Best jurisdictions for free speech?

ylove

New member
Hey,

New here, but really learning a lot from the threads already. Had a question:

I'm starting an investigative media startup and I wanted to know the best jurisdictions for free speech? Hate speech laws aren't really as much of an issue as laws about "defamation" and laws that require journalists to reveal their sources. Really, jurisdictions that are anti-censorship in general. Any suggestions?
 

Gediminas

Offshore Tax Advisory
Mentor Group Gold
Commercial Service
Business Angel
Hey,

Lithuania. I am a big believer of that.

If you wish, I can send you a PM with a contact of the Lithuanian investigative journalist. One of the best out there. You could ask him directly.
 

KJK

Entrepreneur
Hmm, maybe Iceland and Sweden in Europe or Ecuador in America.

What exactly are you looking for? To form a company, or host a defamatory website, or start a newspaper? Something else?

In one country you may deny holocaust but you'll get sued for defamation. In another country you can do journalism as much as you want but you must be politically correct. In another country it is total anarchy...

So it really depends on what exactly what you want to do.

You should avoid USA (crazy lawyers), European Union (laws such as "right to be forgotten" etc.) and countries where internet is filtered/censored or ISPs can be monitored (Russia). Also obviously avoid the countries which may be related to the stories you'll cover (don't host in Azerbaijan if you'll be covering story about wife of some Azeri banker etc).
 

ylove

New member
So far, we're hosted in Iceland.

Looking to form a news company, that will be putting out a daily news site. Think similar to Wikileaks, or closer to the International Committee of Investigative Journalists. Not that we're going to be lying, but this will potentially be content that some people would rather not have out there...

USA, because we're going to be reporting on so much American information, is basically out of the question. Considering Ecuador (it worked for Wikileaks?). I didn't think the EU would be a bad idea, but you're right, probably will be too much of a pain.
 

Gediminas

Offshore Tax Advisory
Mentor Group Gold
Commercial Service
Business Angel
I would also look into The Netherlands.

<..>
By tradition, press freedom is highly valued in The Netherlands. The government supports a free press inside and outside the country. Journalists are generally protected by a robust legal framework that extends to the confidentiality of sources.
<..>

 

hernanday

Active Member
So far, we're hosted in Iceland.

Looking to form a news company, that will be putting out a daily news site. Think similar to Wikileaks, or closer to the International Committee of Investigative Journalists. Not that we're going to be lying, but this will potentially be content that some people would rather not have out there...

USA, because we're going to be reporting on so much American information, is basically out of the question. Considering Ecuador (it worked for Wikileaks?). I didn't think the EU would be a bad idea, but you're right, probably will be too much of a pain.
If you are going to be doing anything like Wikileaks, expect the outcome of what occurred to wikileaks julian assange. If you are exposing high level America dirty laundry, they will come after you and your website and seek to imprison you on bullshit charges. If you did nothing wrong, doesn't matter, they will just make bullshit up against you like Sweden fake rape charges on Assange. Now that he is indicted in USA, notice they don't care about his rape case no more?
 

Sols

Entrepreneur
There are many ways to measure this depending on what you want to achieve.

Reporters Without Borders put together an annual ranking of what they perceive to be freedom of press: https://rsf.org/en/ranking Note that freedom of press might not always apply if you're not operating as a news organisation.

For general freedom of speech, the strongest laws are in the US. The US Supreme Court again and again rules in favor of freedom of speech. You won't find any law for freedom of spech stronger and more tested than the First Amendment. However, US doesn't rank very well on the Reporters Without Borders list for reasons related to the current administration.

If we take at that list and also consider ease of forming a local company, Costa Rica is probably the best followed by Estonia. The Scandinavian countries, Switzerland, Jamaica, and New Zealand can be fairly costly and cumbersome to incorporate in if you're a non-resident.

You also have fairly weak whistleblower protection laws in for example Switzerland, which instead is an area where Transparency International rates US as among the best in the world. https://blueprintforfreespeech.net/...ws-in-G20-Countries-Priorities-for-Action.pdf

This is a well researched area so look at data — lots of it, and from different angles to assess how it concerns your particular case.
 

Admin

Forum Moderator
Staff member
Elite Member
I don't believe there is one country better compared to the other. Look at where all websites with so called "freedom of speech" are located, most are in the US, yes they may be protected by this strict laws in the USA but still they will not be allowed to be around if they publish "top secret" information about governments. No country will allow that.

