In the latest installment of its "Freedom in the World
" report released yesterday, the global rights watchdog Freedom House
finds that declines in freedom around the world outweighed gains during 2009. (read the report
/ watch the discussion
). You can also read a more in-depth summary and analysis of the new report by RFE/RL's Nikola Krastev here
Of the countries within Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty's broadcast region
, three are "Free," seven are "Partly Free" and ten are "Not Free." Six of these countries, concentrated in the Balkans, are considered electoral democracies. The Freedom House scale ranges from 1 (most free) to 8 (least free).
This year’s findings particularly reflect the growing pressures on journalists
and new media, restrictions on freedom of association, and repression aimed at civic activists engaged in promoting political reform and respect for human rights.RFE/RL Country Highlights from the Report:FREE
- Montenegro: Became more free due to the successful organization of parliamentary elections in March, anti-corruption legislation, and overall stability in the country.
- Serbia: Political rights improved from 3 to 2 due to the consolidation of a stable multi-party system after rounds of elections in the post-Milosevic period.
- Ukraine: Ukraine is one of the new "Free" countries, with a score of 3 for political rights and 2 for civil liberties.
- Iraq: Improved due to free and competitive regional elections in early 2009 and an increase in the government’s autonomy.
- Kosovo: Political rights improved from a 6 to a 5 and civil liberties from a 5 to a 4, moving it to “Partly Free” due to the November parliamentary elections—the first since the 2008 declaration of independence—moving Kosovo to "Partly Free".
- Macedonia: Remained at 3 for both political rights and civil liberties, making it “Partly Free".
- Moldova: Political rights improved due to parliamentary elections that resulted in a rotation of power between the Communist Party and a coalition of opposition parties.
Note: North Caucasus and Tatar-Bashkir are regions within Russia and therefore were not included distinctively in this report.
- Afghanistan: Political rights declined because of the recent presidential election that included massive fraud and lower voter turnout.
- Belarus: Was among the lowest ranking amongst RFE/RL broadcast countries, with a score of 7 (out of a possible 8) for political freedom and 6 for civil liberties.
- Kyrgyzstan: Their ratings declined due to a flawed presidential election, new legal restrictions on freedom of religion, and a stronger executive branch.
- Russia: Faced a downward trend because of electoral abuses, decline in religious freedom controls over the presentation of history, and political terror against activists and journalists.
- Turkmenistan: Among the lowest ranking countries with 7 for political rights and civil liberties.
- Uzbekistan: Also among the lowest ranking countries with 7 for both political rights and civil liberties.