The capability of repressive governments to monitor users of mobile phones and block access to internet content is far beyond levels realized by users and presents significant risks for user privacy and safety, according to a new report released today by Freedom House and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). This is a serious problem in countries that lack the rule of law and where civil liberties are not respected.
Egypt’s recent election is an opportunity to unite the country and strengthen democratic institutions, said Anwar El Sadat, chairman of Egypt’s Reform and Development Party, at a panel hosted by Freedom House and the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies on June 25.
Freedom House congratulates Dr. Mohamed Morsi and the Egyptian people on his election as the first civilian President of Egypt, the result of a peacefully contested election. We hope that this will mark a watershed moment in Egypt’s transition to democracy.
A majority of Americans see democracy in the U.S. as weak and getting weaker, according to a national survey released by The Democracy Project, a joint initiative of Freedom House, the George W. Bush Institute, and the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.
The Egypt Democracy Compass is designed to provide a snapshot of the country’s trajectory, either toward or further away from a truly democratic system, on a monthly basis. The compass will assess progress in eight key components of democratic transition: the constitution, elections, political participation, civilian control and security-sector reform, media freedom and freedom of expression, religious freedom, peaceful assembly and civic activism, and judicial independence and rule of law.
This report evaluates the risks and vulnerabilities of mobile phone services and apps in 12 specified countries, analyzing multiple mobiel technologies to determine their capacity to protect security and privacy and to combat censorship and surveillance.
Download the full report here.
Policing Belief: The Impact of Blasphemy Laws on Human Rightsexamines the human rights implications of domestic blasphemy and religious insult laws using the case studies of seven countries—Algeria, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Poland—where such laws exist both on paper and in practice. Without exception, blasphemy laws violate the fundamentalfreedom of expression, as they are by definition intended to protect religious institutions and religious doctrine– i.e., abstract ideas and concepts – from insult or offence. At their most benign, such laws lead to self-censorship. In Greece and Poland, two of the more democratic countries examined in the study, charges brought against high-profile artists, curators and writers serve as a warning to others that certain topics are off limits. At their worst, in countries such as Pakistan and Malaysia, such laws lead to overt governmental censorship and individuals are both prosecuted and subject to severe criminal penalties including lengthy jail sentences.
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