The 25 countries in the world with the least amount of freedom

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad meets with Syrian army soldiers in eastern Ghouta, Syria, March 18, 2018.

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad meets with Syrian army soldiers in eastern Ghouta, Syria, March 18, 2018.
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SANA/Handout via REUTERS

  • The independent watchdog organization Freedom House annually measures the freedom of every country around the world.
  • Freedom House measures freedom in terms of civil liberties and political rights and compiles data from media, research articles, government documents, and other sources to compute each country’s freedom score.

Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization that releases an annual report on freedom around the world, measures freedom in terms of civil liberties and political rights.

Their annual report, Freedom in the World, “operates from the assumption that freedom for all people is best achieved in liberal democratic societies.”

In 2018, more than 130 in-house and external analysts and advisers from academia, think tanks, and human rights institutions created the report by collecting data from media, research articles, government documents, and other sources.

That data was then used to score a country’s political rights on a scale of 0 to 40 and its civil liberties on a scale of 0 to 60, with a total freedom score of 100 being the highest and 0 being the lowest.

Freedom House measured political rights by the degree with which a country’s elections are determined to be free and fair, as well as by the extent of political pluralism and participation. The group measured civil liberties, on the other hand, by how free and independent the media is and the extent of freedom of expression and assembly.

In the ranking below, countries with a shared freedom rating were listed by alphabetical order. Countries with an asterisk also denote territories, not independent countries.

Check out the 25 countries with the least freedom below:


25. Cuba

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Cuba’s First Secretary of the Communist Party and former President Raul Castro (2-R), Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel (2-L), First Secretary of the Communist Party in Havana Lazara Mercedes Lopez (L) and president of the Communist Party of Chile Guillermo Teillier watch the May Day rally in Havana, Cuba, May 1, 2018.
source
Reuters

Freedom Score: 14


24. China

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Chinese President Xi Jinping
source
Reuters/Pool

Freedom Score: 14


23. Yemen

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Smoke rises as people inspect damage at the site of air strikes in the city of Saada, Yemen on January 6, 2018.
source
Reuters

Freedom Score: 13


22. Laos

Freedom Score: 12


21. Gaza Strip*

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A Palestinian man protests for better living conditions in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.
source
Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters

Freedom Score: 12

Freedom House gave Gaza Strip an asterisk because the country’s residents are governed by the fundamentalist organization Hamas “without democratic legitimacy, and its unresolved schism with the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank has contributed to legal confusion and repeated postponement of overdue elections.”


20. Ethiopia

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Ethiopian Federal Police officers detain a woman suspected to be carrying explosives during the welcoming ceremony of Jawar Mohammed, U.S.-based Oromo activist and leader of the Oromo Protests, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia August 5, 2018.
source
Reuters

Freedom Score: 12


19. Bahrain

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A protester throws a petrol bomb at riot police armoured personnel carrier and at the same time tear gas canister is seen fired from the APC during a demonstration to mark the 6th anniversary of the February 14 uprising, in the village of Sitra, south of Manama, Bahrain February 14, 2017.
source
Reuters

Freedom Score: 12


18. Azerbaijan

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Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev casts his vote during a referendum on extending presidential terms in Baku, Azerbaijan, September 26, 2016.
source
Reuters

Freedom Score: 12


17. Tajikistan

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Tajikistan’s President Rakhmon waves from an open-top car during a parade following his inauguration in Dushanbe.
source
Thomson Reuters

Freedom Score: 11


16. South Ossetia*

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Georgian President Georgy Margvelashvili (2nd R) and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko (R) stand near a barbed wire while speaking with a local resident as they visit the village of Khurvaleti on the administrative border with the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia, Georgia July 19, 2017.
source
Reuters

Freedom Score: 10

Freedom House gave South Ossetia an asterisk because it’s a breakaway country from the 2008 Russo-Georgian War that “remains almost entirely dependent on Russia, and Moscow exerts a decisive influence over its politics and governance.”


15. Libya

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Libya’s eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar salutes as he participates in General Security conference, in Benghazi.
source
Thomson Reuters

Freedom Score: 9


14. Crimea*

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Russian tank crew members wait for their T-72B tank to move off a train after arriving at a train station in Gvardeiskoye near the Crimean city of Simferopol, March 31, 2014.
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REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis

Freedom Score: 9

Freedom House gave Crimea an asterisk because Russian forces invaded Ukrainian region in 2014 and annexed it through a referendum that the Western world largely condemned as illegal.


13. Central African Republic

Freedom Score: 9


12. Sudan

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Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir during their meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, November 23, 2017.
source
Reuters

Freedom Score: 8


11. Uzbekistan

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Uzbekistan’s interim President Shavkat Mirziyoyev casts his ballot at a polling station during a presidential election in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
source
Thomson Reuters

Freedom Score: 7


10. Somalia

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Civilians walk at the scene of an explosion in KM4 street in the Hodan district of Mogadishu, Somalia October 14, 2017.
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REUTERS/Feisal Omar

Freedom Score: 7


9. Saudi Arabia

Freedom Score: 7


8. Equatorial Guinea

Freedom Score: 7


7. Western Sahara*

Freedom Score: 4

Freedom House did not provide a summary for Western Sahara, but the country has large been a disputed area between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front.


6. Turkmenistan

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Turkmenistan’s President Berdymukhamedov speaks at a news briefing in Tbilisi.
source
Thomson Reuters

Freedom Score: 4


5. North Korea

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This image made from video of an undated still image broadcast in a news bulletin by North Korea’s KRT on Monday, May 15, 2017, shows leader Kim Jong Un at what was said to be a missile test site at an undisclosed location in North Korea.
source
Reuters

Freedom Score: 3


4. Eritrea

Freedom Score: 3


3. South Sudan

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South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir addresses the nation at the South Sudan National Parliament in Juba, November 18, 2015.
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REUTERS/Jok Solomun

Freedom Score: 2


2. Tibet*

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A Tibetan protester has her head shaved during a rally to mark what organisers said was the 57th anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising Day in central Sydney, Australia, March 10, 2016.
source
Reuters

Freedom Score: 1

Freedom House gave Tibet an asterisk because the country is ruled by the Chinese Communist Party, and local decision-making power comes from Beijing.


1. Syria

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Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with Venezuelan state television TeleSUR in Damascus, in this handout photograph distributed by Syria’s national news agency SANA on September 26, 2013.
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REUTERS/SANA

Freedom Score: -1