The self-styled independent watchdog organization Freedom House has just released a report entitled “Freedom in the World 2011: The Authoritarian Challenge to Democracy,” warning that “A total of 25 countries showed significant declines in 2010, more than double the 11 countries exhibiting noteworthy gains.” Some of the key findings include:
Free: The number of countries designated by Freedom in the World as Free in 2010 stands at 87, two fewer than the previous year, and representing 45 percent of the world’s 194 countries and 43 percent of the world’s population.
Partly Free: The number of Partly Free countries increased to 60, or 31 percent of all countries assessed by the survey, comprising 22 percent of the world’s total population.
Not Free: The number of countries deemed to be Not Free remained at 47, or 24 percent of the total number of countries. Nearly 2.5 billion people live in societies where fundamental political rights and civil liberties are not respected. China accounts for more than half of this number.
Electoral Democracies:The number of electoral democracies dropped from 116 to 115, the lowest number since 1995. Three countries—the Philippines, Tanzania, and Tonga—achieved electoral democracy status after conducting elections that were regarded as improvements over earlier polls. Declines in Burundi, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, and Sri Lanka triggered their removal from the list of electoral democracies.
Worst of the Worst: Of the 47 countries ranked Not Free, nine countries and one territory received the survey’s lowest possible rating for both political rights and civil liberties: Burma, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Tibet, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
You can download a PDF of the full report here.