Freedom at Issue:

Insights on the global struggle for democracy

January 2017

Freedom in the World 2017 assesses political rights and civil liberties in every country around the globe.

Shannon O’Toole

Last January, Freedom House selected several countries that appeared to approaching important turning points in their democratic trajectories. Here’s how they performed.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

Now that constitutional amendments on a stronger presidency have cleared the parliament, referendum voters must decide whether to endorse their leader’s power grab.

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Session One on “Investing in Africa’s Future,” at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on August 6, 2014. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

Alyssa Rickard

The perception of Barack Obama among Africans and followers of African affairs is mixed. Many admire the outgoing U.S. president and at the same time feel disappointed by his lack of direct engagement on the continent.

Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina

Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. © Gage Skidmore

Freedom House has compiled the following questions for South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, whom President-elect Donald Trump has nominated to serve as ambassador to the United Nations. Haley’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, January 18.

Photo of a TV news presenter at Dozhd.

A news presenter at Dozhd. © https://tvrain.ru/teleshow/here_and_now.

Matthew Schaaf

The rage against critics of the National Radio and Television Council’s sudden decision to ban cable broadcasts of the Russian television channel Dozhd in Ukraine is understandable but misguided.

Months after an airstrike on a neighborhood populated by black Yemenis, or "Muhamasheen," more than a hundred buildings still remain in rubble and survivors continue to search for any valuables, Sana'a, Yemen, Oct. 9, 2015. Credit: Wikimedia Commons. 

Dokhi Fassihian
Theo Wilson

Yemen’s civil war, which is partly a proxy conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, has claimed more than 10,000 lives and caused a humanitarian crisis. Ending the fighting must be a priority for the United States and the international community in 2017.

Credit: World Economic Forum. 

Freedom House has compiled the following questions for Rex Tillerson, whom President-elect Donald Trump has nominated to serve as secretary of state. Tillerson’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, January 11.

Credit: Stephen Smith (Creative Commons)

Tyler Roylance

Well-designed political institutions are essential for preserving democracy, but something more is needed to keep those institutions alive and well.