Freedom at Issue:

Insights on the global struggle for democracy

June 2014

Germany vs. Algeria
As World Cup soccer kicks off the first knockout stage on June 28, Freedom House takes a look at how teams stack up based on their countries’ freedom scores, as measured in Freedom House’s Freedom in the World index.
Tyler Roylance

In the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and East Asia, antidemocratic forces have been on the rampage, threatening to pull the United States into new conflicts against its will. In each of these cases, the crisis has origins in authoritarian rule, and only a policy built on the promotion of democratic governance has any hope of ensuring a lasting peace.


An Egyptian court’s sentencing Monday of three journalists working for Al-Jazeera English to long prison terms is the latest reminder of how badly things are going in Egypt.

Sarah Repucci

When the Obama administration sent its budget request to Congress this year, it featured a remarkable omission. The request for 2015 does not include language that has appeared for nearly 10 years, stating that U.S. democracy assistance will not be bound by the approval of foreign governments. This lapse threatens the interests—and potentially the lives—of people working to promote political freedom around the world.

Tyler Roylance

The European Union has been dealt a series of jarring blows in recent months. Its attempts to forge closer ties with eastern neighbors helped trigger a massive crisis in Ukraine, and Russia continues to contest its influence across the region. In May, anti-EU parties made major gains in European Parliament elections. Yet because of the union’s democratic underpinnings, each of these apparent setbacks contains the seeds of future success.

The recent presidential elections in Egypt and Syria have demonstrated that even the worst dictators feel obliged to seek popular legitimacy through the symbols of democracy. But the elections they orchestrate are less a contest between rival candidates than a measurement of the leader’s control over the population.

The Egyptian government's case against pro-democracy NGOs, ending in the conviction of 43 people on June 4 last year, was intended as a warning that such activism would not be tolerated by the remnants of the Mubarak regime, which were intent on a comeback. That comeback is in full swing now.

In the run-up to the 25th anniversary of the June 4, 1989, military crackdown on student-led prodemocracy protests in Tiananmen Square, the Chinese Communist Party’s multifaceted censorship apparatus has gone into overdrive to limit discussion of the events of that day and the following weeks.