Freedom in the world 2013

In what Middle East country do Arabs enjoy the greatest civil liberties? That is a question worthy of the investigation of 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 2013 report, explaining its methodology, discussing trends and providing its current rankings. It has also posted a good summary. The report notes some positive trends in the Middle East, yet Israel remains the region’s sole country ranked Free in Freedom House’s evaluation.

Today Israelis go to the polls to elect their government. Israel’s Arab citizens will vote and Arabs will be elected to Israel’s Knesset. Given the neighborhood, not to mention other factors, it’s a remarkable story.

Searching Google News, I find the only substantial media story on the new Freedom House report appears in the Jerusalem Post (which in fact alerted me to the new report). 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.