Sunday, October 07, 2012

Freedom House Trend Review: Improvements and Declines in Democracy


This is a post script of the last post, and let me tell briefly about the Freedom House report. The Arab Spring is moving democracy in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya forward. Also, it is noteworthy that Myanmar, one of the most terrible Asian autocracies, eased restrictions in public discussion and media reports of politics. Thailand made progress, too, due to free and fair election in July last year.

However, counteractions to the Arab Spring were witnessed in many courtiers of the Middle East. Civil movements face violent repression by the government in Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, UAE, and Yemen. In Saudi Arabia, restrictions on public speeches and media reports were tightened. In Asia, China strengthened online censorship and innumerable number of freedom activists.

There are some unexpected cases that need more attention. In Africa, the Ethiopian government abused antiterrorism legislation to repress political oppositions. Since the Assad administration of Syria adopts the same logic to murder freedom fighters there, this case cannot be dismissed. In Latin America, Puerto Rico lowered the grade though it is under US sovereignty, because of police brutality. Surprisingly enough, civil liberty recedes in post-communist Europe like Hungary, though this country was regarded as the role model in the shift toward democracy and the market economy.

The trend mentioned in the report will be a guideline for foreign policy of leading democracies such as the United States, Europe, and Japan. See which countries gain and lose their credits in democracy from this link