Annual Survey Indicates 52 Countries Experienced “Severe” Decreases in Freedom Last Year

( — An annual report from Freedom House found that global freedom decreased in 2023 for the 18th consecutive year, Axios reported.

According to Freedom House’s “Freedom in the World 2024” report, civil liberties and political rights deteriorated in 52 countries last year, fueled in part by armed conflict and “flawed elections.” Only 21 countries appeared to show improvement in 2023—the fewest countries to improve in the 18 years Freedom House has conducted its review.

The report found that just 20 percent of the global population lives in countries that could be considered “free.” Another 42 percent reside in countries Freedom House classifies as “partly free,” while 38 percent live in countries deemed “not free.”

In last year’s annual report, Freedom House appeared optimistic about a possible turning point in global freedom. However, that optimism was dashed last year.

Cathryn Grothe, the co-author of this year’s report, told Axios that 2023 was “relatively grim.” She said the deterioration of freedom impacted about 22 percent of the global population, with only about 7 percent of the population experiencing any improvements.

According to the report, problems with elections were widespread last year, fueling the deterioration in freedom. It was due to its election violence in 2023 that Ecuador was downgraded from “free” to “partly free.”

The report also noted that political incumbents from Cambodia, Guatemala, Poland, Turkey, and Zimbabwe attempted to undermine political opponents, control elections, and prevent the peaceful transfer of power.

Freedom also declined significantly in Niger due to last year’s military coup.

According to Freedom House, since the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, freedom in India has also fallen sharply.

Freedom House also said freedom declined in Israel last year due to the war in Gaza and “discriminatory policies and practices” in the Palestinian territories.

One country that did see improvement in 2023 was Thailand, which Freedom House upgraded from “not free” to “partly free” after the country held competitive elections.

The country of Finland once again ranked as the freest country in the world, receiving a perfect score from Freedom House.

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