Freedom House has published its annual world freedom report, and as with other years the trend is still going in the right dsirection. They started doing this in 1972.
Every country gets ranked from 1 (most free) to 7 for political freedom and civil liberties. The number of “not free” countries declined from 49 last year to 45 in 2005, with the middle east being a region which has shown improvement.
However worth remembering that only 46% of countries are free – explaining much about the UN! But back in 1975 there were only 40 free countries, and today it is up to 89.
The percentage free in each region is not surprising:
Sub-Saharan Africa 23%
Middle East/North Africa 6%
Central and Eastern Europe/CIS 48%
Western Europe 96%
The eight countries which have received the lowest possible rankings are Cuba, North Korea, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Libya, Syria, Sudan and Burma. Tibet and Chechnya are not countries but rank equally badly as territories.
New Zealand of course is one of 50 countries ranked as most free.