How Justitia decoded global attitudes towards free speech with YouGov Surveys
August 31st, 2021, Frances Johnson

How Justitia decoded global attitudes towards free speech with YouGov Surveys


Discover global attitudes towards the principle of free speech.


A global survey conducted in 33 markets to explore attitudes towards free speech and controversial speech.


The “Who Cares about Free Speech?” report, aimed to create international dialogue on freedom rights.

Business challenge

Justitia is a judicial think tank which aims to promote human rights, both within Denmark and abroad - by educating and influencing policy experts, decisionmakers, and the public.

The Future of Free Speech is a collaboration between Justitia, Columbia University’s Global Freedom of Expression, and researchers from Aarhus University. It is based on a strong belief that free speech must be the foundation for the future of any free, democratic society.

Different independent organizations have reported a decline in respect for freedom of expression in recent years. The report “Who Cares about Free Speech?” explores to what extent citizens in different nations support the principle of free speech.


The researchers from The Future of Free Speech started working with YouGov as they needed robust, global data from a provider with well-documented experience in political and academic research.

The YouGov Custom Research team conducted the global study in 33 markets representing all continents. The surveys were nationally representative of age, gender, and region (and education and ethnicity in some countries). In some parts of the world, it was not possible to ask questions about controversial topics - YouGov played an important role in obtaining a globally representative sample.



The global survey produced a solid report with essential findings, key to deciphering global attitudes towards the principle of free speech. The “Who Cares about Free Speech?” report has been well received, generating a lot of buzz internationally. It has also shaped dialogue about the importance of free speech and how to develop a culture of free speech at the global level.

The survey data was used to make a bespoke composite measure, the Justitia Free Speech Index. The Index is based on answers to eight questions about the willingness to allow controversial types of speech. It provides an overview of the support of free speech in a particular country thereby providing an invaluable tool in Justitia’s ongoing research.

For more information on the findings, you can read the report in full via

Client testimonial

“Globally, testing people's limits of free speech is no easy task, but YouGov provided good advice throughout the project. We chose YouGov because of the size of their panel and their global reach. YouGov has extensive experience and is well recognized within academic research, which was important in order to deliver strong, valid results, which can create for foundations for an extremely important dialogue on freedom of expression in the coming years.”

- Jacob Mchangama, Founder and Executive Director at Justitia

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