I also don't believe that it matters which country you choose for your website, if a government want your website down they will get it down.
 

ylove

New member
If you are going to be doing anything like Wikileaks, expect the outcome of what occurred to wikileaks julian assange. If you are exposing high level America dirty laundry, they will come after you and your website and seek to imprison you on bullshit charges. If you did nothing wrong, doesn't matter, they will just make bullshit up against you like Sweden fake rape charges on Assange. Now that he is indicted in USA, notice they don't care about his rape case no more?
This is exactly what I'm afraid of and what makes me want to cry. People deserve the right to know what's going on around them. You're not wrong at all, and this is exactly what I'm trying to avoid.

From what I've been learning, so far I'm leaning toward the Netherlands. Yes, the US has strong free speech laws, but I'm trying to cover other bases. (There is a Dutch law precedent for publishing tax returns, for instance, in cases of public interest.)
 

Admin

Forum Moderator
Staff member
Elite Member
Maybe it would be a good idea to do some sort of load balancing between servers setup in different "freedom of speech" countries so if one get shut down the other takes over. Not sure if this is possible to do on different domain extensions.

Also you may check with a lawyer how you can take your precautions based on the information and content you want to share.
 

ylove

New member
I'm meeting with an attorney today who specializes in this sort of thing. And you are quite right with the load balancing (granted, it would have to be done between various servers).
 

iloveyouguys

Active Member
Maybe it would be a good idea to do some sort of load balancing between servers setup in different "freedom of speech" countries so if one get shut down the other takes over. Not sure if this is possible to do on different domain extensions.

Also you may check with a lawyer how you can take your precautions based on the information and content you want to share.
When they take you out personally, it doesn't matter
 

Admin

Forum Moderator
Staff member
Elite Member
When they take you out personally, it doesn't matter
That's why I wrote:
Also you may check with a lawyer how you can take your precautions based on the information and content you want to share.
You are pretty much finish if they go after you in person so the only help you can get is from a lawyer. Your case will be much stronger if he already know what you are into and you have provided him with all needed information.
 

KJK

Entrepreneur
Ecuador? On what basis?

I would strongly advise anyone to do some research before listening to that advice
On the basis that Ecuador is one of the few countries not completely afraid of the USA as world's superpower.

Of course I am fully aware that in some aspects there is more free speech in USA than in Ecuador (First Amendment of the constitution) and Ecuador is far from an ideal and free country. However it may suit OP's need if his enemies actually are in the US as he already mentioned:

going to be reporting on so much American information, is basically out of the question
 

ylove

New member
Thanks to everyone.

Basically what the attorney advised is that it doesn't really make much difference as to where the corporation is incorporated as much as where it physically is domiciled. That being said, he also agreed with Scandinavia and the Netherlands. .. ;)
 

user9823671

Active Member
On the basis that Ecuador is one of the few countries not completely afraid of the USA as world's superpower.

Of course I am fully aware that in some aspects there is more free speech in USA than in Ecuador (First Amendment of the constitution) and Ecuador is far from an ideal and free country. However it may suit OP's need if his enemies actually are in the US as he already mentioned:
I am sorry, but you are mistaken. Ecuador has no concept of freedom of speech, also you need to be very careful about what you say to people because defamation laws are strong.

I guess you are basing a lot of this as Assange was in the Ecuadorian embassy. That was more todo with Correa (previous president) wanting to flex his muscles a bit. It was nothing to do with freedom of speech or protecting Assange. But the current President Moreno, is pivoting back to the US, in fact just signed a joint statement with the US administation the last week or so and has accepted IMF loans recently so are back in the US sphere.

If you think Ecuador will protect some journalist *if it is not in their interest* against the US you are very very mistaken. If you want to setup in some jurisdiction where free speech is important, a 3rd world country where it is easy to make people disappear is not the one.
 

user9823671

Active Member
Thanks to everyone.

Basically what the attorney advised is that it doesn't really make much difference as to where the corporation is incorporated as much as where it physically is domiciled. That being said, he also agreed with Scandinavia and the Netherlands. .. ;)
Also quite important where you are, and what people are prepared to do to get your information
 

hernanday

Active Member
This is exactly what I'm afraid of and what makes me want to cry. People deserve the right to know what's going on around them. You're not wrong at all, and this is exactly what I'm trying to avoid.

From what I've been learning, so far I'm leaning toward the Netherlands. Yes, the US has strong free speech laws, but I'm trying to cover other bases. (There is a Dutch law precedent for publishing tax returns, for instance, in cases of public interest.)
If you are not American, Cuba, Russia might be options. They probably aren't scared of America and are already sanctioned to the hilt, so what is USA gonna do to punish them? If I had to pick one other country based off what I know, I'd pick Iceland, they seem to be one of the few countries that rebuked US and EU banker cartels and didn't give a flying fuck of punishment from EU, and USA. Another option is to find a nation where they don't extradite citizens in West Europe and have a West European person publish it.
 
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