Freedom in the World Timeline
Five decades of country-by-country analysis in Freedom in the World has confirmed a remarkable fact: once countries earn the designation of Free, they tend to keep it.
Freedom in the World evaluates the state of freedom as experienced by people within specific countries or territorial borders, assessing them on a 100-point scale and dividing the world into the easy-to-understand categories of Free, Partly Free, and Not Free.
Five decades of country-by-country analysis in Freedom in the World has confirmed a remarkable fact: once countries earn the designation of Free, they tend to keep it. The number of countries rated Free has nearly doubled since 1973, when Freedom House issued the report’s first edition. This striking “stickiness” of the Free designation is evidence of the underlying strength and resilience of democracy.
Authoritarian leaders, of course, are also determined to retain their grip on power, which allows them to enrich themselves and their families, pay off the cronies and security services on which they depend, and retaliate against anyone who exposes their malfeasance. Authoritarian regimes around the globe are learning from one another how to suppress democracy advocates more effectively. Their methods include direct intimidation; laws that enable them to imprison activists and journalists and shut down opposition parties; and vast technical systems for censorship and surveillance. Many resort to lethal violence.
Despite these daunting obstacles, the struggle for freedom endures. The hostility of dictators has never been sufficient to prevent people from attempting to win the rights and liberties to which all human beings are entitled.
The timeline below highlights some of the milestones in the fight for freedom over the past 50 years.
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Freedom in the World is Freedom House’s flagship annual report, assessing the condition of political rights and civil liberties around the world.