Accessibility Settings

color options

monochrome muted color dark

reading tools

isolation ruler



Freedom House: Global Freedom Declines for 17th Year

The 2023 edition of the Freedom in the World report, produced by US nonprofit Freedom House, was released today. This is the 50th year of the study, which tracks global trends and compiles individual country reports on political rights and liberties. As a mark of how much the world has changed in that period, Freedom House noted that in its first report, in 1973, only 44 of 148 countries — less than 30% — were rated as free. Today, 84 out of 195 nations — or 43% — earn that distinction.

But the news since 2005 has not been good. According to the report, global freedom declined for the 17th consecutive year in 2022. One hopeful sign: 34 countries made overall improvements while 35 countries declined in the rankings — the smallest gap between improving and declining countries in 17 years, perhaps indicating a positive turning point. More competitive elections in Africa and Latin America and the rolling back of pandemic-related restrictions — which curtailed freedom of assembly and freedom of expression — drove the gains.

Freedom House’s report also noted that while autocrats and authoritarian regimes are “far from infallible,” their own misconduct or corrupt practices often “provide openings for democratic forces.”

Of all the indicators tracked in the report, freedom of expression has fallen the sharpest; infringement on freedom of expression is a key driver of global democratic decline. Over the past 17 years, the number of countries scoring 0 out of 4 on media freedom has swelled from 14 to 33. In the past year, media freedom came under pressure in at least 157 countries and territories, out of 195 included in the report.

Colombia had the largest score improvement, followed by Slovenia and Kosovo. Major declines came from Tunisia, Hungary, and Russia.

Read the full report here.

Additional Resources

Annual Transparency Index Links Corruption with Increased Violence Globally

2022 Global Impunity Index Finds ‘Vast Majority’ of Murders of Journalists Go Unsolved

Internet Freedom Faces Threats from ‘Authoritarian Overhaul’

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Republish this article

Material from GIJN’s website is generally available for republication under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license. Images usually are published under a different license, so we advise you to use alternatives or contact us regarding permission. Here are our full terms for republication. You must credit the author, link to the original story, and name GIJN as the first publisher. For any queries or to send us a courtesy republication note, write to

Read Next