Freedom at Issue:

Insights on the global struggle for democracy

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.”

Omar G. Encarnacion


Given the schizophrenic manner in which gay-rights politics played out around the world last year, it is apparent that we have to delve deep into the domestic environment to understand why such rights are thriving in some countries and floundering in others.


Gigi Alford

Many governments, particularly authoritarian regimes, are attempting to impose political borders on the global internet, isolating users in repressive countries and impoverishing the web for all.