Democracy watchdog organization Freedom House has released its annual ranking of the world's most free and suppressed nations. This year's report found that freedom levels have declined for the 17th year running, with 57 out of the 195 studied countries reported as ‘Not Free’ in 2022. That being said, the gap between the number of countries that registered overall improvements in political rights and civil liberties and those that have registered overall declines is the narrowest it has been since 2006.
The best scores in 2023 were recorded in Northern Europe with Sweden, Norway and Finland leading the way for freedom with scores of 100. The top-five was rounded off by New Zealand and Canada with the U.S. trailing with a score of 83. This year, the worst countries for freedom were Syria and South Sudan with a score of 1 each, followed by Turkmenistan with 2 and North Korea with 3. When territories are included in the analysis, Freedom House placed Tibet and East Donbas among the lowest ranking regions with scores of 1 and 3, respectively.