According to the United Nations, as of 2002, 70 percent of the world’s nations were holding multi-party elections. Fifty-eight percent of the world’s population lived under a fully democratic system of governance. Both of these figures are at their highest points in human history.
The Freedom House (search) think tank gave 89 countries containing 46 percent of the world’s population a ranking of “free” in the 2003 edition of its annual Freedom of the World report (search). Both figures are at their highest in the 30-year history of the survey. Freedom House also reports that countries moving toward more freedom have outpaced countries moving away from freedom by three to one. Radley Balko –2004: The Good News (Fox News)
This is one of several “good news” bits in the article. I’d find the article more convincing if the online version included links to the sources for all these claims, (though I have no particular reason, other than healthy skepticism, to complain).