Freedom House: Freedom Retreats for Third Year

Freedom retreated in much of the world in 2008, the third year of global decline as measured by Freedom House’s annual survey of political rights and civil liberties which released today.
Freedom in the World 2009 survey examines the state of freedom in all 193 countries and 16 strategic territories. The survey analyzes developments that occurred in 2008 and assigns each country a freedom status — either Free, Partly Free or Not Free based on a scoring of performance in key freedoms.
Non-Baltic countries of the former Soviet Union continued their decade-long decline, now ranking below Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East on several survey indicators. Russia and Georgia, which went to war over South Ossetia, were among the region’s notable declines, as well as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Moldova.
Free: The number of countries judged by Freedom in the World as Free in 2008 stands at 89, representing 46 percent of the world’s countries and 46 percent of the global population. The number of Free countries declined by one from 2007.
Partly Free: The number of Partly Free countries is 62, or 32 percent of all countries assessed by the survey and 20 percent of the world’s total population. The number of Partly Free countries increased by two.
Not Free: The report designates 42 countries as Not Free, representing 22 percent of the total number of countries and 34 percent of the world population. Nearly 60 percent of this number lives in China. The number of Not Free countries declined by one.
Electoral Democracies: The number of electoral democracies dropped by two and stands at 119. Developments in Mauritania, Georgia, Venezuela and Central African Republic disqualified them from the electoral democracy list, while Bosnia-Herzegovina and Bangladesh became electoral democracies.

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant


  1. Interesting to note that while democratization in Georgia has taken a nose-dive it is still ahead (score 4,4) of Armenia and Azerbaijan which are virtually identical now (6,4 and 6,5 respectively). It’s that 1 point difference for Armenia that has kept it out from the Not Free category. Meanwhile, interesting to note that while South Ossetia (score 7,6) is described in the report as “among the world’s most repressive regimes,” Nagorno Karabakh (score 5,5) falls short of Georgia, but notably exceeds Azerbaijan and is kind of on par with Armenia with its aggregate score. Abkhazia has the same score as Karabakh too.

  2. Frankly – I expected Armenia to fall more sharply, considering the developments in March: crackdown on opposition protests, introduction of censorship, etc.

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