Monday, January 22, 2007

Freedom House 2007 Survey - Much Work to be Done

Freedom House has released its 2007 survey. The study shows that, overall, freedom around the world has largely stagnated over the past decade and, in some regions, is in decline:

"Regionally, major findings include a setback for freedom in a number of countries in the Asia-Pacific region, a more modest decline in Africa, and a solidification of authoritarian rule in the majority of countries of the former Soviet Union. Three countries experienced positive status changes: Guyana moved from Partly Free to Free, and Haiti and Nepal moved from Not Free to Partly Free. Two countries experienced negative status changes: both Thailand and Congo (Brazzaville) moved from Partly Free to Not Free.

"...the trends reflected the growing pushback against democracy driven by authoritarian regimes, including Russia, Venezuela, China, Iran, and Zimbabwe, threatening to further erode the gains made in the last thirty years. The pushback is targeted at organizations, movements, and media that advocate for the expansion of democratic freedoms.

"...the number of countries judged by Freedom in the World as Free in 2006 stood at 90, representing 47 percent of the global population. Fifty-eight countries qualified as Partly Free, with 30 percent of the world’s population. The survey finds that 45 countries are Not Free, representing 23 percent of the world’s inhabitants. About one-half of those living in Not Free conditions inhabit one country: China.

"Several of the countries that showed declines during the year were already ranked among the world’s most repressive states: Burma, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Eritrea and Iran. Yet declines were also noted in a number of countries rated Free or Partly Free, but whose democratic institutions remain unformed or fragile, as well as in societies that had previously demonstrated a strong measure of democratic stability: South Africa, Kenya, Taiwan, Philippines, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Hungary."

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