Freedom House condemns the passage of the Public Order Management Bill by Uganda’s Parliament on August 7, 2013, which gives the government of President Yoweri Museveni broad powers to restrict free speech, curtail freedom of assembly, and stifle political dissent.
Authoritarian regimes around the world are banding together to bypass international institutions and human rights norms that conflict with their abusive practices. Unlike the alliances of the Cold War era, these partnerships have few ideological underpinnings other than a shared rejection of democracy and the rule of law. But such cooperation has offered aid and solidarity to dictators under pressure, and created a marketplace through which repressive regimes can meet their technology, security, and energy needs without the headaches of transparency and accountability. And if the seven-year decline in global freedom recorded by Freedom House is any indication, authoritarianism is, sadly, a growth industry.
The raid of several private media outlets by Ugandan police is an unacceptable attack on press freedom, which is protected by the nation’s constitution, and is a clear attempt by authorities to restrict criticism of the president or members of his government. Freedom House calls on Ugandan authorities to allow the media organizations to reopen and to conduct their work without interference.
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.
Freedom House released an analysis of democracy in sub-Saharan Africa showing that the region has experienced notable increases in freedom over the past generation, although more setbacks than gains were seen in 2006.