Not long ago, the idea that free speech and democracy were in retreat would have been an outlandish notion. From 1980 to 2003, the number of countries with a free press grew from 51 to 78, according to Freedom House. And this growth went hand in hand with an unprecedented spread of democracy and human rights at the global level.
But 2004 marked the beginning of a constant decline. Since then, we’re down from 41 to 31 percent of the world’s countries with a free press. Only 13 percent of the world’s 7.4 billion people enjoy free speech, while 45 percent live in countries where censorship is the norm. And, unfortunately, it’s not only China, Venezuela, or Saudi Arabia driving this development—Europe, too, has become less tolerant of controversial speech.
Read the full article by Jacob Mchangama in Cato´s Letters.