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International Relations

Freedom in the World 2020 Report

  • 06 Mar 2020
  • 3 min read

Why in News

The Freedom in the World 2020 report has ranked India at the 83rd position along with Timor-Leste and Senegal.

  • The report is released by Freedom House, a U.S.-based watchdog, which has been tracking global political and civil liberties for almost half a century.
  • The report derives its methodology from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 1948.
  • It covers 195 countries, awarding scores based on-
    • Political rights indicators such as the electoral process, political pluralism and participation and government functioning.
    • Civil liberties indicators related to freedom of expression and belief, associational and organisational rights, the rule of law and personal autonomy and individual rights.

Key Highlights of the Report

  • India’s score fell by four points to 71, the worst decline among the world’s 25 largest democracies.
    • India scored 34 out of 40 points in the political rights category, but only 37 out of 60 in the civil liberties category, for a total score of 71, a drop from last year’s score of 75.
    • India is near the bottom of the pile among the countries categorised as “Free”, with only Tunisia receiving a lower score.
  • The scrapping of Article 370, the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA), as well as the crackdown on mass protests have been listed as the main signs of declining freedom.
    • The report criticised the internet blackout in Kashmir, terming it the longest shutdown ever imposed by a democracy.
    • It highlighted that freedom of expression (Article 19) is under threat in India, with journalists, academics and others facing harassment and intimidation when addressing politically sensitive topics.
  • The report noted that India has long been seen as a democratic counterweight to China and hence a strategic partner for the United States in the region.
    • However, that view is changing, with India attracting criticism similar to that levied against China.

Source: TH

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