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News & Updates

From time to time, the Freedom at Issue blog highlights those whose recent actions have contributed to or undermined the spread of democracy around the world.

Freedom House issued the following statement in response to the Malaysian government’s charging cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Alhaque (known as Zuna), with nine counts of sedition because of a series of tweets targeting the country’s judiciary.

In response to Malaysia’s Court of Appeals ruling that the Sharia law against “cross dressing” in the state of Negeri Sembilan is unconstitutional, Freedom House issued the following statement.

Freedom House welcomes the release of Saudi writer Hamza Kashgari, who was imprisoned following Tweets he posted in February 2012, recounting an imaginary conversation with the Prophet Mohammed, and viewed as blasphemous by authorities. The fact that Kashgari was imprisoned demonstrates the abusive power of blasphemy laws, and Freedom House remains concerned with the climate for free expression Saudi Arabia.


Signature Reports

Special Reports

Policing Belief: The Impact of Blasphemy Laws on Human Rights

Policing Belief: The Impact of Blasphemy Laws on Human Rights examines 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.


Freedom House helps LGBTI rights groups in Southeast Asia to push back against the tide of intolerance.