Freedom at Issue:

Insights on the global struggle for democracy

Transparency International released its latest Corruption Perceptions Index today, and the results for Eurasian countries are not encouraging.

International attention has focused on growing propaganda and censorship in the Russian news media, but the Kremlin is pursuing much broader ambitions to control the information landscape.

Arch Puddington

Many of the countries voting against this week’s UN resolution on North Korea were inveterate human rights abusers themselves. Disappointingly, however, some major democracies also withheld support for the measure.

Vukasin Petrovic

In Zimbabwe’s authoritarian system, court intrigue rather than open competition is dominating the contest to succeed 90-year-old strongman Robert Mugabe.

Laura Reed

Last week, the Orbán government’s proposed tax on the internet sparked the largest protest in Hungary since 2010. Faced with this massive backlash, Orbán withdrew the proposal rather quickly, but hinted at reintroducing the proposal in early 2015, a move which could have negative effects on internet and media freedom.

Sylvana Habdank-Kołaczkowska
Zselyke Csaky

As distinctions between “old” and “new” Europe blur, the declining health of democracy in the continent’s postcommunist frontier states threatens both democratic values and the security of the region.

Tyler Roylance



With activists and journalists facing harsh new restrictions in countries from China to Egypt, there are growing signs that authoritarian regimes have begun to abandon the quasi-democratic camouflage that allowed them to survive and prosper in the post–Cold War world. 

Tyler Roylance
Bret Nelson



The U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State includes several unsavory partners, but Freedom House data show that the group is, on average, better at upholding political rights and civil liberties than the world at large.

Alexander Brockwehl



More troubling than Venezuela’s likely election to a seat on the UN Security Council is the fact that democratic countries in the region have tacitly supported its nomination.

Arch Puddington

Nearly all countries today permit multiparty elections. In the most sophisticated authoritarian states, however, the goal of incumbents is not to defeat opposition candidates in a competitive setting, but rather to organize a system that creates the illusion of competition while squelching it in reality.

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