Middle East and North Africa

The Arab Spring of 2011 launched an era of sweeping political changes in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, which has historically been the least free region in the world. The fall of longtime leaders and the people's rising demands for a stronger voice in their own governance have brought new opportunities for reform and democratic transition in countries otherwise marked by severe abuses of almost all fundamental political rights and civil liberties. Freedom House is helping citizens to realize these aspirations through a variety of programs across the region. Our work in this region is summarized here.

Asterisks in the country list below indicate a territory rather than a country.

Countries & Territories: 21
420 million people
5% free
Press:
0% free

Percent computed by population. Population source data.

News & Updates

The degree of press freedom in the world declined in 1998, according to a survey of the news media issued today by Freedom House.

Freedom House reports largest ever number of free countries, highest proportion of world's population living in freedom

A major new assessment of the state of political rights and civil liberties finds that a majority of United Nations member states suffer from a weak rule of law and from significant violations of civil liberties and political freedoms.

Pages

Experts

Research Manager, Freedom on the Net

Adrian Shahbaz is the Research Manager for Freedom on the Net, Freedom House's annual assessment of global internet freedom.

Director, Freedom on the Net

Sanja Kelly is the director for Freedom on the Net, Freedom House’s assessment of global internet freedom.

Senior Program Manager, Middle East and North Africa

Dokhi Fassihian is senior program manager for Middle East and North Africa. Before joining Freedom House, she led several nongovernmental organizations working in the area of democracy and human rights and promotion.

Issues: 
37 million people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
5.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
82 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
5.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
60
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
79 million people
Internet:
Not Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
6.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
89
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
34 million people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
5.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
7.9 million people
Press:
Free
Status
Free
Scores Overview
1.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
6.3 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
5.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
48
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
2.9 million people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
5.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
4.3 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
4.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
47
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
6.5 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
6.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
48
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
33 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
4.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
44
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
3.1 million people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
5.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
1.9 million people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
5.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
29 million people
Internet:
Not Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
7.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
72
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
23 million people
Internet:
Not Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
7.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
88
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
11 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Free
Scores Overview
2.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
39
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
8.1 million people
Internet:
Not Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
6.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
67
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
26 million people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
6.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
4.3 million people
Scores Overview

Countries We're Watching

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Iraqi Kurdistan was last assessed separately in the 2004 edition of Freedom in the World. Please see...

DPP

The Americas are second only to Western Europe in levels of freedom and respect for human rights.  Nonetheless, a rise in violent crime and...

The Mark Palmer Forum for the Advancement of Democracy honors the legacy of Ambassador Mark Palmer, long-time Freedom House...

OAS
DRL
MCC
MDC

Freedom House’s innovative publication, Women’s Rights in the Middle East and North Africa, analyzes the status of women in the region...

Iraqi Kurdistan was last assessed by Freedom in the World in 2004. Please see Iraq for more recent data...

AFP
UN
un
ITU

Despite being home to several of the world’s worst performing countries in terms of respect for human rights, the region saw overall if...

Before the 2010 edition, Freedom in the World assessed Kosovo as a disputed territory. For the older Freedom in the World...

Chechnya was last assessed separately in the 2009 edition of Freedom in the World. Please see...

West Papua was last assessed separately in the 2004 edition of Freedom in the World. Please see...

KCK

Northern Ireland was last assessed separately in the 2004 edition of Freedom in the World. Please see...

Most countries in Eurasia rank at or near the bottom of Freedom House’s ratings for political rights and civil liberties. While a few—...

Freedom in the World last assessed the Israeli-Occupied Territories as such in its 2010 edition. For a complete explanation of the...

Reunion is not assessed separately by Freedom House. Please see France.

Freedom of the Press began assessing the West Bank and Gaza Strip as such in its 2012 edition. For a complete explanation of the changes...

Over the past few years, many of Freedom House’s publications, including Freedom in the...

Chechnya was last assessed separately in the 2009 edition of Freedom in the World. Please see Russia ...

S

<p>Macao was last assessed separately in the 2004 edition of Freedom in the World. Please see <a href="/country/china">China...

Countries at the Crossroads, published from 2004 to 2012, was an annual analysis of government performance in 70 strategically...

NTV
OIC

Freedom in the World began assessing the West Bank as a separate territory in its 2011 edition. For a complete explanation of the changes...

West Papua was last assessed separately in the 2004 edition of Freedom in the World. Please see Indonesia for...

WHAT IS FREEDOM ON THE NET?

Freedom on the Net is a Freedom House project consisting of cutting-edge analysis, fact-based...

Freedom in the World 2017

...


For several years Freedom House has worked with human rights defenders and civic activists in Belarus to...

Until the 2010 edition, Freedom in the World assessed Kosovo as a disputed territory. For more recent data, see the...

For decades Europe has maintained an exemplary level of respect for democratic standards and human rights, and has generally continued to do so in...

NGO
PRI
UAE
KMT

WHAT DOES NATIONS IN TRANSIT MEASURE?

The Nations in Transit annual...

IFJ
=

Yugoslavia was last assessed as such in the 2003 editions of Freedom in the World, Freedom of the Press, and Nations in Transit. For subsequent...

M23

Serbia and Montenegro was last assessed as such in the 2006 editions of Freedom in the World and Freedom of the Press. For more recent data,...

French Guiana is not assessed separately by Freedom House. Please see France.

CNN
MTN

Freedom in the World last assessed the Palestinian Authority–Administered Territories as such in its 2010 edition. For a complete...

Macao was last assessed separately in the 2004 edition of Freedom in the World. Please see China...

Since 2011, Freedom House has rated Mexico “Not Free” in its annual Freedom of the Press report primarily because of ongoing violence against...

The Falkland Islands are not assessed separately by Freedom House. Please see United Kingdom.

Over the past five years, the Asia-Pacific region has been the only one to record steady gains in political rights and civil liberties as measured...

Freedom of the Press last assessed the Israeli-Occupied Territories and Palestinian Authority as such in its 2011 edition. For a complete...

Greenland is not assessed separately by Freedom House. Please see Denmark.

PAN
PKK

Freedom of the Press 2017

...

Northern Ireland was last assessed separately in the 2004 edition of Freedom in the World. Please see United...

ICC

Freedom in the World began assessing the Gaza Strip as a separate territory in its 2011 edition. For a complete explanation of the...

ISI
EU
GNC
oil

The Arab Spring of 2011 launched an era of sweeping political changes in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, which has historically...

AKP

New Caledonia is not assessed separately by Freedom House. Please see France.