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Afghanistan

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

Albania

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

Algeria

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

Andorra

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

Angola

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Expression, Including for the Press

The constitution and law provide for freedom of expression, including for the press, but while the government loosened restrictions on these rights during the year, state media continued to be the country’s primary source for news and reflected a progovernment view.

Freedom of Expression: Individuals reported practicing self-censorship but generally were able to criticize government policies without fear of direct reprisal. Social media was widely used in the larger cities and provided an open forum for discussion.

Press and Media Freedom: Private radio and print media criticized the government openly and harshly, but access to private media sources was limited outside of the capital. Journalists routinely complained of lack of transparency and communication from government press offices and other government officials.

The president appoints the leadership of all major state-owned media outlets and state control of these outlets often led to one-sided reporting. State news outlets, including Angolan Public Television (TPA), Radio Nacional, and the Jornal de Angola newspaper, favored the ruling party but increased their coverage of opposition political parties’ perspectives and social problems reflecting poor governance during the year. On January 18, the TPA inaugurated live broadcasts of plenary sessions of the National Assembly. Also in January, the TPA began permitting opposition politicians to comment live on stories featured on the nightly news. Opposition parties, however, received far less overall coverage on state media than did the ruling party.

Violence and Harassment: Journalists reported fewer incidents of violence or harassment during the year. On October 19, the board of directors of TV Zimbo dismissed journalist Jorge Eurico allegedly for reporting on an attempted bribery scandal involving senior government officials. Media outlets Club-K and a foreign news organization reported that General Leopoldino Fragoso de Nascimento “Dino,” a major shareholder in TV Zimbo, ordered Eurico’s dismissal. On October 24, Eurico published an opinion editorial denouncing his dismissal from TV Zimbo.

Censorship or Content Restrictions: In January 2017 the National Assembly passed a package of five regulatory media laws, one of which established the Regulatory Entity for Social Communication (ERCA), a body mandated to license and delicense journalists and determine what constitutes appropriate media content. At year’s end ERCA remained largely inactive.

Journalists reported practicing self-censorship.

The minister of social communication, the spokesperson of the presidency, and the national director of information maintained significant decision-making authority over media. It was commonly understood these individuals actively vetted news stories in the state-controlled print, television, and radio media and exercised considerable authority over some privately owned outlets. State-controlled media rarely published or broadcast stories critical of the ruling party, government officials, or government policies. Coverage critical of the previous government of Jose Eduardo dos Santos and of senior-level officials who had been dismissed on allegations of corruption increased significantly during the year.

On September 3, the minister of social communication announced that cable provider DStv would start broadcasting two Portuguese-owned television channels, SIC Noticias and SIC Internacional, which Angolan telecommunications operator ZAP, owned by Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of former president Jose Eduardo do Santos, stopped broadcasting in March 2017. Expresso newspaper correspondent in Luanda Gustavo Costa and the president of the Media Institute for Southern Africa-Angola, Alexandre Solombe, stated that ZAP’s decision to cease broadcasting the two channels was in response to their critical reporting on corruption and poverty in the country.

Libel/Slander Laws: Defamation is a crime for which conviction is punishable by imprisonment or a fine, and unlike in most cases in which defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty, defendants in defamation cases have the burden of proving their innocence by providing evidence of the validity of the allegedly damaging material.

Several journalists in print media, radio, and political blogs faced libel and defamation lawsuits. Journalists complained the government used libel laws to limit their ability to report on corruption and nepotistic practices, while the government assessed that some journalists abused their positions and published inaccurate stories regarding government officials without verifying the facts or providing the accused the right of reply. On July 6, the Provincial Tribunal of Luanda acquitted journalists Rafael Marques and Mariano Bras on charges of defamation and slander for alleging corrupt practices by former attorney general Joao Maria de Sousa. Judge Josina Ferreira Falcao ruled that Marques’ reporting, which Bras had republished, fulfilled the duty of journalism to inform the public and expose suspected wrongdoings.

