About Special Reports

Sounding the Alarm Round 2: Protecting Democracy in Ukraine

A report released by Freedom House in July 2012 finds a persistent decline in democratic principles and human rights in Ukraine, a development which is especially worrying in light of the country’s upcoming parliamentary elections in October 2012.

Press Freedom: An Own Goal for Ukraine

Freedom House, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), Article 19, Open Society Foundations (OSF), and the Ukraine Association of Press Publishers compiled a joint report on Ukraine's press freedom situation. The reoprt outlines the findings of a mission conducted in early April that ultimately found serious corruption issues and other problems. The report recommended a number of steps in order to improve freedom of expression in the country.

Worst of the Worst 2012: The World's Most Repressive Societies

More than 1.6 billion people—23 percent of the world’s population—have no say in how they are governed and face severe consequences if they try to exercise their most basic rights, such as expressing their views, assembling peacefully, and organizing independently of the state. Citizens who dare to assert their rights in these repressive countries typically suffer harassment and imprisonment, and often are subjected to physical or psychological abuse. In these countries, state control over public life is pervasive, and individuals have little if any recourse to justice for crimes the state commits against them.

Change Comes to Cuba

Economic reforms are causing visible changes and raising expectations in Cuba, a Freedom House survey found. Self-employment is becoming more widespread, and more Cubans now prefer to work independently than for the government. Many Cubans welcome the opportunities that self-employment brings, but others are skeptical or even resentful about the changes taking place in Cuba.

License to Censor: The Use of Media Regulation to Restrict Press Freedom

Regulation has become one of the most common and pernicious tools used to restrict media freedom around the world, even as the broadcast sector has opened dramatically in recent years in a number of countries and regions. Striking the balance between the public’s right to freedom of expression and the state’s obligation to protect their citizens from violence continues to be a serious challenge amid the explosive growth of terrestrial, satellite and digital media. This report explores issues of government oversight, self-regulatory bodies, and licensing that continue to plague governments and free speech advocates whose interests often seem diametrically opposed. Through in-depth country studies and an examination of recent cases in a range of media environments where media regulation poses a threat to media diversity and freedom, this report offers several cautionary examples as well as recommendations for reform.

Promise and Reversal: The Post-Soviet Landscape Twenty Years On

“Promise and Reversal: The Post-Soviet Landscape Twenty Years On,” marks the 20th anniversary of the failed Soviet coup of August 19, 1991. The retrospective essay examines the changes in the political rights and civil liberties in the former Soviet Union over the last two decades, as well as includes graphs and rankings that illustrate the region's performance in the annual Freedom House publications Freedom in the World and Freedom of the Press. The report  concludes that there is a serious and disturbing failure to embrace democratic institutions in most of the post-Soviet region.

Real Change for Cuba? How Citizens View Their Country's Future

In September 2010, Cuban president Raul Castro announced the beginning of sweeping economic reforms, including the elimination of a million public sector jobs, the easing of restrictions on private enterprise, and the first Communist Party Congress since 1997. To explore what Cubans think about the announced reforms, Freedom House conducted in-depth interviews with 120 people in six provinces from December 2010 to January 2011. These interviews also assessed access to information and technology on the island, and explored Cubans’ values and beliefs, which Freedom House compared with the findings from other countries in the World Values Survey study.

Worst of the Worst 2011: The World's Most Repressive Societies

Freedom House has prepared this special report entitled Worst of the Worst: The World’s Most Repressive Societies, as a companion to its annual survey on the state of global political rights and civil liberties, Freedom in the World. The special report provides summary country reports, tables, and graphical information on the countries that receive the lowest combined ratings for political rights and civil liberties in Freedom in the World, and whose citizens endure systematic and pervasive human rights violations.

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