The Most and Least Free Countries in the World by Freedom House, 2014
World Freedom Rankings by Freedom House
According to its website, Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports the expansion of freedom around the world. Freedom House supports democratic change, monitors freedom, and advocates for democracy and human rights.
Freedom House was founded in 1941 by prominent Americans concerned with growing threats to peace and democracy. As such Freedom House has been a vigorous proponent of democratic values and a steadfast opponent of dictatorships of the far left and the far right. Eleanor Roosevelt and Wendell Willkie served as Freedom House’s first honorary co-chairpersons.
Throughout its history, Freedom House has opposed tyranny around the world, including dictatorships in Latin America, apartheid in South Africa, Soviet domination of Central and Eastern Europe, and religiously-based totalitarian regimes such as those governing Sudan, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Freedom House has promoted the growth of freedom by encouraging U.S. policymakers, international institutions, and the governments of established democracies to adopt policies that advance human rights and democracy around the world. At the same time, it provides support to individuals working in the world's young democracies to overcome debilitating legacies of tyranny, dictatorship, and political repression; as well as to activists working in repressive societies to bring about greater freedom and openness.
Freedom House translates the intangible values of freedom into a strong tangible impact by combining analysis, advocacy and action.
Freedom House's Freedom Index
This ranking by Freedom House quantifies political freedom and civil liberties into a single combined index on each sovereign country's level of freedom and liberty. The initials "PR" and "CL" stand for Political Rights and Civil Liberties, respectively. The number 1 represents the most free countries and the number 7 represents the least free. Several countries fall in the continuum in between. The freedom ratings show an overall judgment based on survey results.
Freedom House's Survey
Freedom House’s most important publication is Freedom in the World which is a comparative assessment of global political rights and civil liberties. Published annually since 1972, the Freedom of the World survey collects data from 193 countries and 15 related and disputed territories. The results are published and used by policymakers, the media, international corporations, civic activists, and human rights defenders to monitor trends in democracy and track improvements and setbacks in freedom worldwide.
The Most Free Countries in the World according to Freedom House
From their research Freedom House determined which countries of the world could be considered the most and least free in terms of political freedom and civil liberties. In all, 48 countries rated a "1" in both political freedom and civil liberties in the 2014 survey, indicating the most free societies in the world. The 48 nations ranked highest by Freedom House included:
- Cape Verde
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- Marshall Islands
- New Zealand
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and Grenadines
- San Marino
- United Kingdom
- United States
Countries Rated the Least Free by Freedom House
A "7" rating under Freedom House's system indicates that a nation is relatively "not free." In the 2014 report, 11 countries received "7" in both political freedom and civil liberties. Those eight countries deemed to be the least free societies included:
- Central African Republic
- Equatorial Guinea
- North Korea
- Saudi Arabia
Five other countries received at least one 7 and one 6 in the two sections of the freedom index; they included:
Vietnam and Swaziland were rated at the lowest level for political freedom.
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