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 Bahrain government’s decision to restore the authority of the domestic intelligence service – the National Security Agency -- to make arrests, Freedom House issued a statement.

The undersigned human rights organizations, write to urge The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to urgently and publicly call on the Government of Bahrain to immediately and unconditionally release human rights defender Nabeel Rajab.

Freedom House issued the following statement in response to civilian casualties and suffering in the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo.

The European Comission should publicly speak out about Nabeel Rajab's continued imprisonment and the human rights crackdown in Bahrain.

Pages

Experts

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.

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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M23
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PAN
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KCK

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

ICC

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

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

DRL
GNC
OIC
CNN

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

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

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

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

DPP
EU

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...

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

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

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

PRI

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

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

IMF

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


WHAT DOES NATIONS IN TRANSIT MEASURE?

The Nations in Transit annual...

STT

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

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...

ch
un
NGO

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...

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

ITU

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

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...

S
LRA
IFJ

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

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

AFP
MCC


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

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

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

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

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,...

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

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