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Critérios, indicadores e metodologias para avaliar a democracia em países

Os que fazem levantamentos sobre a democracia (como a Economist Intelligence Unit e a Freedom House) adotam diferentes critérios. A EIU considera cinco indicadores: Processo Eleitoral e Pluralismo, Funcionamento do Governo, Participação Política, Cultura Política e Liberdades Civis. A FH considera dois indicadores básicos: Direitos Políticos e Liberdades Civis. Para saber como são compostos esses indicadores leia este texto.

Há, é claro, muitos problemas com tudo isso. Não há um modelo de democracia que possa servir de referência para se dizer o que é e o que não é democracia. Toda vez que o processo de democratização consegue, mesmo intermitentemente, prosseguir, dizemos que estamos numa democracia, devendo-se entender por isso o seguinte: estamos conseguindo tornar modos de regulação de conflitos menos autocráticos e padrões de organização menos hierárquicos, nada garantindo, porém, que vamos definitivamente para o céu: sempre pode haver retrocesso quando – no caso da democracia dos modernos (a democracia representativa realmente existente nos países que a adotam) – restringe-se a liberdade, viola-se a publicidade, frauda-se a eletividade, falsifica-se a rotatividade, descumpre-se a legalidade e degenera-se a institucionalidade. Quando algumas dessas coisas são feitas a partir de certo grau que começa a inviabilizar a continuidade do processo de democratização, dizemos que não estamos mais numa democracia (ou seja, que a democracia que temos não está mais conformando-se como um ambiente favorável a caminharmos em direção às democracias que queremos). Mas os limites não são fixos.

Outro problema é o seguinte. A democracia realmente existente na atualidade é a democracia reinventada pelos modernos como democracia representativa. O problema é que ela é coetânea à construção da forma Estado-nação. E como o Estado (qualquer forma de Estado) é um fruto da guerra (no caso do Estado-nação europeu moderno, da paz de Westfália), a democracia acabou servindo como modo de administração política de uma estrutura geneticamente guerreira, para tentar mitigar o Leviatã com a fórmula do Estado democrático de direito.

Então qual é realmente o problema? O problema é que a democracia não deveria valer apenas para isso, para domesticar Estados. A democracia é um processo de desconstituição de autocracia onde quer que ela se manifeste (nas famílias, escolas, igrejas, corporações sindicais, organizações sociais, universidades, empresas – além, é claro, de órgãos estatais). Ademais, não é só o Estado que é ou não é democrático em alguma medida e sim também as demais estruturas sociais. Ou medimos tudo isso, ou não medimos o que realmente importa: em que medida comportamentos que refratam a regulação de conflitos de modo mais autocrático do que democrático se reproduzem na sociedade.

Considerando que a democracia que temos (a democracia representativa, realizada em Estados-nações) é condição necessária para alcançar as democracias que queremos (ou, em outras palavras, para a continuidade do processo de democratização, tanto do Estado quanto da sociedade) seria necessário, em primeiro lugar, definir um novo índice para avaliar o grau de realização da democracia representativa em Estados-nações do ponto de vista da continuidade do processo de democratização.

Esse índice poderia se chamar de índice de legitimidade da democracia realmente existente. Para calculá-lo poderíamos partir dos critérios de Ralf Dahrendorf (modificados por investigadores do Projeto Democracia): liberdade, eletividade, publicidade (ou transparência e, no limite, accountability), rotatividade (ou alternância), legalidade e institucionalidade. Dever-se-ia construir indicadores para cada um desses atributos ou características da democracia representativa.

Em segundo lugar deveria ser construído um novo índice para medir o grau de democratização da sociedade. Este é um desafio e tanto, pois é muito difícil medir o capital social (que é, praticamente, o único conceito político diretamente relacionável à morfologia e a dinâmica social). É tudo muito problemático porque o padrão de organização não guarda nenhuma relação de causação com o modo de regulação de conflitos, ainda que haja condicionamentos recíprocos entre ambos.

Segundo o primeiro índice, os países poderiam ser classificados segundo os seguintes tipos:

√ Autocracias (ditaduras, regimes autoritários, not-free countries)

√ Regimes em transição autocratizante (protoditaduras)

√ Regimes em transição democratizante (protodemocracias)

√ Democracias formais parasitadas por governos (autocráticos ou autocratizantes) manipuladores (por exemplo, por governos populistas e neopopulistas)

√ Democracias formais representativas não-plenas (flaweds)

√ Democracias formais representativas plenas

O segundo índice permitiria calcular a probabilidade da mudança de status de um nível da classificação para outro. No caso das democracias formais representativas plenas, poder-se-ia avaliar a medida em que o regime político se constitui como ambiente favorável à realização de ensaios de democracias substantivas, mais interativas (tanto no âmbito do Estado, quanto no âmbito da sociedade).

Estes são desafios colocados para os que investigam a democracia, sobretudo do ponto de vista das redes, ou seja, para os que têm uma visão social da democracia.

Se os critérios não são inequívocos, cada qual adotando os indicadores que mais se ajustam à sua visão de mundo, a democracia não se reduz apenas a um discurso legitimatório do tipo de regime que se quer manter ou alcançar?

Não. Por mais distintos que sejam os critérios adotados por diferentes pesquisadores da democracia, todos concordariam sobre o seguinte: os critérios da legitimidade democrática de Dahrendorf não podem ser violados em países que adotam regimes considerados democráticos. Repetindo (a versão modificada pelo Projeto Democracia):

Liberdade,
Eletividade,
Publicidade (ou transparência e, no limite, accountability),
Rotatividade (ou alternância),
Legalidade, e
Institucionalidade.

Assim, quando autocratas – como Hitler ou Stalin – dizem (disseram) que estão (estavam) aplicando a “verdadeira democracia”, nenhum estudioso sério do tema (na verdade, nenhum democrata) poderia levar tal alegação a sério. Algum dos critérios (em alguns casos, todos os critérios) acima foram (ou serão) violados.

