Iranian and Russian support for press freedom relatively low

Some interesting results on global attitudes towards press and Internet freedom from a poll by World Public Opinion in honor of Press Freedom Day–including who leads the pack. The good news is that majorities around the world support press freedom. However, two countries we have been following lately, Iran, as part of our study of the Iranian blogosphere, and Russia, have relatively low levels of support compared to others. The survey says the following about Iranian public opinion towards Internet and media freedom:

“While two thirds of Iranians favor press freedom, overall their support is among the weakest. Iranians are one of two publics asked that lean in favor of the government having the right to restrict access to information on the Internet and among the few nations that feel the government should have the right to prevent the press from publishing news and ideas that could be destabilizing. However, a large majority believes Iranians should have the right to read publications from all other countries.

–A majority of Iranians (65%) agrees that it is important for the press to have the freedom to publish news and ideas without government control.

–44% support the government having the right to prevent people from having access to some things on the Internet, while 32% believe people should have the right to read whatever is on the Internet.

–A plurality (45%) favors the argument that the government should have the right to restrict the press’ freedom to publish things it thinks could be destabilizing, while 31% prefer the argument that the press should have the right to publish news and ideas without government control.

–A very large majority (79%) believes people in Iran should have the right to read publications from all other countries.

–Iranians most commonly say that the press has “some” freedom in their country (45%), while just very few (17%) say that it has “a lot” of freedom. Most say that the press should have the same amount of freedom as it does now (43%), while fewer say it should have more (34%) or less freedom (9%).”

And for Russia, equally low support in regard to government regulation of speech if helps ensure stability. According to the survey results:

“Although a substantial majority of Russians agree it is important for the media to be free to publish news and ideas without government control, it is the second smallest majority. More significantly, Russians are one of the few publics (and the only non-Muslim one) divided on whether the government should have the right to control the media in the effort to preserve stability. They are among the publics with the lowest levels of support for the media gaining more freedom than it already has.

–64% of Russians feel it is either somewhat (41%) or very important (23%) for the media to be free to publish news and ideas without government control, while 57% believe they should have the right to read whatever is on the Internet.

–Given two positions, Russians are one of the few publics divided on whether the media should have the right to publish news and ideas without government control (45%) or whether the government should have the right to prevent the media from publishing things in order to preserve stability (44%).

–71% in Russia believe that they should have the right to read publications from all other countries, even those considered enemies.

–Asked how much freedom the media currently have in Russia, the most common view is it has “some” (44%), followed by “a lot” (25%). Only 39% believe the media should have more freedom, while 33% believe it should have the same amount and 17% believe it should have less.”

And which country has the highest level of support for Press Freedom? US? UK? Sweden? Nope.

It’s Mexico.

As the poll says, “Mexicans have the largest majorities saying freedom of the media is “very important” and that the media in their country should have greater freedom. Mexico has one of the largest majorities in support of media being free to publish news and ideas as opposed to allowing the government to impose restrictions to maintain stability.”

It would be interesting to learn why Mexican support for press freedom is so high.

Be Sociable, Share!

2 Responses to “Iranian and Russian support for press freedom relatively low”

  1. Low support for press freedom-I&D « FACT - Freedom Against Censorship Thailand Says:

    […] Iranian and Russian support for press freedom relatively low Internet & Democracy: May 1, […]

  2. Bev Says:

    Hi all. I do quite a bit of work for Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, which has a large global network of humanitarian aid physicians and health workers. I want you to know of the thinking of Patrick Meier–http://irevolution.wordpress.com/dissertation/. War, civilian strife and danger is the context for his work and many of this with CARE, MSF, etc. not only natural disasters. ALso note the work of HHI in Democratic Republic-Congo (surgical interventions for women who are being physically violated by unorganized, roving bands of militia). A third to a half have HIV as a result.