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Georgia - regional leader for freedom

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, February 2
The recent report of the United States-based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Freedom House released on January 31, reads that Georgia is among the ‘partly free’ countries in terms of freedom, but keeps the best position among its neighboring states.

The report, called “Populists and Autocrats: The Dual Threat to Global Democracy,” which examined the condition of global political rights and civil liberties of 195 countries, reads that Georgia received 64 points. The other regional countries received worse points than Georgia: Russia (20 points), Azerbaijan (14), Armenia (45) and Turkey (38).

Moreover, Georgia received 3 points out of 7 in terms of its political and civil freedoms and is described as ‘partly free’ according to its media freedom and as ‘free’ according to internet freedom.

The number of countries designated as Free stands at 87, representing 45 percent of the world’s 195 polities and approximately 2.9 billion people or 39 percent of the global population. The number of Free countries increased by one from the previous year’s report.

The number of countries qualifying as Partly Free stood at 59, or 30 percent of all countries assessed, and they were home to nearly 1.9 billion people, or 25 percent of the world’s total. The number of Partly Free countries stayed the same from the previous year.

A total of 49 countries were deemed Not Free, representing 25 percent of the world’s polities. The number of people living under Not Free conditions stood at just over 2.6 billion people, or 36 percent of the global population, though it is important to note that more than half of this number lives in just one country: China. The number of Not Free countries decreased by one from 2015.

A total of 11 countries have the worst aggregate scores for political rights and civil liberties.

These countries are Syria, Eritrea, North Korea, Uzbekistan, South Sudan, Turkmenistan, Somalia, Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, the Central African Republic and Saudi Arabia.

“There were setbacks in political rights, civil liberties, or both, in a number of countries rated “Free” by the report, including Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Tunisia, and the United States,” the report reads.

Arch Puddington, says that he is not dissatisfied by Georgia’s results but underlines that there are still problems over the TV station ownership disputes and the rule of law.

“Many thought that after Georgian Dream came into power, events would develop in the wrong direction, but this never happened. I think the level of freedom has even improved slightly since then. So we are not unhappy with the results of Georgia,” he added.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.