Numa democracia, seja qual for o critério adotado por diferentes centros de pesquisa:

1) A liberdade (de ir e vir, de imprensa, no ciberespaço, de reunião e de manifestação, de organização social e política e, inclusive, de empreender e ter propriedades) não pode ser violada, nem restringida (sob qualquer pretexto);

2) A eletividade (o direito de eleger seus representantes para governar ou elaborar as leis – executivo e legislativo – e de ser eleito para essas funções) não pode ser violada, restringida ou fraudada. Aqui cabe um comentário: esse critério é necessário, porém não suficiente para caracterizar um regime como democrático (democracia não é eleição: a maioria das ditaduras que remanescem hoje em dia promove eleições);

3) A publicidade ou transparência (capaz de ensejar uma efetiva accountability), ou seja, a inexistência de opacidade e de segredo nos negócios de Estado, deve estar garantida por mecanismos eficazes;

4) A rotatividade ou alternância também devem ser observadas: os mandatos constituídos por representação ou nomeação devem ser limitados no tempo, não podendo um governante se prorrogar no posto (mesmo que a reeleição para vários mandatos consecutivos ou alternados seja inserida na Constituição, como vem ocorrendo nos regimes bolivarianos);

5) A legalidade deve ser mantida, o que exige um judiciário independente e um conjunto de leis democraticamente aprovadas (inclusive uma Constituição elaborada por um parlamento constituinte legitimamente eleito). É o chamado Império da Lei, expressão utilizada para dizer que não há império de uma pessoa e que os habitantes do país são cidadãos e não súditos de ninguém;

6) A institucionalidade, garantida por um conjunto de instituições que funcionem com a sua dinâmica própria e tenham proteções suficientes para não serem invadidas por interesses empresariais, corporativos ou partidários e político-eleitorais. Isso significa, por exemplo, não transformar as instituições em palcos de disputa de hegemonia, onde um partido ou coligação de partidos tentem conquistar maioria para converter essas instituições em correias de transmissão de suas vontades ou diretivas políticas, como ocorre nos processos de aparelhamento do Estado (com a indicação de militantes partidários para ocupar os cargos das diversas instituições).

Vejamos agora como o assunto ainda é tratado pela The Economist Intelligence Unit e pela Freedom House.

Democracy Index | The Economist Intelligence Unit

Defining and measuring democracy

There is no consensus on how to measure democracy. Definitions of democracy are contested, and there is a lively debate on the subject. The issue is not only of academic interest. For example, although democracy promotion is high on the list of US foreign-policy priorities, there is no consensus within the US government as to what constitutes a democracy. As one observer put it: “The world’s only superpower is rhetorically and militarily promoting a political system that remains undefined—and it is staking its credibility and treasure on that pursuit,” (Horowitz, 2006, p. 114).

Although the terms “freedom” and “democracy” are often used interchangeably, the two are not synonymous. Democracy can be seen as a set of practices and principles that institutionalise, and thereby, ultimately, protect freedom. Even if a consensus on precise definitions has proved elusive, most observers today would agree that, at a minimum, the fundamental features of a democracy include government based on majority rule and the consent of the governed; the existence of free and fair elections; the protection of minority rights; and respect for basic human rights. Democracy presupposes equality before the law, due process and political pluralism. A question arises as to whether reference to these basic features is sufficient for a satisfactory concept of democracy. As discussed below, there is a question as to how far the definition may need to be widened.

Some insist that democracy is, necessarily, a dichotomous concept: a state is either democratic or not. But most measures now appear to adhere to a continuous concept, with the possibility of varying degrees of democracy. At present, the best-known measure is produced by the US-based Freedom House organisation. The average of its indexes, on a 1 to 7 scale, of political freedom (based on 10 indicators) and of civil liberties (based on 15 indicators) is often taken to be a measure of democracy.

The Freedom House measure is available for all countries, and stretches back to the early 1970s. It has been used heavily in empirical investigations of the relationship between democracy and various economic and social variables. The so-called Polity Project provides, for a smaller number of countries, measures of democracy and regime types, based on rather minimalist definitions, stretching back to the 19th century. These have also been used in empirical work.

Freedom House also measures a narrower concept, that of “electoral democracy”. Democracies in this minimal sense share at least one common, essential characteristic. Positions of political power are filled through regular, free and fair elections between competing parties, and it is possible for an incumbent government to be turned out of office through elections. Freedom House’s criteria for an electoral democracy include:

1) A competitive, multi-party political system.

2) Universal adult suffrage.

3) Regularly contested elections conducted on the basis of secret ballots, reasonable ballot security and the absence of massive voter fraud.

4) Significant public access of major political parties to the electorate through the media and through generally open political campaigning.

The Freedom House definition of political freedom is more demanding (although not much) than its criteria for electoral democracy—that is, it classifies more countries as electoral democracies than as “free” (some “partly free” countries are also categorised as “electoral democracies”). At the end of 2015, 125 out of 193 states were classified as “electoral democracies”; of these, on a more stringent criterion, 89 states were classified as “free”. The Freedom House political-freedom measure covers the electoral process and political pluralism and, to a lesser extent, the functioning of government and a few aspects of participation.

A key difference in measures is between “thin”, or minimalist, and “thick”, or wider, concepts of democracy (Coppedge, 2005). The thin concepts correspond closely to an immensely influential academic definition of democracy, that of Dahl’s concept of polyarchy (Dahl, 1970). Polyarchy has eight components, or institutional requirements: almost all adult citizens have the right to vote; almost all adult citizens are eligible for public office; political leaders have the right to compete for votes; elections are free and fair; all citizens are free to form and join political parties and other organisations; all citizens are free to express themselves on all political issues; diverse sources of information about politics exist and are protected by law; and government policies depend on votes and other expressions of preference.

The Freedom House electoral democracy measure is a thin concept. Its measure of democracy based on political rights and civil liberties is “thicker” than the measure of “electoral democracy”. Other definitions of democracy have broadened to include aspects of society and political culture in democratic societies.

The Economist Intelligence Unit measure

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s index is based on the view that measures of democracy which reflect the state of political freedoms and civil liberties are not thick enough. They do not encompass sufficiently, or, in some cases, at all, the features that determine how substantive democracy is.

Freedom is an essential component of democracy, but not, in itself, sufficient. In existing measures, the elements of political participation and functioning of government are taken into account only in a marginal and formal way.

Our Democracy Index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. The five categories are interrelated and form a coherent conceptual whole. The condition of holding free and fair competitive elections, and satisfying related aspects of political freedom, is clearly the sine qua non of all definitions.

All modern definitions, except the most minimalist, also consider civil liberties to be a vital component of what is often called “liberal democracy”. The principle of the protection of basic human rights is widely accepted. It is embodied in constitutions throughout the world, as well as in the UN.

Charter and international agreements such as the Helsinki Final Act (the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe). Basic human rights include freedom of speech, expression and of the press; freedom of religion; freedom of assembly and association; and the right to due judicial process. All democracies are systems in which citizens freely make political decisions by majority rule. But rule by the majority is not necessarily democratic. In a democracy, majority rule must be combined with guarantees of individual human rights and the rights of minorities. Most measures also include aspects of the minimum quality of functioning of government. If democratically based decisions cannot be or are not implemented, then the concept of democracy is not very meaningful.

