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

In response to the Bahraini security forces firing live ammunition at peaceful protesters in Diraz, Freedom House issued a statement.

In response to Jordan security services arresting at least 18 prominent activists because of their social media posts critical of government corruption, Freedom House released a statement.

Senior Program Manager, Middle East and North Africa
Program Officer, Middle East and North Africa

Yemen’s civil war, which is partly a proxy conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, has claimed more than 10,000 lives and caused a humanitarian crisis. Ending the fighting must be a priority for the United States and the international community in 2017.

Eight prominent political prisoners are risking their lives with hunger strikes to protest inhumane conditions and Rouhani's inaction on human rights. 

Pages

Experts

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: 
Director, Freedom on the Net

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

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.

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

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

OAS

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,...

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

UAE
IGF

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

WHAT IS FREEDOM ON THE NET?

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

NTV
KMT

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

OIC
MDC

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

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

oil


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

PRI
IFJ
LRA

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...

CNN

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

PAN

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...

ch

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

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

IMF

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

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

The West Bank and Gaza Strip have been covered in different ways by Freedom House surveys over the years, as indicated below. In some cases they...

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...

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...

STT

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

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

EU

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

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

KCK
un

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

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

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

AFP

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

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

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

Freedom of the Press 2017

...

A monthly update of press freedom news and analysis related to China

Freedom...

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


WHAT DOES NATIONS IN TRANSIT MEASURE?

The Nations in Transit annual...

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

Freedom in the World 2017

...

NGO

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

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

DRL
GNC
ITU

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

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

DPP
S
ICC

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

M23
=

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

MCC
ISI