The US no longer ranks at the top of the freedom rankings, but the US still qualifies as a free country. However, it has slipped down to a “partly free” category and is taking a partisan turn to the left. In fact, Freedom House describes conservatives in Poland as defending traditional Catholic values and national interests.
The US is no longer the best-ranked country in the world
The US has fallen a few places on the Freedom House index over the past year. While the country is still regarded as the most free in the world, its democratic institutions are weakening. During the last year of the Trump presidency, the US experienced a further decline. In fact, its score decreased by three points, dropping it from the group of leading democracies to a category that includes countries with weak democratic institutions.
Freedom in the World is produced by a team of expert advisers and analysts. For the 2022 edition, the team consisted of nearly 50 advisers and 128 analysts. They use a variety of sources to compile draft reports and score each country on the basis of the conditions within its borders. Then, they discuss their findings during regional review meetings, which are attended by Freedom House staff.
It still qualifies for the “free” category
Freedom House’s annual report, Freedom in the World, has been produced since 1973. It is comprised of descriptive texts and numerical scores that rank 195 countries and 15 territories according to their level of freedom. Freedom House analysts make their final decisions about which countries are considered free and which are not.
It has declined in the “partly free” category
The United States has slipped from the top of the Freedom House index to the “partly free” category. The report cites official corruption, lack of political accountability, and heavy police response to anti-racism protests. Though the United States is still a “free” country, it has fallen 11 points since 2005 and is now in the “partly free” category. Compared to the “free” category, the United States is now comparable to countries such as Croatia and Panama.
While the world’s hegemon and rising power have become less interested in fighting for democracy outside its borders, many countries in the “partly free” category have experienced significant declines in freedom. This is especially true for smaller nations, which are often more receptive to diplomatic pressure from more powerful countries. As a result, they’re more likely to throw their weight around in support of friendly autocrats.
Despite the recent decline in the overall score, several countries improved their rankings. While Haiti was downgraded from the Free to the Partly Free category due to the assassination of President Jovenel Moise, Peru improved its rating after the election of a new president and Congress. These improvements were partly due to a decrease in a number of internal political clashes, while other countries saw an improvement in their freedom rankings.
In the United States, the long-term decline of democracy in the “partly free” category has accelerated in recent years. As the global pandemic has strained governments worldwide, world leaders have been able to legitimize additional restrictions. However, Freedom House recognizes the distinction between science-based temporary restrictions for public health and ill-informed strategies such as excessive surveillance and violent enforcement of restrictions.
Freedom House’s index is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document drafted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 that lays out the basic principles of freedom. The Index ranks each country on how many of these principles are being upheld and protected by the government. The index also considers the political and economic factors that affect the freedom of the press and access to information.
The Supreme Court of Canada’s score dropped from three to two. In recent years, the Court of Canada has made more pro-government decisions. Moreover, the recent transfer of a high-profile judge suggests a closer alignment between the ruling party and the judicial leadership.
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