Democracy is more than the sum of its institutions. A democratic political culture is also crucial for the legitimacy, smooth functioning and, ultimately, the sustainability of democracy. A culture of passivity and apathy—an obedient and docile citizenry—is not consistent with democracy. The electoral process periodically divides the population into winners and losers. A successful democratic political culture implies that the losing parties and their supporters accept the judgment of the voters and allow for the peaceful transfer of power.

Participation is also a necessary component, as apathy and abstention are enemies of democracy.

Even measures that focus predominantly on the processes of representative, liberal democracy include (albeit inadequately or insufficiently) some aspects of participation. In a democracy, government is only one element in a social fabric of many and varied institutions, political organisations and associations. Citizens cannot be required to take part in the political process, and they are free to express their dissatisfaction by not participating. However, a healthy democracy requires the active, freely chosen participation of citizens in public life. Democracies flourish when citizens are willing to participate in public debate, elect representatives and join political parties. Without this broad, sustaining participation, democracy begins to wither and become the preserve of small, select groups.

At the same time, even our thicker, more inclusive and wider measure of democracy does not include other aspects—which some authors argue are also crucial components of democracy—such as levels of economic and social wellbeing. Therefore, our Index respects the dominant tradition that holds that a variety of social and economic outcomes can be consistent with political democracy, which is a separate concept.

Methodology

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s index of democracy, on a 0 to 10 scale, is based on the ratings for 60 indicators, grouped into five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. Each category has a rating on a 0 to 10 scale, and the overall Index is the simple average of the five category indexes.

The category indexes are based on the sum of the indicator scores in the category, converted to a 0 to 10 scale. Adjustments to the category scores are made if countries do not score a 1 in the following critical areas for democracy:

  1. Whether national elections are free and fair.
  2. The security of voters.
  3. The influence of foreign powers on government.
  4. The capability of the civil service to implement policies.

If the scores for the first three questions are 0 (or 0.5), one point (0.5 point) is deducted from the index in the relevant category (either the electoral process and pluralism or the functioning of government). If the score for 4 is 0, one point is deducted from the functioning of government category index.

The index values are used to place countries within one of four types of regime:

  1. Full democracies: scores greater than 8
  2. Flawed democracies: scores greater than 6, and less than or equal to 8
  3. Hybrid regimes: scores greater than 4, and less than or equal to 6
  4. Authoritarian regimes: scores less than or equal to 4

Full democracies: Countries in which not only basic political freedoms and civil liberties are respected, but which also tend to be underpinned by a political culture conducive to the flourishing of democracy. The functioning of government is satisfactory. Media are independent and diverse. There is an effective system of checks and balances. The judiciary is independent and judicial decisions are enforced. There are only limited problems in the functioning of democracies.

Flawed democracies: These countries also have free and fair elections and, even if there are problems (such as infringements on media freedom), basic civil liberties are respected. However, there are significant weaknesses in other aspects of democracy, including problems in governance, an underdeveloped political culture and low levels of political participation.

Hybrid regimes: Elections have substantial irregularities that often prevent them from being both free and fair. Government pressure on opposition parties and candidates may be common. Serious weaknesses are more prevalent than in flawed democracies—in political culture, functioning of government and political participation. Corruption tends to be widespread and the rule of law is weak. Civil society is weak. Typically, there is harassment of and pressure on journalists, and the judiciary is not independent.

Authoritarian regimes: In these states, state political pluralism is absent or heavily circumscribed. Many countries in this category are outright dictatorships. Some formal institutions of democracy may exist, but these have little substance. Elections, if they do occur, are not free and fair. There is disregard for abuses and infringements of civil liberties. Media are typically state-owned or controlled by groups connected to the ruling regime. There is repression of criticism of the government and pervasive censorship. There is no independent judiciary.

The scoring system

We use a combination of a dichotomous and a three-point scoring system for the 60 indicators. A dichotomous 1-0 scoring system (1 for a yes and 0 for a no answer) is not without problems, but it has several distinct advantages over more refined scoring scales (such as the often-used 1-5 or 1-7). For many indicators, the possibility of a 0.5 score is introduced, to capture “grey areas”, where a simple yes (1) or no (0) is problematic, with guidelines as to when that should be used. Consequently, for many indicators there is a three-point scoring system, which represents a compromise between simple dichotomous scoring and the use of finer scales.

The problems of 1-5 or 1-7 scoring scales are numerous. For most indicators under such systems, it is extremely difficult to define meaningful and comparable criteria or guidelines for each score. This can lead to arbitrary, spurious and non-comparable scorings. For example, a score of 2 for one country may be scored a 3 in another, and so on. Alternatively, one expert might score an indicator for a particular country in a different way to another expert. This contravenes a basic principle of measurement, that of so-called reliability—the degree to which a measurement procedure produces the same measurements every time, regardless of who is performing it. Two- and three-point systems do not guarantee reliability, but make it more likely.

Second, comparability between indicator scores and aggregation into a multi-dimensional index appears more valid with a two- or three-point scale for each indicator (the dimensions being aggregated are similar across indicators). By contrast, with a 1-5 system, the scores are more likely to mean different things across the indicators (for example, a 2 for one indicator may be more comparable to a 3 or 4 for another indicator). The problems of a 1-5 or 1-7 system are magnified when attempting to extend the index to many regions and countries.

Features of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Index

Public opinion surveys

A crucial, differentiating aspect of our measure is that, in addition to experts’ assessments, we use, where available, public-opinion surveys—mainly the World Values Survey. Indicators based on the surveys predominate heavily in the political participation and political culture categories, and a few are used in the civil liberties and functioning of government categories.

In addition to the World Values Survey, other sources that can be leveraged include the Eurobarometer surveys, Gallup polls, Asian Barometer, Latin American Barometer, Afrobarometer and national surveys. In the case of countries for which survey results are missing, survey results for similar countries and expert assessment are used to fill in gaps.

Participation and voter turnout

After increasing for many decades, there has been a trend of decreasing voter turnout in most established democracies since the 1960s. Low turnout may be due to disenchantment, but it can also be a sign of contentment. Many, however, see low turnout as undesirable, and there is much debate over the factors that affect turnout and how to increase it.

