“Freedom House is an independent nongovernmental organization that supports the expansion of freedom in the world. Freedom is possible only in democratic political systems in which the governments are accountable to their own people; the rule of law prevails; and freedoms of expression, association, and belief, as well as respect for the rights of minorities and women, are guaranteed.
Freedom ultimately depends on the actions of committed and courageous men and women. We support nonviolent civic initiatives in societies where freedom is denied or under threat and we stand in opposition to ideas and forces that challenge the right of all people to be free. Freedom House functions as a catalyst for freedom, democracy and the rule of law through its analysis, advocacy and action.” (Freedom House Website, http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=2, accessed on 27 February 2008)
Established in 1941 Freedom House was originally developed as a social movement to secure “popular support for American involvement in World War II”. During the post war era the organisation became an internationally recognised institution for promoting freedom and democracy. Since 1973 Freedom House launches its annual report “Freedom in the World” (Freedom House Website, http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=249, accessed on 27 February 2008).
US policymakers, international institutions and the governments of established democracies, individuals working in the world's young democracies, activists working in repressive societies, civil society (Freedom House Website, http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=2, accessed on 27 February 2008).
Analysis and spread of information in various publications, advocacy and encouragement through public events, press releases and opinion articles, training and support to promote all different aspects of freedom worldwide – from civil rights to social and economic freedom (Freedom House Website, http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=2, accessed on 27 February 2008).
The Funding of Freedom House relies on tax-deductible donations from private foundations and individuals. A list of members of the board of trustees can be found on the Freedom House website. However, Freedom House has also been criticised for receiving significant public funds. The US government provides a substantial percentage of the annual budget (Freedom House Website, http://www.freedomhouse.org/uploads/special_report/41.pdf
, accessed on 27 February 2008; see also Wikipedia: Freedom House, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_House, accessed on 27 February 2008).
Scope of reporting:
Geographic focus: All countries of the world.
Thematic focus: There are four major report series - Freedom in the World, Freedom of the Press, Nations in Transit and Countries at the Crossroads. All these publications take the form of country reports. Freedom in the World gives a worldwide rating on the status of personal, political and economical freedom in every country. Using the same methodology, Freedom of the Press provides a worldwide ranking by rating each country’s media. Nations in Transit assesses the development of 29 countries and territories from Central Europe and the Eurasian region of the former Soviet Union with regard to their transition into fully developed democracies. Finally, Countries at the Crossroads biennially reports on the reform development of 60 strategically important countries – two subsets, each comprising 30 countries, being rated in alternating fashion. In addition, there are special reports on various themes (Freedom House Website, http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=5, accessed on 27 February 2008).
“In cooperation with a team of methodology experts, Freedom House designed a methodology that includes a questionnaire used both to prepare analytical narratives and for numerical ratings for each government. The survey methodology provides authors with a transparent and consistent guide to scoring and analyzing the countries under review, and uses identical benchmarks for both narratives and ratings, rendering the two indicators mutually reinforcing. The final result is a system of comparative ratings accompanied by narratives that reflect governments’ commitment to passing good laws and also their records on upholding them.
Freedom House enlisted the participation of prominent scholars and analysts to author the survey’s country reports. In preparing the survey’s written analyses with accompanying comparative ratings, Freedom House undertook a systematic gathering of data. Each country narrative report is approximately 7,000 words long. Expert regional advisers reviewed the draft reports, providing written comments and requests for revisions, additions, or clarifications. Authors were asked to respond as fully as possible to all of the questions posed when composing the analytical narratives.” (Freedom House Website, http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=140&edition=8&ccrpage=38, accessed on 27 February 2008)
The four major report series are published annually (Freedom in the World since 1972, Freedom of the Press since 2002, Nations in Transit since 2003, Countries at the Crossroads since 2004) and comprise a calendar year’s period of events. In addition, several special reports have been published in the past (Freedom House Website, http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=5, accessed on 27 February 2008).
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