Source description last updated: 8 April 2020

In brief: Freedom House is a US-based non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights.

Coverage on

Freedom in the World, Nations in Transit, Freedom on the Net, Freedom of the Press and selected special reports

Covered monthly on for countries of priorities A–E (all available countries).


Freedom House, a bipartisan organisation established in 1941, is “founded on the core conviction that freedom flourishes in democratic nations where governments are accountable to their people; the rule of law prevails; and freedoms of expression, association, and belief, as well as respect for the rights of women, minorities and historically marginalized groups, are guaranteed.

We speak out against the main threats to democracy and empower citizens to exercise their fundamental rights through a […] combination of analysis, advocacy, and direct support to frontline defenders of freedom, especially those working in closed authoritarian societies. […]

Freedom House produces research and reports on a number of core thematic issues related to democracy, political rights and civil liberties.” These include the Freedom in the World, Freedom on the Net, Nations in Transit country report series and several special reports. (Freedom House: About Us, undated)

“The Organization has its headquarters office in Washington, D.C. and research operations in New York City. In addition, it maintains approximately a dozen field offices throughout the world […].” (Freedom House: Financial Statements Year Ended June 30, 2018 and Independent Auditors’ Report, 19 October 2018, p. 7)

“Freedom House's non-partisan Board of Trustees is comprised of prominent business and labor leaders, former diplomats and senior government officials, scholars, and journalists” (Freedom House: Board of Trustees: Member Biographies, undated). Short biographies of the members of the board of trustees can be found here:


Freedom House relies on US federal government grants and contributions from private companies, foundations and individuals. The US government provides a substantial percentage of the annual budget (Freedom House: Financial Statements Year Ended June 30, 2018 and Independent Auditors’ Report, 19 October 2018, p. 4). The production of the report “Freedom in the World receives no governmental funding” (Freedom House: Freedom in the World, undated) while Freedom on the Net is currently funded by the US State Department, Google, the New York Community Trust and Yahoo (Freedom House: Freedom on the Net, undated) and funding for Nations in Transit stems from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) (Freedom House: Nations in Transit, undated).

Scope of reporting:

Geographic focus: all countries

Thematic focus:

Freedom in the World assesses the situation relating to political rights and civil liberties (Freedom House: Freedom in the World, undated). Freedom on the Net covers obstacles to Internet access, limits on content and violations of user rights (Freedom House: Freedom on the Net, undated). Nations in Transit researches “democracy in the 29 formerly communist countries from Central Europe to Central Asia”, assessing seven categories: “National Democratic Governance, Local Democratic Governance, Electoral Process, Independent Media, Civil Society, Judicial Framework and Independence, and Corruption” (Freedom House: Nations in Transit, undated).


Freedom in the World is produced each year by a team of in-house and external analysts and expert advisers from the academic, think tank, and human rights communities. The 2020 edition involved more than 125 analysts, and 40 advisers. The analysts, who prepare the draft reports and scores, use a broad range of sources, including news articles, academic analyses, reports from nongovernmental organizations, individual professional contacts, and on-the-ground research. […] The end product represents the consensus of the analysts, outside advisers, and Freedom House staff, who are responsible for any final decisions.” (Freedom House: Freedom in the World Research Methodology, undated)

The Freedom on the Net project “measures each country’s level of internet and digital media freedom based on a set of methodology questions developed in consultation with international experts to capture the vast array of relevant issues that enable internet freedom […]. Freedom House staff invites at least one researcher (or organization) to serve as the report author for each country, training them assess internet freedom developments according to the project’s comprehensive research methodology. […] Freedom House staff edit and fact-check all country reports […].” (Freedom House: Freedom on the Net Research Methodology, undated)

“The country reports in Nations in Transit follow an essay format that allowed the report authors to provide a broad analysis of the progress of democratic change in their country of expertise. Freedom House provided them with guidelines for ratings and a checklist of questions covering [the] seven categories” mentioned above. (Freedom House: Nations in Transit Methodology, undated)

Language of publication:


All links accessed 8 April 2020.