A high turnout is generally seen as evidence of the legitimacy of the current system. Contrary to widespread belief, there is, in fact, a close correlation between turnout and overall measures of democracy—that is, developed, consolidated democracies have, with very few exceptions, higher turnouts (generally above 70%) than less established democracies.

The legislative and executive branches

The appropriate balance between these is much disputed in political theory. In our model, the clear predominance of the legislature is rated positively, as there is a very strong correlation between legislative dominance and measures of overall democracy.

The model

I Electoral process and pluralism

1. Are elections for the national legislature and head of government free?
Consider whether elections are competitive in that electors are free to vote and are offered a range of choices.
1: Essentially unrestricted conditions for the presentation of candidates (for example, no bans on major parties)
0.5: There are some restrictions on the electoral process
0: A single-party system or major impediments exist (for example, bans on a major party or candidate)

2. Are elections for the national legislature and head of government fair?
1: No major irregularities in the voting process
0.5: Significant irregularities occur (intimidation, fraud), but do not affect significantly the overall outcome
0: Major irregularities occur and affect the outcome
Score 0 if score for question 1 is 0.

3. Are municipal elections both free and fair?
1: Are free and fair
0.5: Are free but not fair
0: Are neither free nor fair

4. Is there universal suffrage for all adults?
Bar generally accepted exclusions (for example, non-nationals; criminals; members of armed forces in some countries).
1: Yes
0: No

5. Can citizens cast their vote free of signifi cant threats to their security from state or non state bodies?
1: Yes
0: No

6. Do laws provide for broadly equal campaigning opportunities?
1: Yes
0.5: Yes formally, but in practice opportunities are limited for some candidates
0: No

7. Is the process of financing political parties transparent and generally accepted?
1: Yes
0.5: Not fully transparent
0: No

8. Following elections, are the constitutional mechanisms for the orderly transfer of power from one government to another clear, established and accepted?

1: All three criteria are fulfilled
0.5: Two of the three criteria are fulfi lled
0: Only one or none of the criteria is satisfied

9. Are citizens free to form political parties that are independent of the government?
1. Yes
0.5: There are some restrictions
0: No

10. Do opposition parties have a realistic prospect of achieving government?
1: Yes
0.5: There is a dominant twoparty system in which other political forces never have any effective chance of taking part in national government
0: No

11. Is potential access to public office open to all citizens?
1: Yes
0.5: Formally unrestricted, but in practice restricted for some groups, or for citizens from some parts of the country
0: No

12. Are citizens free to form political and civic organisations, free of state interference and surveillance?
1: Yes
0.5: Offi cially free, but subject to some restrictions or interference
0: No

II Functioning of government

13. Do freely elected representatives determine government policy?
1: Yes
0.5: Exercise some meaningful influence
0: No

14. Is the legislature the supreme political body, with a clear supremacy over other branches of government?
1: Yes
0: No

15. Is there an effective system of checks and balances on the exercise of government authority?
1: Yes
0.5: Yes, but there are some serious flaws
0: No

16. Government is free of undue influence by the military or the security services.
1: Yes
0.5: Influence is low, but the defence minister is not a civilian. If the current risk of a military coup is extremely low, but the country has a recent history of military rule or coups
0: No

17. Foreign powers do not determine important government functions or policies.
1: Yes
0.5: Some features of a protectorate
0: No (signifi cant presence of foreign troops; important decisions taken by foreign power; country is a protectorate)

18. Special economic, religious or other powerful domestic groups do not exercise signifi cant political power, parallel to democratic institutions?
1: Yes
0.5: Exercise some meaningful influence
0: No

19. Are sufficient mechanisms and institutions in place for assuring government accountability to the electorate in between elections?
1: Yes
0.5. Yes, but serious flaws exist
0: No

20. Does the government’s authority extend over the full territory of the country?
1: Yes
0: No

21. Is the functioning of government open and transparent, with sufficient public access to information?
1: Yes
0.5: Yes, but serious flaws exist
0: No

22. How pervasive is corruption?
1: Corruption is not a major problem
0.5: Corruption is a significant issue
0: Pervasive corruption exists

23. Is the civil service willing and capable of implementing government policy?
1: Yes
0.5. Yes, but serious flaws exist
0: No

24. Popular perceptions of the extent to which they have free choice and control over their lives
1: High
0.5: Moderate
0: Low
If available, from World Values Survey % of people who think that they have a great deal of choice/control
1 if more than 70%
0.5 if 50-70%
0 if less than 50%

25. Public confidence in government.
1: High
0.5: Moderate
0: Low
If available, from World Values Survey % of people who have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in government
1 if more than 40%
0.5 if 25-40%
0 if less than 25%

26. Public confidence in political parties.
1: High
0.5: Moderate
0: Low
If available, from World Values Survey % of people who have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence
1 if more than 40%
0.5 if 25-40%
0 if less than 25%

III Political participation

27. Voter participation/turnout for national elections. (average turnout in parliamentary and/or presidential elections since 2000. Turnout as proportion of population of voting age).
1 if consistently above 70%
0.5 if between 50% and 70%
0 if below 50%
If voting is obligatory, score 0. Score 0 if scores for questions 1 or 2 is 0.

28. Do ethnic, religious and other minorities have a reasonable degree of autonomy and voice in the political process?
1: Yes
0.5: Yes, but serious flaws exist
0: No

29. Women in parliament. % of members of parliament who are women
1 if more than 20% of seats
0.5 if 10-20%
0 if less than 10%

30. Extent of political participation. Membership of political parties and political non governmental organisations.
1 if over 7% of population for either
0.5 if 4% to 7%
0 if under 4%.
If participation is forced, score 0.

31. Citizens’ engagement with politics.
1: High
0.5: Moderate
0: Low
If available, from World Values Survey % of people who are very or somewhat interested in politics
1 if over 60%
0.5 if 40% to 60%
0 if less than 40%

32. The preparedness of population to take part in lawful demonstrations.
1: High
0.5: Moderate
0: Low
If available, from World Values Survey % of people who have taken part in or would consider attending lawful demonstrations
1 if over 40%
0.5 if 30% to 40%
0 if less than 30%

33. Adult literacy.
1 if over 90%
0.5 if 70% to 90%
0 if less than 70%

34. Extent to which adult population shows an interest in and follows politics in the news.
1: High
0.5: Moderate
0: Low
If available, from World Values Survey % of population that follows politics in the news media (print, TV or radio) every day
1 if over 50%
0.5 if 30% to 50%
0 if less than 30%

35. The authorities make a serious effort to promote political participation.
1: Yes
0.5: Some attempts
0: No
Consider the role of the education system, and other promotional efforts. Consider measures to facilitate voting by members of the diaspora. If participation is forced, score 0.

