The “Arab Spring” Was a Two-Hit Wonder

This is a chart I made from the latest (not for long) Press Freedom reports from Freedom House. Higher scores indicate greater levels of press repression.
As you can see, the Arab Spring succeeded in bringing democracy and substantial improvements in press freedom to only two countries: the two most repressive states in North Africa.
Far more associated with the Arab Spring than transitions to democracy was the citizenry feeling less safe at night (though this feeling less safe at night apparently had nothing to do with the rate of muggings and assaults).

I attribute the quick transitions to democracy and improvements in press freedom of Tunisia and Libya to the political sterility of these nations. Since Gaddafi and Ben Ali had such complete contol of Libya and Tunisia’s repressive apparatuses, these apparatuses disappeared with their ousters from power. Egypt was not politically sterile but had a not-wholly-repressed Muslim Brotherhood and a strong army waiting in the wings to maintain and continue Mubarak’s press censorship. Yemen was a a blatant case of the new boss being the same as the old boss.

Author: pithom

An atheist with an interest in the history of the ancient Near East. Author of the Against Jebel al-Lawz Wordpress blog.

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