Democracy is in crisis. That’s the conclusion of a 2018 report by Freedom House on the state of freedom around the world. Freedom House, based in Washington, D.C., was founded in 1941 by a bipartisan group that included First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Wendell Wilkie, who’d been the 1940 Republican presidential nominee. The organization has published the Freedom in the World report yearly since 1973.
The latest report found that 71 countries showed declines in political rights and civil liberties over the past year, while just 35 showed improvements.
In fact, this is the 12th consecutive year that freedom has declined overall across the globe, Freedom House says. The report, which rates countries on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being the most free, finds that 39 percent of the world’s population is free, with the remainder living in countries classified as either “partly free” or “not free” (see map).
At the end of the Cold War, it looked as if totalitarianism had been defeated by democracy, says Michael Abramowitz, president of Freedom House. But “today, it is democracy that finds itself battered and weakened,” he says.