There are more democracies than dictatorships in the world but the number of totally free countries is still a minority, according to Freedom in the World 2013, the latest report by Freedom House on political rights and civil liberties.
Despite the fact that there are 117 democracies in the world, the report considers only 90 countries have the status of freedom.
A ‘free’ country is one where there is open political competition, a climate of respect for civil liberties, significant independent civic life and an independent media.
2013 marks the seventh consecutive year in which countries with declines (27) outnumbered those with improvements (16), and as the year 2012 drew to a close, events in the Middle East dramatised two competing trends: demands for change pushed forward by popular democratic movements, and an authoritarian response that combines intransigence with strategic adaptability, which combined with either instability or authoritarian retrenchment in other regions, had a significant impact on the state of global freedom.
The report defines four development trends which will weigh the most on the civil liberties balance for next year: volatility in West Africa, the Persian Gulf states retreat, civil liberties at risk in Turkey, and the Muslim-on-Muslim violence.