Middle East and North Africa

The Arab Spring of 2011 launched an era of sweeping political changes in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, which has historically been the least free region in the world. The fall of longtime leaders and the people's rising demands for a stronger voice in their own governance have brought new opportunities for reform and democratic transition in countries otherwise marked by severe abuses of almost all fundamental political rights and civil liberties. Freedom House is helping citizens to realize these aspirations through a variety of programs across the region.

Asterisks in the country list below indicate a territory rather than a country.

Countries & Territories: 21
405 million people
2% free
Press:
2% free

Percent computed by population. Population source data.

News & Updates

written by
Gigi Alford
Senior Program Officer, Internet Freedom



Many governments, particularly authoritarian regimes, are attempting to impose political borders on the global internet, isolating users in repressive countries and impoverishing the web for all.

President Obama's call to arms against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), like his response to Russia's aggression against Ukraine, steps up U.S. efforts to curb major threats to U.S. interests. Does it also signal a greater commitment by Obama to stand up for democracy in the world? Probably not. But he should make democracy a priority.

Issues: 
Democratic Governance, U.S. Foreign Policy
Regions: 
Eurasia, Middle East and North Africa, Americas

We are concerned at the continuing detention of human rights defender Maryam Al-Khawaja, who was arrested on August 30 2014, and we call for her immediate and unconditional release.

Issues: 
Human Rights Defense, Rule of Law
Regions: 
Middle East and North Africa
written by
Robert Herman
Vice President for Regional Programs
written by
Charles Dunne
Director of Middle East and North Africa Programs
written by
Annie Boyajian
Senior Advocacy Officer


The following are suggested questions for William V. Roebuck, the nominee for U.S. ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain, whose confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will take place on Wednesday, September 10.

Experts

Director of Middle East and North Africa Programs


Project Director for "Freedom on the Net"


37 million people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
5.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
82 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
5.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
60 / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
79 million people
Internet:
Not Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
6.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
91 / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
34 million people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
5.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
7.9 million people
Press:
Free
Status
Free
Scores Overview
1.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
6.3 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
5.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
46 / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
2.9 million people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
5.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
4.3 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
4.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
45 / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
6.5 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
4.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
45 / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
33 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
4.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
42 / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
3.1 million people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
5.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
1.9 million people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
5.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
29 million people
Internet:
Not Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
7.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
70 / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
23 million people
Internet:
Not Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
7.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
85 / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
11 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
3.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
41 / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
8.1 million people
Internet:
Not Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
6.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
66 / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
26 million people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
6.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
4.3 million people
Scores Overview

Countries We're Watching

Programs

Freedom House held a series of practitioners dialogues in 2013 where practitioners, experts, and human rights defenders and victims shared best practices and their lessons learned in the transitional justice processes they have taken part. The series linked practitioners and provided space to strategize about how to advance access to truth and justice. Each dialogue results in a report of the findings to present in international, regional, and national forums and programs.

The Lifeline Embattled CSO Assistance Fund provides emergency financial assistance to civil society organizations (CSOs) under threat or attack and advocacy support responding to broader threats to civil society. 

The Dignity for All: LGBTI Assistance Program provides emergency funds, advocacy support, and security assistance to human rights defenders and civil society organizations under threat or attack due to their work for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) human rights.

Freedom House administers several funds which offer emergency assistance to organizations and individuals around the world who are under threat because of their human rights work. The targeted, rapid-response aid we provide enables those at risk to protect themselves and continue their important work.

Freedom House works with Syrian political activists to build their capacity for non-violent struggle, strategy development, effective advocacy, and safe and secure communications skills.

Freedom House supports Iran's pro-democracy movement and human rights defenders as they resist the Iranian regime's surveillance and repression.

Freedom House engages critical rule of law stakeholders to develop a reform agenda for Tunisia as it transforms to a state that is accountable and guarantees citizens’ a role in maintaining a watchdog role.

In Egypt and Tunisia, we work with activists and citizen journalists to observe the elections. Bloggers and local activists receive training on election monitoring, violation reporting techniques, new media and mobile technology usage helping to increase transparency and citizens’ engagement in the political process.