IV Democratic political culture

36. Is there a sufficient degree of societal consensus and cohesion to underpin a stable, functioning democracy?
1: Yes
0.5: Yes, but some serious doubts and risks
0: No

37. Perceptions of leadership; proportion of the population that desires a strong leader who bypasses parliament and elections.
1: Low
0.5: Moderate
0: High
If available, from World Values Survey % of people who think it would be good or fairly good to have a strong leader who does not bother with parliament and elections
1 if less than 30%
0.5 if 30% to 50%
0 if more than 50%

38. Perceptions of military rule; proportion of the population that would prefer military.
1: Low
0.5: Moderate
0: High
If available, from World Values Survey % of people who think it would be very or fairly good to have army rule
1 if less than 10%
0.5 if 10% to 30%
0 if more than 30%

39. Perceptions of rule by experts or technocratic government; proportion of the population that would prefer rule by experts or technocrats.
1: Low
0.5: Moderate
0: High
If available, from World Values Survey % of people who think it would be very or fairly good to have experts, not government, make decisions for the country
1 if less than 50%
0.5 if 50% to 70%
0 if more than 70%

40. Perception of democracy and public order; proportion of the population that believes that democracies are not good at maintaining public order.
1: Low
0.5: Moderate
0: High
If available, from World Values Survey % of people who disagree with the view that democracies are not good at maintaining order
1 if more than 70%
0.5 if 50% to 70%
0 if less than 50%

41. Perception of democracy and the economic system; proportion of the population that believes that democracy benefi ts economic performance. If available, from World Values Survey % of people who disagree with the view that the economic system runs badly in democracies
1 if more than 80%
0.5 if 60% to 80%
0 if less than 60%

42. Degree of popular support for democracy.
1: High
0.5: Moderate
0: Low
If available, from World Values Survey % of people who agree or strongly agree that democracy is better than any other form of government
1 if more than 90%
0.5 if 75% to 90%
0 if less than 75%

43. There is a strong tradition of the separation of church and state.
1: Yes
0.5: Some residual influence of church on state
0: No

V Civil liberties

44. Is there a free electronic media?
1: Yes
0.5: Pluralistic, but state-controlled media are heavily favoured. One or two private owners dominate the media
0: No

45. Is there a free print media?
1: Yes
0.5: Pluralistic, but state-controlled media are heavily favoured. There is high degree of concentration of private ownership of national newspapers
0: No

46. Is there freedom of expression and protest (bar only generally accepted restrictions such as banning advocacy of violence)?
1: Yes
0.5: Minority viewpoints are subject to some offi cial harassment. Libel laws restrict heavily scope for free expression
0: No

47. Is media coverage robust? Is there open and free discussion of public issues, with a reasonable diversity of opinions?
1: Yes
0.5: There is formal freedom but high degree of conformity of opinion, including through self-censorship, or discouragement of minority or marginal views
0: No

48. Are there political restrictions on access to the internet?
1: No
0.5: Some moderate restrictions
0: Yes

49. Are citizens free to form professional organisations and trade unions?
1: Yes
0.5: Officially free, but subject to some restrictions
0: No

50. Do institutions provide citizens with the opportunity to successfully petition government to redress grievances?
1: Yes
0.5: Some opportunities
0: No

51. The use of torture by the state
1: Torture is not used
0: Torture is used

52. The degree to which the judiciary is independent of government influence. Consider the views of international legal and judicial watchdogs. Have the courts ever issued an important judgment against the government, or a senior government official?
1: High
0.5: Moderate
0: Low

53. The degree of religious tolerance and freedom of religious expression. Are all religions permitted to operate freely, or are some restricted? Is the right to worship permitted both publicly and privately? Do some religious groups feel intimidated by others, even if the law requires equality and protection?
1: High
0.5: Moderate
0: Low

54. The degree to which citizens are treated equally under the law. Consider whether favoured members of groups are spared prosecution under the law.
1: High
0.5: Moderate
0: Low

55. Do citizens enjoy basic security?
1: Yes
0.5: Crime is so pervasive as to endanger security for large segments
0: No

56. Extent to which private property rights protected and private business is free from undue government influence.
1: High
0.5: Moderate
0: Low

57. Extent to which citizens enjoy personal freedoms. Consider gender equality, right to travel, choice of work and study.
1: High
0.5: Moderate
0: Low

58. Popular perceptions on human rights protection; proportion of the population that think that basic human rights are well-protected.
1: High
0.5: Moderate
0: Low
If available, from World Values Survey % of people who think that human rights are respected in their country
1 if more than 70%
0.5 if 50% to 70%
0 if less than 50%

59. There is no significant discrimination on the basis of people’s race, colour or creed.
1: Yes
0.5: Yes, but some significant exceptions
0: No

60. Extent to which the government invokes new risks and threats as an excuse for curbing civil liberties.
1: Low
0.5: Moderate
0: High

References

Acemoglu, Daron, Simon Johnson, James A. Robinson, and Pierre Yared (2005), “Income and democracy”, NBER Working Paper No. 11205, March.

Coppedge, Michael (2005), “Defining and measuring democracy”, Working paper, International Political Science Association, April.

Dahl, Robert (1970), “Polyarchy”, New Haven, Yale University Press.

Freedom House, various, www.freedomhouse.org.

Horowitz, Irving Louis (2006) “The struggle for democracy”, National Interest, spring.

Rigobon, Roberto and Dani Rodrik (2005), “Rule of law, democracy, openness, and income: estimating the interrelationships”, Economics of Transition, Volume 13.

Cf.: Democracy_Index_2017.pdf

 

Freedom in the World 2018 | Freedom House

Methodology

Introduction

Freedom in the World is an annual global report on political rights and civil liberties, composed of numerical ratings and descriptive texts for each country and a select group of territories. The 2018 edition covers developments in 195 countries and 14 territories from January 1, 2017, through December 31, 2017.

The report’s methodology is derived in large measure from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948. Freedom in the World is based on the premise that these standards apply to all countries and territories, irrespective of geographical location, ethnic or religious composition, or level of economic development. Freedom in the World operates from the assumption that freedom for all people is best achieved in liberal democratic societies.

Freedom in the World assesses the real-world rights and freedoms enjoyed by individuals, rather than governments or government performance per se. Political rights and civil liberties can be affected by both state and nonstate actors, including insurgents and other armed groups.

