In what Middle East country do Arabs enjoy the greatest civil liberties? That is a question worthy of investigation by the Middle East correspondents of the New York Times, the Washington Post and others who bring us the news from the region.
Freedom House conducts a widely respected annual survey that goes a long way toward answering the question. It has just released its 2014 report, discussing trends and providing its current rankings. It has also posted a good summary as well as a 2014 Map of Freedom illustrating the rankings. And that’s not all!
In the Middle East, Israel remains the region’s sole country ranked Free in Freedom House’s evaluation. The Middle East and North Africa as a whole had the worst civil liberties scores of any region. Syria is one of ten countries ranked worst of the worst, given the lowest possible rating of 7 for both political rights and civil liberties. Freedom House’s Middle East fact and North Africa fact sheet is posted here. The graphic below is lifted from the fact sheet.
Israel’s Arab citizens exercise greater civil and political rights than the Arabs of any other Middle East country. Given the neighborhood, not to mention other considerations, it’s a remarkable story.
Searching Google News this morning, I find the only substantial media story on the new Freedom House report so far appears on the Voice of America. Surely some day an assignment editor at one of the mainstream media outlets will get around to covering the annual Freedom House report, or having a reporter take a serious look at the answer to the question at the top of this post.