Freedom House’s latest report on political rights and civil liberties “Freedom in the world 2020”, published on March 4, 2020, states that “Democracy is being attacked around the world and the effects are evident not only in authoritarian countries such as China, Russia and Iran, but also in countries with long-standing efforts to uphold fundamental rights and freedoms. Although protest movements in each region illustrate the widespread demand for better governance, they do not yet influence the overall model of diminishing freedom.”
“The two most striking examples are China, where the multi-year campaign of the cultural annihilation regime against the Uighur minority and other predominantly Muslim groups is well documented, as well as India, which saw the largest decline among the 25 most populous democracies in the world. India has long been seen as a potential democratic counterweight to authoritarian China in the Indo-Pacific region, but the alarming deviations of the current Indian government from democratic norms are blurring the axiological distinction between Beijing and New Delhi.
Of the 195 countries evaluated in the report, 83 (43%) were rated free, 63 (32%) were partly free, and 49 (25%) were not free. Freedom in the world is analyzed as based on the electoral process, political pluralism and participation, the functioning of governments, freedom of expression and belief, the rights of association and organization, the rule of law and personal independence and the rights of the individual.
“The report clearly indicates that once again democracy is in decline. Political rights and civil liberties are endangered, both in free societies and in repressive ones. This trend may be reversed, but concerted efforts by governments, pressure from the people and partnership from the business community will be required.”
The report rates Serbia as partly free, ranking it among the countries with the largest 10-year decline in these two categories. “In Montenegro and Serbia, independent journalists, opposition figures and other opponents of the government face constant harassment, intimidation and sometimes violence. Public discontent with the ruling parties has led to major protests in both countries, but they have failed to bring about a significant change”, the report states.
Serbia scored a total of 66 points (out of a possible 100) with 23 points (out of a possible score of 60) awarded for political rights and 43 for civil liberties.
The report also listed Kosovo as partly free with a total score of 56 points (out of a possible 100) – 25 (out of a possible score of 60) for political rights and 31 (out of a possible score of 40) for civil liberties. “Balloting in Kosovo lofted the opposition nationalist Vetevendosje party into office, where it has an opportunity to change the country’s culture of corruption”, the report said.