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 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.

Iran sentenced three Iranian-Americans to 10 years imprisonment on politically-motivated charges. 

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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:
Not Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
6.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
68
(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
85
(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:
Partly Free
Status
Free
Scores Overview
2.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
6.3 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
5.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
53
(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
5.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
46
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
6.5 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
6.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
54
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
33 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
5.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
45
(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
86
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
11 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Free
Scores Overview
2.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
38
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
8.1 million people
Internet:
Not Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
6.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
69
(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

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...

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

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

DRL

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 Palestinian Authority–Administered Territories as such in its 2010 edition. For a complete...

NTV

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

Freedom...

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

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

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...

UAE

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

S


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

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

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OIC
CNN
PAN
PKK

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

WHAT IS FREEDOM ON THE NET?

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

STT

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

un

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

M23
AFP

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...

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

MDC

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

Freedom of the Press 2017

...

oil
LRA

WHAT DOES NATIONS IN TRANSIT MEASURE?

The Nations in Transit annual...

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...

ISI

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

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

PRI

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...

Freedom in the World 2018

...

IGF
DPP

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

GNC
AKP
EU
ch
KCK

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

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

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

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

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

ITU
OAS
KMT

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

IFJ

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...

IMF

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

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

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

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

NGO

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

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