Survey Says: More Freedom


Freedom House's annual "Freedom in the World" survey is out:

Political and personal freedom increased in 25 countries in 2003, including Argentina, Burundi, Kenya and Yemen… The survey designated 46 percent of the world's countries "free" in 2003, compared with 29 percent 30 years ago, when Freedom House first started conducting the surveys. One-quarter of the surveyed nations were designated "not free," compared with 43 percent in 1973.

The full report is here, and the country-by-country listing is here.

From the report:

In all but the few worst cases, even highly repressive Not Free countries have been unable to rob their people completely and lastingly of all civil liberties and political rights. Out of 109 countries that have been rated Not Free in the history of the survey, only 13 (or 12 percent) have sustained in every year the high levels of political control and repression represented by the Not Free rating. These 13 countries are Burma, Chad, China, Congo (Kinshasa), Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and Vietnam. This suggests that, over time, even the most repressive rulers find themselves hard-pressed to succeed at constantly suppressing their citizens? desires for a broad array of political rights and civil liberties.

But the Middle East remains the least free region in the world (94 perecent of the countries there are classified as not free or partly free).

The survey found declines in freedom in 13 countries including Bolivia, Papua New Guinea, Azerbaijan, the Central African Republic, Mauritania, United Arab Emirates, Djibouti, and the Dominican Republic.

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  1. Download the damn PDFand check it out. How do you think it rated?
    Just Kidding. It (NZ) also was a “1” “1” “free”. 🙂
    New Zealand is as in all lists like this highly rated.
    Slip – Your favorite country Israel was “1” “3”. Is this list antisemitic, too?

  2. “That’s what people are complaining about.” And given that both places received 1/1 across the board, looking pretty whiny.

  3. This is only political and civil liberties. Not economic liberty. I think the scores would be quite different if you added a third ranking of protection of property rights/economic liberty. Anybody know of a web site for those rankings if any.

  4. hey Joe,

    can we argue that being the “1, 1, free” is what we all should shoot for, then within that minimum threshhold go for the other liberty? and that most of western europe, a few others, and the US have reached that threshhold? and compared with Kooba, (somalia, ha ha), iran, the people’s republic of mass, etc., there is basically no difference?

    that way, we could say, yes the variance between the 1,1,F and the 1,2,F and the 3,3,NSF is significant, and within the 1,1,f we could have yet another normal curve where we plot the countries and come up with our descriptive stats for the 1,1,F crowd? it’s sorta like all of our politics here. we’re all in agreement along the huge things. we don’t want to end up in the lumber yard, and we all like a good beer and what not. (fill in vice of your choosing)

    then those countries that are like the rosie o’donnells on the one hand and the ingrid bergmans on the other get separated – you know, since we’ve already separated the other mammals (naked mole rats??? ewwwwww), now we can get on to rating the 1,1,Fs…? can’t that account for the very little difference between the 1,1,Fs, and then look at those differences relative to the 1,1,F group as a whole?

    you know – it’s a big distance between here and kansas city (where everything’s up to date), but compare that with entire north/south america, we’re not talking much.

    oh – did you see south park last night? if you haven’t, it’ll be on comedy again on sat. it’s hilarious. fantastic.

    cheers! (and i’ll raise a stiegl to you — off to christkindl Markt right by the picasso at daley center plaza),

  5. Okay, David F is insane, right?

  6. Shadow Hunter says:
    “This is only political and civil liberties. Not economic liberty. I think the scores would be quite different if you added a third ranking of protection of property rights/economic liberty. Anybody know of a web site for those rankings if any”

    the Heritage Foundation puts out a book every so often on “Economic Freedom in the World.” I have the 1999 edition at my bookstore, but there may be a more recent edition. I don’t think the information is online,though.

  7. Ooooh, Somalia! Has Rick Burton seen this?

  8. I’m not sure, but I think Freedom House’s criteria for freedom include political institutions that Somalia, lacking a state, necessarily lacks. It’s inclusion among the “not free” nations might be misleading.

  9. Very true, PLC. If the horribly repressed achieve even less freedom than they have now, eventually, the differences between the US and Rwanda may seem inconsequential.

  10. Where did New Zealand on the list?

  11. Where did New Zealand place? I imagine still very high.

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