For the fourth consecutive year, global declines in freedom outweighed gains in 2009, as measured by Freedom House's annual survey of political rights and civil liberties, Freedom in the World 2010. This represents the longest continuous period of decline for global freedom in the nearly 40-year history of the report.
The Iranian government's mounting efforts to stifle pro-democracy activists have begun to threaten internet freedom for many outside of its borders as well as within. In response to this growing problem, Freedom House has developed an anti-censorship video series that provides assistance to those living in Iran and under other oppressive regimes to overcome government censorship efforts.
Freedom House condemns the recent arrests and sentencing of Moroccan blogger Hazzam El Bachir and internet café owner Abdullah Boukfou and calls for their immediate release without harm. The events in Morocco reflect a troubling trend by governments in the Middle East and North Africa Region to use traditional means of repression to clamp down on bloggers and human rights activists.
Freedom House congratulates Oleg Orlov, Lyudmila Alexeyeva and Sergei Kovalev of human rights group Memorial on winning the 2009 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, awarded by the European Parliament to "individuals or international organisations who - like Sakharov – have distinguished themselves in the struggle for human rights."
A public opinion survey released today showed that Zimbabweans have limited knowledge of their Constitution, but they want democratic safeguards, such as presidential term limits and an independent judiciary.