May 28, 2022

World Freedom Declines For 10th Consecutive Year, “Freedom in the World” Report + Data 2016 Released

From Freedom House:

2016-01-28_13-35-05Economic downturns and fear of social unrest have led Russia, China, and other authoritarian regimes to crack down harder on dissent, while mass migration and new forms of terrorism in 2015 fueled xenophobic sentiment in major democracies, according to Freedom in the World 2016, Freedom House’s annual report on political rights and civil liberties.

The report marked 2015 as the 10th consecutive year of decline in global freedom.


Key Global Findings

  • Of the 195 countries assessed, 86 (44 percent) were rated Free, 59 (30 percent) Partly Free, and 50 (26 percent) Not Free.
  • Ratings for the Middle East and North Africa region were the worst in the world in 2015, followed closely by Eurasia.
  • Leaders in several countries maneuvered to extend their terms in office during 2015, most prominently in Burundi, but also in Bolivia, Ecuador, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, and Rwanda.
  • Vicious criminal gangs, political violence, and systemic corruption sparked declines in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
  • Token improvements in women’s political rights and civil liberties, such as women in Saudi Arabia participating in tightly controlled elections for largely powerless municipal councils, have been eclipsed by the shocking lack of genuine progress globally.
  • Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo all suffered from crippling government dysfunction in 2015, precluding democratic gains and ensuring that EU accession remained a distant prospect.
  • Although the world’s attention turned to new disasters during 2015, the previous year’s dramatic setbacks for freedom in Thailand, Egypt, Crimea, and South Sudan continued to fester.

Over the last decade, the most significant global reversals have been in the areas of freedom of expression and the rule of law.

Worst of the Worst

Of the 50 countries and territories designated as Not Free, the following 12 have the worst aggregate scores for political rights and civil liberties (beginning with the least free): Syria, Tibet, Somalia, North Korea, Uzbekistan, Eritrea, Turkmenistan, Western Sahara, Central African Republic, Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Saudi Arabia.

Direct to Summary/News Release

Direct to New Report, Maps/Graphics, “Countries to Watch” List, Regional and Country Reports, Methodology, Access to Previously Released Reports

Direct to Freedom in the World 2016 Map (PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.