Freedom House yesterday released its annual Freedom of the Press report. The findings paint a grim picture of the state of global media freedom, with just 14 percent of the world’s population enjoying a vibrant press with diverse views and minimal state intrusion.
It is telling that of the 23 indicators assessed in Freedom House’s just-released report Freedom of the Press 2014, the category concerning the physical ability of journalists to cover the news suffered one of the largest score declines of the year.
Secretary of State John Kerry plans to use his current trip to Africa to encourage democratic development, peace, and security, and to promote bilateral trade and investment. The problem lies in the countries he has chosen to advance these policies—Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Angola, some of the least democratic states on the continent.
The summary trials, mass death sentences, and other recent events in Egypt should dispel any remaining doubt that the country is not simply returning to the Mubarak era, but well on its way to a new and more virulent form of dictatorship.
Today’s dictators aren’t going it alone. Whether across the airwaves, on the internet, or at the polling booth, they are assisted by a range of private actors who are based in free countries but sell their services to unsavory regimes abroad.
Although it has been described in the Economist as “Africa’s New Number One,” Nigeria has long struggled with problems of poor governance, corruption, religious conflict, and the persecution of vulnerable groups—notably LGBTI people.
A few weeks before last Sunday’s elections in Hungary, the government there sent out a fact sheet meant to answer critics who have claimed that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his conservative Fidesz party pushed through a series of constitutional changes with the aim of insulating themselves against electoral defeat.