By Francesca Astorri
Libya and Tunisia register increases in freedom, while Gulf states seen as more repressive
Various Arab countries registered an improvement in their freedom status, with Libya and Tunisia among those showing the most progress, a report said.
According to human rights watchdog Freedom House's 2013 'Middle East Gains Provoke Intensified Repression' report, Libya advanced from 'the status of 'Not Free' to 'Partly Free' and made the largest gains in perceptions of freedom.
Tunisia's improvement was similarly-sized, while Egypt experienced only modest progress.
According to Freedom House, revolutions in the Arab Spring countries led to more repressive policies by authoritarian by leaders elsewhere in the Middle East, including Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, UAE, Lebanon, Oman, Bahrain and Syria.
Qatar remains stable in its position, while Oman and UAE were downgraded, and Saudi Arabia was given the lowest possible rating alongside countries including Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Equatorial Guinea, North Korea, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
The number of nations ranked as 'Free' for 2012 was 90, with a gain of three over the previous year, but there are still 47 countries 'Not Free', in which basic political rights are absent and basic civil liberties are widely and systematically denied.