Freedom at Issue:

Insights on the global struggle for democracy

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.



The following is the prepared text of the speech delivered by Mikhail Khodorkovsky at the 2014 Freedom House Awards Dinner on October 1. The text was originally posted here.



The following summary, drawn largely from Freedom House’s annual Freedom in the World report, provides a historical overview of Hong Kong’s incremental and ultimately illusory political reforms under Chinese rule. 

Arch Puddington



In recent commentaries on the bleak state of global freedom, analysts have used a series of labels to describe the trajectory of democracy: “stagnation,” “erosion,” “recession,” and even “decline” for those who view the trends with alarm.

One label that has not been applied to current conditions is “reversal.”

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