Freedom at Issue:

Insights on the global struggle for democracy

February 2014

Arch Puddington


Documents recovered from a sauna at deposed Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych’s abandoned palace have offered new insight into the murky relationship between foreign dictators and well-paid American consultants.

Since early February, Venezuela has been rocked by nationwide protests and clashes with police that have killed more than a dozen people. Initially motivated by frustration with a collapsing economy and soaring crime rates, demonstrators are now struggling to defend their basic human rights in the face of the government’s aggressive response, which includes not only deadly police violence but a determined effort to choke off all independent sources of information about the crisis.

Africa Program Staff

Freedom House’s latest Freedom in the World report paints a bleak picture of democracy and human rights in Africa overall, with 88 percent of the population living in countries designated either Not Free or Partly Free. Nevertheless, there were a number of small victories on the continent during 2013, even in countries where the prevailing trend remains negative.

Cyrus Rassool


In many countries, political leaders take full advantage of social media platforms even as ordinary citizens face criminal prosecution for their own online activities.


February 14, 2014, marks the third anniversary of large public demonstrations calling for democratic reforms in Bahrain, which the monarchy met with excessive force and thousands of arrests.


Turkey has a history of violating internet freedom, and abuses of media freedom in general are rising sharply. But if President Abdullah Gül signs the restrictive internet bill adopted by the parliament last week, he will take the country into uncharted territory.

Robert Herman

The recent pressure on civil society and independent media in Kenya is not only a significant threat to democracy in a geopolitically important country, but also the predictable outcome of the international community’s failure to punish earlier, comparable state-driven repression in Ethiopia, another African nation that is viewed in Western capitals as a strategic partner.

 

This post originally appeared in the American Interest.
Democracy and freedom are in decline around the world. What should the United States do to reverse this trend? Better yet, what shouldn’t it do?