Freedom of expression

March 25, 2015 Weekly Graphs

Although military-ruled Burma/Myanmar has a long history of political repression of the opposition, the country has more recently experienced a democratic opening. Thailand has the most experience with democracy in the region, but has suffered brief periods of military intervention in politics as recently as 2006.

These democratic developments are reflected in the graph below which tracks freedom of expression in the region since 1980.  The V-Dem freedom of expression index measures the extent to which governments respect press and media freedom, the freedom of ordinary people to discuss political matters at home and in the public sphere, as well as the freedom of academic and cultural expression.

Laos has, by far, the lowest level of freedom of expression, ranked at the very bottom of the scale, which ranges from 0-1. Burma/Myanmar and Cambodia both reach scores slightly above 0,5, although Burma/Myanmar is late-comer with improvement since the democratic opening of 2008.  Indonesia and Thailand have  the highest scores of freedom of expression in this sample just above and under a level of 0,8.

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