Freedom House does not believe that legal guarantees of rights are sufficient for on-the-ground fulfillment of those rights. While both laws and actual practices are factored into scoring decisions, greater emphasis is placed on implementation.

Territories are selected for assessment in Freedom in the World based on the following criteria: whether the area is governed separately from the rest of the relevant country or countries, either de jure or de facto; whether conditions on the ground for political rights and civil liberties are significantly different from those in the rest of the relevant country or countries, meaning a separate assessment is likely to yield different ratings; whether the territory is the subject of enduring popular or diplomatic pressure for autonomy, independence, or incorporation into another country; whether the territory’s boundaries are sufficiently stable to allow an assessment of conditions for the year under review, and whether they can be expected to remain stable in future years so that year-on-year comparisons are possible; and whether the territory is large and/or politically significant. Freedom House typically takes no position on territorial or separatist disputes as such, focusing instead on the level of political rights and civil liberties in a given geographical area.

History of Freedom in the World

Freedom House’s first year-end reviews of freedom began in the 1950s as the Balance Sheet of Freedom. This modest report provided assessments of political trends and their implications for individual freedom. In 1972, Freedom House launched a new, more comprehensive annual study called The Comparative Study of Freedom. Raymond Gastil, a Harvard-trained specialist in regional studies from the University of Washington in Seattle, developed the methodology, which assigned political rights and civil liberties ratings to 151 countries and 45 territories and categorized them as Free, Partly Free, or Not Free. The findings appeared each year in Freedom House’s bimonthly journal Freedom at Issue (later titled Freedom Review). Freedom in the World first appeared in book form in 1978 and included short narratives for each country and territory rated in the study, as well as a series of essays by leading scholars on related issues. Freedom in the World continued to be produced by Gastil until 1989, when a larger team of in-house analysts was established. In the mid-1990s, the expansion of the country and territory narratives necessitated the hiring of outside analysts—a group of regional experts from the academic, media, and human rights communities—and the project has continued to grow in size and scope in the years since.

A number of modest updates have been made to the methodology over time to adapt to evolving ideas about political rights and civil liberties. These changes are introduced incrementally in order to ensure the comparability of the ratings from year to year.

Methodology Review, 2016-17

In 2016-17, Freedom House engaged a team of external experts to assist the staff in a thorough review of the Freedom in the World methodology. This represented the first such review since 2002. Approximately 20 experts with global, regional, and issue-based expertise participated in the exercise. A list of methodology review committee members may be found here.

Following the review, the methodology’s basic structure and most methodology questions remained the same. The review therefore does not affect the integrity of the Freedom in the World time-series data. Notable improvements include greater precision in the definition of each indicator, additional guidance on the handling of various real-world situations, and further detail on the interplay of new technological developments and fundamental freedoms. The review also led to the important step of including gender-related guidance questions under all relevant indicators.

One structural change that affected a very small number of countries was the elimination of Additional Discretionary Political Rights Question A. This indicator had awarded points to traditional monarchies that had no political parties or significant electoral processes but provided for some form of consultation with the public. Such consultation will now be addressed elsewhere in the methodology.

The revised methodology questions, appended below, were first used for the 2018 edition of Freedom in the World.

Research and Ratings Review Process

Freedom in the World is produced each year by a team of in-house and external analysts and expert advisers from the academic, think tank, and human rights communities. The 2018 edition involved more than 100 analysts and more than 30 advisers. The analysts, who prepare the draft reports and scores, use a broad range of sources, including news articles, academic analyses, reports from nongovernmental organizations, individual professional contacts, and on-the-ground research. The analysts score countries and territories based on the conditions and events within their borders during the coverage period. The analysts’ proposed scores are discussed and defended at a series of review meetings, organized by region and attended by Freedom House staff and a panel of expert advisers. The final scores represent the consensus of the analysts, advisers, and staff. Although an element of subjectivity is unavoidable in such an enterprise, the ratings process emphasizes methodological consistency, intellectual rigor, and balanced and unbiased judgments.

Scoring Process

Freedom in the World uses a three-tiered system consisting of scoresratings, and status. The complete list of the questions used in the scoring process, and the tables for converting scores to ratings and ratings to status, appear at the end of this essay.

Scores – A country or territory is awarded 0 to 4 points for each of 10 political rights indicators and 15 civil liberties indicators, which take the form of questions; a score of 0 represents the smallest degree of freedom and 4 the greatest degree of freedom. The political rights questions are grouped into three subcategories: Electoral Process (3 questions), Political Pluralism and Participation (4), and Functioning of Government (3). The civil liberties questions are grouped into four subcategories: Freedom of Expression and Belief (4 questions), Associational and Organizational Rights (3), Rule of Law (4), and Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights (4). The political rights section also contains an additional discretionary question. For the discretionary question, a score of 1 to 4 may be subtracted, as applicable (the worse the situation, the more points may be subtracted). The highest overall score that can be awarded for political rights is 40 (or a score of 4 for each of the 10 questions). The highest overall score that can be awarded for civil liberties is 60 (or a score of 4 for each of the 15 questions). The scores from the previous edition are used as a benchmark for the current year under review. A score is typically changed only if there has been a real-world development during the year that warrants a decline or improvement (e.g., a crackdown on the media, the country’s first free and fair elections), though gradual changes in conditions—in the absence of a signal event—are occasionally registered in the scores.

Political Rights and Civil Liberties Ratings – A country or territory is assigned two ratings—one for political rights and one for civil liberties—based on its total scores for the political rights and civil liberties questions. Each rating of 1 to 7, with 1 representing the greatest degree of freedom and 7 the smallest degree of freedom, corresponds to a specific range of total scores (see tables 1 and 2).

Free, Partly Free, Not Free Status – The average of a country or territory’s political rights and civil liberties ratings is called the Freedom Rating, and it is this figure that determines the status of Free (1.0 to 2.5), Partly Free (3.0 to 5.0), or Not Free (5.5 to 7.0) (see table 3).

Trend Arrows – A country or territory may be assigned an upward or downward trend arrow to highlight developments of major significance or concern. These developments may include a positive or negative shift over multiple years, an especially notable change in a single year, or an important event in a country that is particularly influential in its region or the world. A trend arrow must be linked to a specific change or changes in score, and cannot be assigned if the country had no net change in score. Most score changes do not warrant trend arrows. Decisions on whether a country or territory should receive a trend arrow are made by Freedom House staff, after consultation with the analyst and expert advisers.

