The latest edition of Freedom in the World, the annual comparative report on political rights and civil liberties, marks the 50th anniversary of the series. Despite ongoing challenges to democracy, the report shows that the demand for freedom is universal.
The year 2022 saw a possible turning point in the global struggle for democracy, with the gap between countries registering overall improvements and those registering declines being the narrowest in 17 years of deterioration.
War, coups, and attacks on democratic institutions by illiberal incumbents remained the biggest threats to freedom and democracy. However, there were democratic gains through transparent and competitive elections, lifting of pandemic-related restrictions, and a renewed commitment to judicial independence in some countries.
The report also highlights the need to protect civil liberties, particularly freedom of expression and personal expression, which have come under increasing pressure.
The report concludes that democratic societies’ international solidarity, commitment to shared values, and continued support for human rights defenders are crucial to ensuring that the next 50 years bring the world closer to a state of freedom for all.