Freedom at Issue: Insights on the global struggle for democracy | Freedom House

Freedom at Issue:

Insights on the global struggle for democracy

Putin has used control of the media in Russia, especially the national television stations, to build up a massive and thoroughly modern propaganda machine.

What do repression and freedom look like? We asked photographers to show us, and received submissions from 20+ countries as part of our third annual photo contest.

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.

On April 30, 1982, in a brief five-minute broadcast, a new, illegal radio station announced itself from a temporary transmitter placed on a high rooftop in Warsaw, Poland. “Solidarity is more than a name,” the announcer declared, “it is a value that cannot be destroyed.” With those words, Zbigniew Romaszewski had done something no one else had been able to do: break through the Polish government’s absolute control over broadcast media after the imposition of martial law.

It’s no secret that the Pacific Islands will face rising sea levels, coastal flooding, and deadly storms as a result of climate change, a fact reiterated in this week’s report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Unfortunately, few people realize that these island nations are also home to a disappearing press sector.

During the last three months, and especially the last three weeks, Turkey has seen a dangerous increase in political polarization and the intentional deepening of long-standing national divisions. The proximate immediate causes are elections to be held nationwide on March 30.  

Last week, the chairman of Bloomberg LP indicated that the company is backing away from its admirable investigative reporting on China’s elite, apparently with the aim of protecting its core financial-data business from political reprisals. This is alarming for many reasons. 

How did Turkish authorities manage to block Twitter?

As North Korea continues to draw the world’s attention with a combination of missile tests and tearful family reunions, last month’s detailed report by a special UN commission of inquiry has provided a long-overdue reminder that the regime in Pyongyang is not simply a vexing security problem or a bizarre curiosity for the media, but one of the most repugnant human rights abusers the world has ever seen.

Even if one ignores the troubling developments in Crimea since Russian troops seized control, the recent histories of Russia and Ukraine leave little doubt that Crimeans would enjoy fewer political rights and civil liberties as part of the Russian Federation.