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How Free Are Postcolonial Polities? Select Nation Profiles

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Freedom House is an independent organization that advocates for increased freedom and democracy around the world. Partnering with frontline human rights activists to advance democratic change, Freedom House recognizes that freedom is only possible within the context of a democratic government that is accountable to its own people.

Established in New York City in 1941, Freedom House has expanded to include offices in a dozen countries. Furthermore, among its goals include collaboration with like-minded governments that seek to oppose authoritarian regimes. In addition to its social justice efforts, Freedom House publishes annual reports that analyze the various aspects and levels of freedom present in nations across the world. These reports include Freedom in the World, Freedom on the Net, and Freedom of the Press.

In determining a Freedom in the World rating, Freedom House analyzes political rights and civil liberties, both measured on a scale from 1 to 7, with 1 indicating the most freedom and 7 indicating the least. Scores are determined based on a series of questions that are meant to address a range of concerns related to political rights and civil liberties. Some of the issues that are evaluated include the electoral process, political participation, functioning of government, freedom of expression and belief, rule of law, and individual rights. The scores for political rights and civil liberties are averaged to result in a Freedom Rating.

A country with a Freedom Rating in the 1.0 to 2.5 range would be designated Free.

A country with a Freedom Rating in the 3.0 to 5.0 range would be designated Partly Free.

A country with a Freedom Rating in the 5.5 to 7.0 range would be designated Not Free.

Each country is also given an aggregate score out of 100 (with 100 being Most Free), which is determined based on the specific number of points allocated for the methodology questions.

Freedom House analyzes Internet freedom using a Freedom on the Net index. According to Freedom House, “The Freedom on the Net index measures each country’s level of Internet and digital media freedom based on a set of methodology questions . . .” The categories measured include Obstacles to Access, Limits on Content, and Violations of User Rights, with more points allotted for greater restrictions on freedom. In determining a country’s Net Freedom status, the following system is used: 0 to 30 points is Free, 31 to 60 points is Partly Free, and 61 to 100 points is Not Free.

Press Freedom is evaluated using twenty-three questions that focus primarily on three subcategories: Legal Environment, Political Environment, and Economic Environment. More points are allocated for situations that are more restrictive to press freedom, and press freedom status (Free, Partly Free, or Not Free) is designated using the same numerical system as Freedom on the Net.

The following is a select profile of some postcolonial Asian nations and their current ratings of freedom from the 2017 Freedom in the Worldreport.
Information about Freedom House (https://freedomhouse.org) used in this supplement can be found on their website under “About Us” (https://freedomhouse.org/about-us) and “Reports” (https://freedomhouse.org/reports). To view Freedom in the World 2017on the Freedom House website, visit https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/freedom-world-2017.

 

The AAS Secretariat is closed on Friday, July 3, 2020 in observance of the Fourth of July holiday.