Electoral Democracy – Freedom in the World assigns the designation “electoral democracy” to countries that have met certain minimum standards for political rights and civil liberties; territories are not included in the list of electoral democracies. According to the methodology, an electoral democracy designation requires a score of 7 or better in the Electoral Process subcategory, an overall political rights score of 20 or better, and an overall civil liberties score of 30 or better. (The civil liberties threshold was added as part of the 2016–17 methodology review.) Freedom House’s “electoral democracy” designation should not be equated with “liberal democracy,” a term that implies a more robust observance of democratic ideals and a wider array of civil liberties. In Freedom in the World, most Free countries could be considered liberal democracies, while some Partly Free countries might qualify as electoral, but not liberal, democracies.

Ratings and Status Characteristics

Political Rights

1 – Countries and territories with a rating of 1 enjoy a wide range of political rights, including free and fair elections. Candidates who are elected actually rule, political parties are competitive, the opposition plays an important role and enjoys real power, and the interests of minority groups are well represented in politics and government.

2 – Countries and territories with a rating of 2 have slightly weaker political rights than those with a rating of 1 because of such factors as political corruption, limits on the functioning of political parties and opposition groups, and flawed electoral processes.

3, 4, 5 – Countries and territories with a rating of 3, 4, or 5 either moderately protect almost all political rights or strongly protect some political rights while neglecting others. The same factors that undermine freedom in countries with a rating of 2 may also weaken political rights in those with a rating of 3, 4, or 5, but to a greater extent at each successive rating.

6 – Countries and territories with a rating of 6 have very restricted political rights. They are ruled by authoritarian regimes, often with leaders or parties that originally took power by force and have been in office for decades. They may hold tightly controlled elections and grant a few political rights, such as some representation or autonomy for minority groups.

– Countries and territories with a rating of 7 have few or no political rights because of severe government oppression, sometimes in combination with civil war. While some are draconian police states, others may lack an authoritative and functioning central government and suffer from extreme violence or rule by regional warlords.

Civil Liberties

1 – Countries and territories with a rating of 1 enjoy a wide range of civil liberties, including freedoms of expression, assembly, association, education, and religion. They have an established and generally fair legal system that ensures the rule of law (including an independent judiciary), allow free economic activity, and tend to strive for equality of opportunity for everyone, including women and minority groups.

2 – Countries and territories with a rating of 2 have slightly weaker civil liberties than those with a rating of 1 because of such factors as limits on media independence, restrictions on trade union activities, and discrimination against minority groups and women.

3, 4, 5 – Countries and territories with a rating of 3, 4, or 5 either moderately protect almost all civil liberties or strongly protect some civil liberties while neglecting others. The same factors that undermine freedom in countries with a rating of 2 may also weaken civil liberties in those with a rating of 3, 4, or 5, but to a greater extent at each successive rating.

6 – Countries and territories with a rating of 6 have very restricted civil liberties. They strongly limit the rights of expression and association and frequently hold political prisoners. They may allow a few civil liberties, such as some religious and social freedoms, some highly restricted private business activity, and some open and free private discussion.

7 – Countries and territories with a rating of 7 have few or no civil liberties. Their governments or powerful nonstate actors allow virtually no freedom of expression or association, do not protect the rights of detainees and prisoners, and often control most economic activity.

The gap between a country or territory’s political rights and civil liberties ratings is rarely more than two points. Politically oppressive states typically do not allow a well-developed civil society, for example, and it is difficult, if not impossible, to maintain political freedoms in the absence of civil liberties like press freedom and the rule of law.

Because the designations of Free, Partly Free, and Not Free each cover a broad swath of the available scores, countries or territories within any one category, especially those at either end of the range, can have quite different human rights situations. For example, those at the lowest end of the Free category (2 in political rights and 3 in civil liberties, or 3 in political rights and 2 in civil liberties) differ from those at the upper end of the Free group (1 for both political rights and civil liberties). Also, a designation of Free does not mean that a country or territory enjoys perfect freedom or lacks serious problems, only that it enjoys comparatively more freedom than those rated Partly Free or Not Free (and some others rated Free).

FREEDOM IN THE WORLD 2018
METHODOLOGY QUESTIONS

The bulleted subquestions are intended to provide guidance to the analysts regarding what issues are meant to be considered in scoring each checklist question. The analysts do not need to consider every subquestion during the scoring process, as the relevance of each varies from one place to another.

Political Rights (0–40 points)

A. Electoral Process (0–12 points)

A1.Was the current head of government or other chief national authority elected through free and fair elections? (Note: Heads of government chosen through various electoral frameworks, including direct elections for president, indirect elections for prime minister by parliament, and the electoral college system for electing presidents, are covered under this question. In cases of indirect elections for the head of government, the elections for the legislature or other body that chose the head of government, as well as the selection process for the head of government itself, should be taken into consideration. In systems where executive authority is formally divided between a head of state and a head of government, greater weight should be given to elections for the official with the most executive authority.)

  • Did independent, established, and reputable national and/or international election monitoring organizations judge the most recent election for head of government to have met democratic standards?
  • Was the most recent election for head of government called in a timely manner, without undue, politically motivated delays or an accelerated schedule that unfairly limited campaign opportunities for some candidates?
  • Was the registration of voters and candidates conducted in an accurate, timely, transparent, and nondiscriminatory manner?
  • Were women allowed to register and run as candidates?
  • Could all candidates make speeches, hold public meetings, and enjoy fair or proportionate media access throughout the campaign, free of intimidation?
  • Did voting take place by secret ballot?
  • Were voters able to vote for the candidate or party of their choice without undue pressure or intimidation?
  • Was the vote count transparent and timely, and were the official results reported honestly to the public?
  • Could election monitors from independent groups and representing parties/candidates watch the counting of votes to ensure its honesty?
  • Did voters have equal access to polling places and opportunities to cast ballots?
  • Has the most recently elected head of government been removed from office through violent, irregular, unconstitutional, or otherwise undemocratic means? (Note: Although a bloodless coup may ultimately lead to a positive outcome—particularly if it removes a head of government who was not freely and fairly elected—the new leader has not been freely and fairly elected and cannot be treated as such.)
  • Has the head of government’s electorally mandated term expired or been extended without new elections?
  • In cases where elections for regional, provincial, or state governors and/or other subnational executive officials differ significantly in conduct from national elections, does the conduct of the subnational elections reflect an opening toward improved political rights in the country, or, alternatively, a worsening of political rights?

A2. Were the current national legislative representatives elected through free and fair elections?

