Freedom House: Serbia lost its free state status

Freedom House’s ‘Freedom in the World 2019’ report downgraded Serbia to the status of ‘partly free’, blaming an alleged decline in the country’s democracy, attacks on journalists and increasingly deteriorating election conditions.

Serbia was one of the countries with the largest decline in its democracy score, along with Nicaragua, Tanzania and Venezuela, in this year’s edition report, which was published on Tuesday.

For the first time in over a decade, Serbia can no longer be described as ‘free’, according to the report. Hungary was also downgraded to ‘partly free’.

The report lists the reasons for Serbia’s decline as “election irregularities, legal harassment and smear campaigns against independent journalists, and the de facto accumulation of extra-constitutional powers by President Aleksandar Vucic.”

Montenegro, which is also considered ‘partly free’, was also singled out for criticism in the report as well.

“President Milo Djukanovic of Montenegro continued to consolidate state power around himself and his clique, subverting basic standards of good governance and exceeding his assigned constitutional role,” the report says.

Separate country reports are not yet available, but in the Balkans, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania all maintained their ‘free’ status.

Freedom in the World has recorded global declines in political rights and civil liberties for an alarming 13 consecutive years, from 2005 to 2018. The global average score has declined each year, and countries with net score declines have consistently outnumbered those with net improvements.

The 13 years of decline have touched all parts of the world and affected Free, Partly Free, and Not Free countries alike. Every region except Asia-Pacific has a lower average score for 2018 than it did in 2005.

Freedom House uses 25 indicators to rank countries on a 100-point scale for its annual report. These indicators include electoral processes, individual rights and the rule of law.

(KRIK, Freedom House, 05.02.2019)

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This post is also available in: Italiano

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