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The latest from Freedom House:

Freedom House is appalled by the sentencing of Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad to two years in prison and calls for his immediate release.

The prison sentences handed down to two Egyptian journalists for allegedly invading the privacy of a religious leader who charged money for religious guidance is a violation of freedom of expression and casts a pall over Egypt’s transition to democracy.

The year 2011 will be remembered as one of immense political and social change around the world, particularly the Middle East. On this International Human Rights Day, Freedom House looks back at a few of the best and worst developments of the year with respect to their long-term implications for the global state of human rights.

Perhaps the biggest story to emerge from Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Russia is the central role played by new media. To be sure, the failure of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party to obtain a solid majority in the State Duma, even while cheating, is significant. But the Kremlin-approved parties that profited from the antigovernment protest vote—the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party, the Communist Party, and the faux-opposition A Just Russia party—appear unlikely to stimulate reform. The election results thus reflected deep disillusionment with Putin, but utterly failed to provide a road map to future change.

Testimony by Daniel Calingaert, Freedom House Vice President for Policy and External Relations, before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights, on December 8, 2011

Freedom House supports the Global Online Freedom Act (GOFA) 2.0, which was introduced today in the U.S. Congress as H.R. 3605. The bill, which would hinder the ability of U.S. companies to sell surveillance and censorship technologies to repressive governments, is crucial to the promotion of global internet freedom.