Freedom appeared in a state of decline during 2007, according to the authoritative Freedom in the World survey issued annually by Freedom House. The most significant development was the decline in freedom in a number of strategically significant countries: Russia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines, Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, and Venezuela. Globally, many countries showed evidence of problems with freedom of association, rule of law, effective governance, and corruption. Freedom House also pointed to a growing “pushback” against democracy in such countries as Russia, Venezuela, Iran, and China. Dictators are employing increasingly sophisticated methods to marginalize opposition parties, censor the press, and marginalize civil society.