What is the News?
Freedom House releases the report titled “Freedom in the World 2021 – Democracy under Siege”. Freedom House is a US-based Human rights watchdog.
About Freedom in the World 2021 Report:
- Freedom in the World is an annual global report that tracks political rights and civil liberties. The report has been produced since 1973.
- Methodology: The report’s methodology is derived from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The UN General Assembly adopted the declaration in 1948.
- The report assesses the individual’s real-world rights and freedoms. It doesn’t focus on governments or government performance in Human Rights.
- Countries: The 2021 edition covers developments in 195 countries and 15 territories from January 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020.
- Parameters: The countries are awarded scores based on:
- Political rights indicators such as the electoral process, political pluralism and participation, and government functioning.
- Civil liberties indicators are related to freedom of expression and belief, associational and organizational rights, the rule of law and personal autonomy, and individual rights.
- Categories: These two score totals are then weighted equally to determine a country/territory’s status of a) Free b) Partly Free or c) Not Free. Countries are ranked from 1 to 100, 100 being the ranking for the freest country.
Key Findings Related to India:
- India’s rank has fallen from 83 to 88 out of 195 countries and 15 territories.
- India’s score decreased from 71 to 67.
- India’s status has been downgraded from ‘Free’ to ‘Partly Free’.
Why has India’s status been downgraded? The report has highlighted the following reasons for the downgrade:
- Use of the sedition law and other charges in recent years to deter free speech
- Government’s coronavirus response including the lockdown.
- The migrant crisis and violent and discriminatory enforcement by police and civilian vigilantes
- Attack on Minorities
- The decrease in Judicial Independence among others.
Other key Findings Related to India:
- Kashmir: The Freedom House report has listed “Indian Kashmir” separately and retained its status as last year of “not free”. The score fell from 28 to 27.
- Internet Freedom in India: India’s Internet Freedom Score has stayed at 51. However, the report has stated that Internet freedom in India has declined dramatically for a third straight year. It is due to reasons like Internet shutdowns, blocked content, misinformation spread by political leaders, online harassment among others.
Other Key Findings Globally:
- There is a decline in global democracy over the last 15 years. Nearly 75% of the world’s population lived in a country that faced deterioration over the last year.
- Finland, Norway, and Sweden are the most free countries in the world, with a score of 100. While the least free countries are Tibet and Syria, with a score of 1.
Source: The Hindu