Freedom at Issue:

Insights on the global struggle for democracy

Robert W. Orttung
Christopher Walker

The repressive “bloggers law” signed by President Vladimir V. Putin on May 6 says a good deal about the troubling decline of free expression in Russia. But at a time when Putin’s governance system is mutating from a venal, kleptocratic regime into a belligerent, revanchist power, what the Russian authorities do at home has important effects on the media environment in countries on Russia’s borders, and beyond.

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Karin Deutsch Karlekar

Among the findings of Freedom House’s recently released press freedom report, the most contentious has been the downgrade of Turkey from the Partly Free category to Not Free. Below are responses Freedom House has given to common questions from Turkish journalists.

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Leon Willems
Arch Puddington

Over the past decade, global press freedom has experienced an alarming downward spiral. The reasons for the decline are complex, but one of the most important, if least appreciated, factors is a pattern of media ownership that contributes to biased, unprofessional, and in extreme cases propagandistic journalism.

Alexander Brockwehl

While Ecuador's president Rafael Correa has been promoting himself through a public-relations campaign abroad, he has ratcheted up the suppression of critical voices within his own country. In Freedom House’s recently released report Freedom of the Press 2014, Ecuador was rated Not Free for the second consecutive year. And as the report suggests, the developments over the past year were more disturbing than just a continuing negative trend.

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Cathal Gilbert

While voters in tomorrow’s elections face a very real choice in terms of the economic future of the country, parties have been less vocal about how they plan to address the current threats to South Africa’s democracy.

Arch Puddington
Bret Nelson

Freedom House yesterday released its annual Freedom of the Press report. The findings paint a grim picture of the state of global media freedom, with just 14 percent of the world’s population enjoying a vibrant press with diverse views and minimal state intrusion.

Jennifer Dunham



It is telling that of the 23 indicators assessed in Freedom House’s just-released report Freedom of the Press 2014, the category concerning the physical ability of journalists to cover the news suffered one of the largest score declines of the year.

Kellen McClure


Secretary of State John Kerry plans to use his current trip to Africa to encourage democratic development, peace, and security, and to promote bilateral trade and investment. The problem lies in the countries he has chosen to advance these policies—Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Angola, some of the least democratic states on the continent.

Vanessa Tucker

The summary trials, mass death sentences, and other recent events in Egypt should dispel any remaining doubt that the country is not simply returning to the Mubarak era, but well on its way to a new and more virulent form of dictatorship.

Nate Schenkkan

This month has provided another good example of the Kazakh government’s tendency—every time there is a decision to be made—to opt for a tighter grip on civil society and public discourse. 

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