Support for freedom of speech has dropped across a number of Middle Eastern and North African countries since 2013, according to a survey by the Qatari branch of a US university.
In Saudi Arabia, Egypt and, most notably, Tunisia, the numbers of people backing the principle of free speech by social media users fell, said Northwestern University in Qatar's (NU-Q) "Media Use Survey 2015."
Respondents were asked if "it is okay for people to express their ideas on the internet, even if they are unpopular."
In Saudi Arabia, the number of people saying "yes" fell from 74 percent to 64 percent. In Egypt it dropped from 48 percent to 45 percent and, in Tunisia, from 57 percent to just 37 per cent.
In contrast, the survey found that support for free speech had risen slightly in Qatar – from 57 percent to 58 percent – and from 59 percent to 61 percent in the United Arab Emirates.