human and socioeconomic rights.

Digital | human rights principles on freedom of expression and information must be embedded in the laws, policies, products and processes that have an impact on the internet. In the digital era, freedom of expression includes a commitment to protect the individual’s right to access and engage in debate, dissent and information-sharing on an open internet.

Portection | those on the frontline of defending freedom of expression and information must be supported by effective networks of institutions and activists, and by strong legal frameworks and mechanisms. This helps to ensure the safety of communicators and to hold those who violate freedom of expression accountable.

The visualization below reveals the values of the five 'freedom of expression' pillars per country, where each value is a number between 0 and 1, the higher the better. These 172 countries provide both the opportunity to compare each country to the rest of the World, plus the option to zoom in and explore the separate values of one country in particular (try hovering or clicking countries that you're interested in).

Use the buttons below to create a focus on a specific region, or to order all of the countries by one of the five pillars, instead of the average of all 5 values.

Highlight a Region

Order by a 'Freedom of Expression' value

This metric is a work in progress: some of the indicators that ARTICLE 19 considers relevant for assessing the state of freedom of expression have not yet been measured by V-Dem. This includes restrictions on the right to protest , the impact of internet governance and financial transparency. ARTICLE 19’s partnership with V-Dem will support the development of additional, relevant indicators in the global dataset. We would welcome your feedback on the selected indicators as we refine this for the future. We hope that this metric, to be published annually, helps galvanise action at the global, regional and national level to protect freedom of expression for future generations.

Ordered by the Average of all 5 values |

Created by Nadieh Bremer


Visual Cinnamon