The 10 Most Censored Countries In The World

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While freedom of the press is standard practice in the United States, most countries in the world don’t get such a luxury.According to the Freedom House via Newseum, across the world, most people live in countries considered to be only “partly free,” or “not free.” There are 69 countries considered to have complete freedom of the press, mostly located in the Americas and Europe.

But many countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, have severe restrictions on what journalists can, and cannot say. This causes self-censorship among journalists, preventing many important issues from being revealed to the public.

If journalists do release information the government does not approve, they run the risk of fines, jail, and in some places, even death.

Freedom House assigns every country a number from zero (best) to 100 (worst), based on the country’s freedom in print, broadcast, and internet news. Each one of the following countries was assigned 89 or higher.


Censorship score: 89 out of 100

Press freedom has always been foreign to citizens of Iran, but after the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009, it got worse. At the end of 2009, Iran had more journalists in jail than anywhere in the world.

The Press Law in Iran states no one can publish any ideas that oppose Islamic principals or are detrimental to public rights.

Source: Newseum

Equatorial Guinea

Censorship score: 90 out of 100

Freedom of expression and the press, are both guaranteed but not in any way followed. Almost all coverage is strictly controlled and censored by the government and any criticism of high ranking officials is not tolerated.

Source: Newseum


Censorship score: 92 out of 100

In Uzbekistan any journalist who criticises the president could face up to five years in prison. Self-censorship is common, because the government uses harsh harassment to intimidate the media.

Source: Newseum


Censorship score: 92 out of 100

In Belarus, if a journalists criticises the president, or government, it is considered a criminal offence which can result in heavy fines or jail time. A law that went into effect in 2009 forces all journalists to register with the Information Ministry. The registration process allows the government to weed out those organisations they think could violate the strict press laws.

Source: Newseum


Censorship score: 93 out of 100

Of the Americas, Cuba has the strictest press laws. Fidel Castro's long standing regime has always had a reputation for censoring the media.

All of the media outlets, by law, are owned by the government.

Source: Newseum


Censorship score: 94 out of 100

The Libyan government has strict control over journalistic practices and journalist can face harsh punishments if they go against them. Punishments can be as harsh as a death sentence.

Source: Newseum


Censorship score: 94 out of 100

In Eritrea there are no privately owned media outlets, they are all owned by the government. All journalists are state employed and many of them have fled the country because of intimidation.

Source: Newseum


Censorship score: 95 out of 100

The government in Turkmenistan has control over all domestic media outlets in the country. Self-censorship is common because journalist fear being charged with libel, a criminal offence.

There are press freedom laws in the constitution but they are completely ignored.

Source: Newseum


Censorship score: 95 out of 100

There are privately owned publications in Burma but they are required to be censored by the government prior to their publication. Because of this, there are few daily publications, as most are forced to be weekly, or monthly. Journalists who insult the regime are at risk of imprisonment and assault.

Source: Newseum

North Korea

Censorship score: 99 out of 100

North Korea's press freedom is almost non-existent. The government controls all media outlets, censors everything, and strictly limits citizens access to information.

All of the journalists are members of the government and media outlets are essentially for the purpose of promoting the regime.

Even listening to foreign broadcasts in North Korea is a crime, and is subject to punishments like physical labour, imprisonment, and even the death penalty.

Source: Newseum

Notice all the Middle Eastern countries?

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