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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

GS-II :
  • 06 March, 2020

  • 2 Min Read

Freedom in the World 2020 report

Syllabus subtopic: Important International Institutions, agencies and fora - their Structure, Mandate.

Prelims and Mains focus: about the key highlights of the report and India’s performance

News: Freedom in the World 2020 report, a yearly survey and report by the U.S.-based non-governmental organization ‘Freedom House’ that measures the degree of civil liberties and political rights in every nation and significant related and disputed territories around the world, was recently released.

About the report

  • The report derives its methodology from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly 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, as well as 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

  • The report ranks India at the 83rd position, along with Timor-Leste and Senegal. This is near the bottom of the pile among the countries categorised as “Free”, with only Tunisia receiving a lower score.

  • India’s score fell by four points to 71, the worst decline among the world’s 25 largest democracies this year.

  • 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.

  • The report treats “Indian Kashmir” as a separate territory, which saw its total score drop precipitously from 49 to 28 this year, moving it from a status of “Partly Free” to “Not Free”.

Reasons given in the report for India’s dismal performance

  • The annulment of autonomy and the subsequent shutdown of Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, as well as the crackdown on mass protests have been listed as the main signs of declining freedom in the report.

  • 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.

  • The report slammed the internet blackout in Kashmir, terming it the longest shutdown ever imposed by a democracy. It said freedom of expression was under threat in India, with journalists, academics and others facing harassment and intimidation when addressing politically sensitive topics.

Source: The Hindu


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