A map of political freedom in the Middle East for dummies: A primer for Guardian readers

Freedom House recently released its 2010 survey of freedom in the world, and the results are relatively intuitive, unless of course, you’re someone who actually takes the Guardian’s coverage of the Middle East seriously.

Here’s Freedom House’s categories:

A Free country, according to Freedom House, is one where there is broad scope for open political competition, a climate of respect for civil liberties, significant independent civic life, and independent media. (Green: That tiny patch of land next to Egypt, which you can hardly see)

Partly Free countries are characterized by some restrictions on political rights and civil liberties, often in a context of corruption, weak rule of law, ethnic strife, or civil war. (Yellow: Lebanon, Morocco, and Kuwait)

A Not Free country is one where basic political rights are absent, and basic civil liberties are widely and systematically denied. (Lavender: Every other country)

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Just one more thing:

As we noted previously, out of 198 nations listed by the Guardian in their “Top Countries by Tags” post, Israel, the only free country in the Middle East, came in as the sixth most frequently covered country in the region.

For some reason, the appalling dearth of political freedom in Western Sahara, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Yemen, Oman, U.A.E., Qatar, Bahrain, Iran, and Gaza didn’t interest Guardian editors as much as the imperfections of the only country which is truly free in the Middle East.

Any questions?

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