People in London, England. Editorial credit: JuliusKielaitis /

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom (UK)—which includes England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales as constituent countries—is a stable democracy that regularly holds free elections and is home to a vibrant media sector. While the government enforces robust protections for political rights and civil liberties, recent years have seen concerns about increased government surveillance of residents, as well as rising Islamophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment. In a 2016 referendum, UK voters narrowly voted to leave the European Union (EU), through a process known colloquially as “Brexit,” which will have political and economic reverberations both domestically and across Europe in the coming years.

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Freedom in the World — United Kingdom Country Report

United Kingdom is rated Free in Freedom in the World 2020, Freedom House's annual study of political rights and civil liberties worldwide.

A young woman wearing a protective mask looks at her smartphone while passing by a grafitti representing two big watching eyes in Berlin, Germany on April 1, 2020. Illustrative Editorial (Photo by Emmanuele Contini/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Freedom on the Net— United Kingdom Country Report

United Kingdom is rated Free in Freedom on the Net, Freedom House's comprehensive study of internet freedom around the globe.