Press Freedoms Around the World
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Average Duration
60+ Minutes
Difficulty Level
Lesson Host
Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson
of NPR

Explore the state of press freedoms in 22 nations, including videos of journalists in 10 countries recounting their reporting experiences.

News literacy topics

A free press; Investigative journalism/watchdog role; The First Amendment

Learning objectives

  • I can explain what press freedom is and compare the ways that different countries protect — or restrict — it.
  • I can synthesize information from watchdog organizations that track how journalists are treated in different countries to create a profile for the press freedom level of a specific country.

Essential questions

  • What are some significant ways that press freedoms can be protected or restricted?
  • How can journalists in a country with legal or constitutional protections of press freedoms still experience restrictions or limitations on their work?


“Today, more journalists are imprisoned around the world than ever before, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists – most on anti-state charges, such as supporting terrorism. In a democracy, where members of the government are elected to their positions by the citizens of the country, a free press plays an important role in providing information to the public about the workings of the government, and in the process, helps hold the powerful to account. The more protections journalists are afforded in a given country, the more freedom they have to comment on the policies and activities of the government. That, in turn, enables citizens to make informed decisions when they cast their votes.”