Most countries in the world have endowed their citizens with freedom of expression and speech, and have officially mentioned it in their constitutions. Although there are provisions and laws that implement limitations on free expression in every country, our right to express can never be fully suppressed. Some countries in the world, however, have no or insignificant freedom of expression for their citizens!
The rule in Turkmenistan is too harsh to let freedom of expression prevail independently. The effect of this provision is nationwide and the media and journalism are the first to suffer. Most media outlets in the country are controlled by the government. Reporters and journalists all fear vilification charges and this is one of the reasons they never attempt to openly criticize the government and impose self-censorship on themselves.
Another censored country where free expression is nothing more than a serious crime liable to be punished by the government. It’s no wonder even if a journalist gets sentenced for 5 years or more for just criticizing the rule or observing what wrong is happening in the country and putting it forth through a media platform. The governments try their best to harass and coerce the media and everybody associated with it, and this is what can be held responsible for self-censorship being a common thing there!
Another country that is pretty tough on journalists and its common citizens is Myanmar. Though there exist numerous publications that are privately owned in the county, they are plainly controlled by the government and have no or negligible practical power! Everybody (citizens, journalists and social activists) who dares to go up against the regime is always at the risk of assault, imprisonment or other legal punishments. This is the reason there is a small number of daily newspapers and journals in Myanmar and those that exist are strictly required to release either weekly or monthly issues.
For citizens of Iran, free expression to their feelings has always been alien. The scenario became worse with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad getting re-elected in the year 2009. As monopoly would do it, jails in the country were more jam-packed with journalists than any other place in the world by the end of the year. Nobody can be allowed to circulate any thoughts that in any way disapprove of public rights and are against Islamic standards, states the Iranian press law.
Like most countries in the list, the criticism of the government or the President by media or a journalist, again, is a grave criminal offence subject to either heavy monetary penalties or imprisonment, or even both in some cases! A so-called law has been forcing every journalist within the country to get registered with the Ministry of Information ever since it was brought into effect in the year 2009, regardless of how furiously citizens, media or journalists themselves reacted to it! As expected and understood, the rule allocates the ruling people the authority to monitor (nullify!) All media associations that could expose them!
2. North Korea:
Freedom of expression is all but non-existent for both common people and the media in North Korea. It is the government that stalwartly limits its citizens’ direct access to any type of information and always has a check on media outlets. Interestingly, the media is exploited in order to promote the command of the government and the journalists of the country need to be a part of the state-run ruling system. The worst, it is considered to be a serious crime in North Korea to listen to any foreign broadcasts and the breach of the law is subject to stern penalties including imprisonment, physical labor and in some cases even death!
This is the nation where the whole world witnessed the governments trample freedom of expression, the most imperative of all the human rights given to citizens in any country, with all its might and confidence! It was hardly two year back or so and not long back in history that the Syrian government sought to impose absolute news blackout. After all, it sounds a little awkward to hear that a country can afford media crackdown even in this technology-driven 21st
century, the age of most advanced media of communication including cell phones and social media already well under way!