INTERNET FREEDOM

The law mandates ERCA to determine what constitutes appropriate media content, including online content. The government did not, however, restrict or disrupt access to the internet or censor online content, and there were no credible reports the government monitored private online communications without appropriate legal oversight. According to the International Telecommunication Union, in 2017 approximately 14 percent of residents had access to the internet.

ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND CULTURAL EVENTS

There were no government restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events.

Antigua and Barbuda

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Argentina

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Armenia

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Australia

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Austria

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Azerbaijan

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Bahrain

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Bangladesh

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Barbados

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Belarus

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Belgium

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Belize

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Benin

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Bhutan

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Bolivia

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Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Botswana

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Expression, Including for the Press

Freedom of Expression:  The constitution and law provide for freedom of speech and press; however, the law restricts the speech of some government officials and fines persons found guilty of insulting public officials or national symbols.  The law states, “Any person in a public place or at a public gathering (who) uses abusive, obscene, or insulting language in relation to the president, any other member of the National Assembly, or any public officer” is guilty of an offense and may be fined up to 400 pula ($38).  The penal code also states that any person who insults the country’s coat of arms, flag, presidential standard, or national anthem is guilty of an offense and may be fined up to 500 pula ($47).

Press and Media Freedom:  In a break from his predecessor, President Masisi initiated a productive relationship with media shortly after assuming the presidency on April 1.  He held two press conferences in his first 100 days and repeatedly assured journalists of his respect for their role in a healthy democracy.  He also began the process of establishing a first-ever presidential press office to welcome and promote engagement with media.  The government dominated domestic broadcasting.

The government owned and operated the Botswana Press Agency, which dominated the print media through its free, nationally distributed newspaper, Daily News, and two state-operated FM radio stations.  State-owned media generally featured reporting favorable to the government and, according to some observers, were susceptible to political interference.  Opposition political parties claimed state media coverage heavily favored the ruling party.  The government ombudsman stated in a 2017 report that public broadcaster Botswana Television “unduly favored” the ruling party in its political coverage.

Independent media were active and generally expressed a wide variety of views, which frequently included strong criticism of the government; however, media members complained they were sometimes subject to government pressure to portray the government and country in a positive light.  Private media organizations had more difficulty than government-owned media obtaining access to government-held information.

Censorship or Content Restrictions:  Some members of civil society organizations alleged the government occasionally censored stories in government-run media it deemed undesirable.  Government journalists sometimes practiced self-censorship.

Libel/Slander Laws:  In 2014 police arrested Sunday Standard editor Outsa Mokone and charged him with sedition for publishing articles about an automobile accident allegedly involving President Khama.  Observers noted the use of the penal code’s sedition clause for a newspaper article was unprecedented and that the Sunday Standard had published several articles exposing corruption allegations within the DISS.  In 2016 lawyers for Mokone sought to have the charges dropped based on the penal code’s infringement of the defendant’s constitutional right to freedom of expression.  That same year the High Court ruled the penal code’s sedition clause was constitutional and charges of sedition against Mokone could proceed.  In September the government dropped all charges against Mokone.  The Court of Appeal did not rule on the constitutionality of the sedition clause.

Internet Freedom

The government did not restrict or disrupt access to the internet or censor online content, and there were no credible reports the government monitored private online communications without appropriate legal authority.  According to the International Telecommunication Union, in 2017 approximately 41 percent of individuals used the internet.

Academic Freedom and Cultural Events

There were no government restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events.

Brazil

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Brunei

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Bulgaria

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Burkina Faso

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Burma

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Burundi

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Cabo Verde

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Cambodia

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The constitution provides for freedom of expression, including the press; however, in 2017-18 the government carried out a sustained campaign to eliminate independent news media in the country, and most individuals and institutions reported on the need for self-censorship.

