Topics Covered: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability.
Freedom in the World 2020
What to study?
For Prelims: Key findings and performance of various countries.
For Mains: Concerns over India’s poor performance, reasons and what needs to be done?
Context: Freedom in the World 2020 has been released by America based Freedom House.
Top 5: Finland, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and Luxembourg are the top five countries in the free category.
- The report has placed India at 83rd position along with Timor-Leste and Senegal among the bottom five of “free democracies”.
- India witnessed the worst score decline among the world’s 25 largest democracies.
- India’s overall score declined from 75 in 2019 to 71 in 2020, with civil liberties taking the biggest hit.
Freedom House is a US-based watchdog, which has been tracking global political and civil liberties for almost half a century.
Observations made by the report on India:
- India was bogged down by multiple reasons including its Kashmir policy after abrogating Article 370, the National Register of Citizens for Assam, passage of contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and frequent internet shutdowns across the country.
- It notes, the government has taken its Hindu nationalist agenda to a new level with a succession of policies that abrogate the rights of different segments of its Muslim population, threatening the democratic future of a country long seen as a potential bulwark of freedom in Asia and the world.
- A fierce crackdown on protesters opposing the changes, indicated a deterioration of basic freedoms in the world’s largest democracy, says report.
- The report, which treats Kashmir as a separate territory, downgraded the Union territory’s status from “partly free” to “not free” due to the Indian government’s abrupt revocation of Article 370 in August.
- In terms of internet freedom, India fares worse, scoring just 55 and is categorised as “partly free”. As per the report, internet freedom has declined for the fourth year in a row in India.
- It also highlights the spread of fake news and manipulated content, creating political divide. The internet shutdown in Kashmir, has no doubt, contributed to India’s performance in terms of internet freedom.
- Stating that “democracy and pluralism are under assault” across the world, the report highlights the decline of the US and India.
The year 2019 was the 14th consecutive year of decline in global freedom, according to Freedom House. Compared with the previous year, in 2019, individuals in 64 countries experienced deterioration in their political rights and civil liberties while those in just 37 experienced improvements. More than half of the countries that were rated free or not free in 2009 have suffered a net decline in the past decade.
- Various such important reports and who releases them.
- India’s performance in such indices.
- Top 5 and bottom 5 performers.
Why was India ranked poorly in the recently released Freedom in the World 2020 report. Critically comment.
Sources: the Hindu.