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Cameroon

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Canada

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Central African Republic

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Chad

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Chile

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China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau) – China

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China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau) – Hong Kong

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China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau) – Macau

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China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau) – Tibet

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Colombia

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Comoros

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Costa Rica

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Cote d’Ivoire

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Croatia

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Cuba

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Cyprus

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Cyprus – the Area Administered by Turkish Cypriots

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Czech Republic

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Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

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Democratic Republic of the Congo

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Denmark

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Djibouti

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Dominica

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Dominican Republic

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Ecuador

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Egypt

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El Salvador

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Equatorial Guinea

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Eritrea

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Estonia

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Eswatini

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Ethiopia

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Federated States of Micronesia

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Fiji

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Finland

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France

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Gabon

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Georgia

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Germany

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Ghana

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Greece

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Grenada

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Guatemala

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Guinea

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Guinea-Bissau

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Guyana

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Haiti

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Honduras

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Hungary

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Iceland

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India

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Indonesia

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Iran

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Iraq

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Ireland

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Israel, Golan Heights, West Bank, and Gaza

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

Israel, Golan Heights, West Bank, and Gaza – West Bank and Gaza

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Italy

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Jamaica

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Japan

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Jordan

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Kazakhstan

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Kenya

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Kiribati

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Kosovo

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Kuwait

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Kyrgyz Republic

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Laos

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Latvia

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Lebanon

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Lesotho

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Liberia

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Libya

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Liechtenstein

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Lithuania

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Luxembourg

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Madagascar

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Malawi

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Malaysia

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Maldives

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Mali

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Malta

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Marshall Islands

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Mauritania

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Mauritius

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Mexico

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Moldova

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Monaco

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Mongolia

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Montenegro

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Morocco

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Mozambique

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Namibia

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Nauru

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Nepal

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Netherlands

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New Zealand

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Nicaragua

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Niger

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Nigeria

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North Macedonia

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Norway

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Oman

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Pakistan

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Palau

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Panama

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Papua New Guinea

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Paraguay

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Peru

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Philippines

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Poland

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Portugal

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Qatar

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Republic of the Congo

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Romania

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Russia

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Rwanda

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Saint Kitts and Nevis

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Saint Lucia

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Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

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Samoa

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San Marino

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Sao Tome and Principe

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Saudi Arabia

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Senegal

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Serbia

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Seychelles

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Sierra Leone

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Singapore

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Slovakia

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Slovenia

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Solomon Islands

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Somalia

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South Africa

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South Sudan

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Spain

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Sri Lanka

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Sudan

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Suriname

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Sweden

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Switzerland

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Syria

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Taiwan

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Tajikistan

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Tanzania

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Thailand

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The Bahamas

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The Gambia

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Timor-Leste

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Togo

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Tonga

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Trinidad and Tobago

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Tunisia

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Turkey

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Turkmenistan

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Tuvalu

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Uganda

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Ukraine

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Ukraine (Crimea)

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United Arab Emirates

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United Kingdom

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Expression, Including for the Press

The law provides for freedom of expression, including for the press, and the government routinely respected these rights. An independent press, an effective judiciary, and a functioning democratic political system combined to promote freedom of expression, including for the press.

Freedom of Expression: The law prohibits expressions of hatred toward persons because of their color, race, nationality (including citizenship), ethnic or national origin, religion, or sexual orientation as well as any communication that is threatening or abusive and is intended to harass, alarm, or distress a person. The penalties for such expressions include fines, imprisonment, or both.

Press and Media Freedom: The law’s restrictions on expressions of hatred apply to the print and broadcast media. In Bermuda the law prohibits publishing written words that are threatening, abusive, or insulting, but only on racial grounds; on other grounds, including sexual orientation, the law prohibits only discriminatory “notices, signs, symbols, emblems, or other representations.”

Uruguay

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Uzbekistan

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Vanuatu

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Venezuela

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Vietnam

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Western Sahara

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Yemen

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Zambia

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Zimbabwe

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U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future