  • Did independent, established, and reputable domestic and/or international election monitoring organizations judge the most recent national legislative elections to have met democratic standards?
  • Were the most recent legislative elections called in a timely manner, without undue, politically motivated delays or an accelerated schedule that unfairly limited campaign opportunities for some parties or candidates?
  • Was the registration of voters and candidates conducted in an accurate, timely, transparent, and nondiscriminatory manner?
  • Were women allowed to register and run as candidates?
  • Could all candidates make speeches, hold public meetings, and enjoy fair or proportionate media access throughout the campaign, free of intimidation?
  • Did voting take place by secret ballot?
  • Were voters able to vote for the candidate or party of their choice without undue pressure or intimidation?
  • Was the vote count transparent and timely, and were the official results reported honestly to the public?
  • Could election monitors from independent groups and representing parties/candidates watch the counting of votes to ensure its honesty?
  • Have members of the most recently elected national legislature been removed from office through violent, irregular, unconstitutional, or otherwise undemocratic means?(Note: Although a bloodless coup may ultimately lead to a positive outcome—particularly if it removes a legislature that was not freely and fairly elected—an appointed postcoup legislative body has not been freely and fairly elected and cannot be treated as such.)
  • Has the legislature’s electorally mandated term expired or been extended without new elections?
  • In cases where elections for subnational councils/parliaments differ significantly in conduct from national elections, does the conduct of the subnational elections reflect an opening toward improved political rights in the country, or, alternatively, a worsening of political rights?

A3. Are the electoral laws and framework fair, and are they implemented impartially by the relevant election management bodies?

  • Is there a clear, detailed, and fair legislative framework for conducting elections? (Note: Changes to electoral laws should not be made immediately preceding an election if these changes infringe on the ability of voters, candidates, or parties to fulfill their roles in the election.)
  • Does the composition of election commissions ensure their independence?
  • Are election commissions or other election authorities free from government or other pressure and interference?
  • Do adult citizens enjoy universal and equal suffrage?
  • Is the drawing of election districts conducted in a fair and nonpartisan manner, as opposed to malapportionment or gerrymandering for personal or partisan advantage?
  • Has the selection of a system for choosing legislative representatives (such as proportional versus majoritarian) been improperly manipulated to advance certain political interests or to influence the electoral results?
  • Are procedures for changing the electoral framework at the constitutional level, including referendums, carried out fairly and transparently, with adequate opportunity for public debate and discussion?

B. Political Pluralism and Participation (0-16 points)

B1. Do the people have the right to organize in different political parties or other competitive political groupings of their choice, and is the system free of undue obstacles to the rise and fall of these competing parties or groupings?

  • Do political parties encounter undue legal or practical obstacles in their efforts to form and operate, including onerous registration requirements, excessively large membership requirements, etc.?
  • Do parties face discriminatory or onerous restrictions in holding meetings or rallies, accessing the media, or engaging in other peaceful activities?
  • Are laws and regulations governing party financing fair and equitably enforced? Do they impose excessive obstacles to political and campaign activity, or give an effective advantage to certain parties?
  • Are party members or leaders intimidated, harassed, arrested, imprisoned, or subjected to violent attacks as a result of their peaceful political activities?
  • In systems dominated by political parties, can independent candidates register and operate freely?

B2. Is there a realistic opportunity for the opposition to increase its support or gain power through elections?

  • Are various legal/administrative restrictions selectively applied to opposition parties to prevent them from increasing their support base or successfully competing in elections?
  • Are there genuine opposition forces in positions of authority, such as in the national legislature or in subnational governments?
  • Does intimidation, harassment, arrest, imprisonment, or violent attack as a result of peaceful political activities affect the ability of opposition party members or leaders to increase their support or gain power through elections?
  • Is there a significant opposition vote?
  • Did major opposition parties choose to boycott the most recent elections rather than participate in a flawed process?

B3. Are the people’s political choices free from domination by the military, foreign powers, religious hierarchies, economic oligarchies, or any other powerful group that is not democratically accountable?

  • Do such groups offer bribes or other incentives to voters in order to influence their political choices?
  • Do such groups offer bribes or other incentives to political figures and/or parties in order to influence their political choices?
  • Do such groups intimidate, harass, or attack voters and/or political figures in order to influence their political choices?
  • Do major private or public-sector employers directly or indirectly control the political choices of their workers?

B4. Do various segments of the population (including ethnic, religious, gender, LGBT, and other relevant groups) have full political rights and electoral opportunities?

  • Do national political parties of various ideological persuasions address issues of specific concern to minority or other relevant groups?
  • When other parties fail to address the interests of certain groups, are political parties that are focused on those groups—provided they espouse peaceful, democratic values—legally permitted and de facto allowed to operate?
  • Does the government inhibit the participation of certain groups in national or subnational political life through laws and/or practical obstacles—for example, by limiting access to voter registration or failing to publish public documents in certain languages?
  • Are the interests of women represented in political parties—for example, through party manifestos that address gender issues, gender equality policies within parties, and mechanisms to ensure women’s full and equal participation in internal party elections and decision-making?
  • Are there unusually excessive or discriminatory barriers to acquiring citizenship that effectively deny political rights to a majority or large portion of the native-born or legal permanent population, or is citizenship revoked to produce a similar result?

C. Functioning of Government (0-12 points)

C1. Do the freely elected head of government and national legislative representatives determine the policies of the government? (Note: Because the score for question C1 is partly dependent on the presence of a freely elected head of government and national legislative representatives, under most circumstances it will not exceed the average of the scores for questions A1 and A2.)

  • Are the candidates who were elected freely and fairly duly installed in office, and were they able to form a functioning government within a reasonable period of time?
  • Do other appointed or non–freely elected state actors interfere with or prevent freely elected representatives from adopting and implementing legislation and making meaningful policy decisions?
  • Do nonstate actors, including criminal gangs and insurgent groups, interfere with or prevent elected representatives from adopting and implementing legislation and making meaningful policy decisions?
  • Do the armed forces or other security services control or enjoy a preponderant influence over government policy and activities, including in countries that are nominally under civilian control?
  • Do foreign governments control or enjoy a preponderant influence over government policy and activities by means including the presence of foreign military troops and the use of significant economic threats or sanctions? (Note: If a treaty was signed and ratified by a freely elected government, adherence to that treaty is typically not considered an improper external influence on policymaking, even if it limits a government’s options in practice.)
  • Is the freely elected government able to implement its decisions across the entire territory without interference from nonstate actors?
  • Does the executive exhibit excessive dominance over the legislature?
  • Has partisan polarization or obstructionism seriously impaired basic executive or legislative functions, such as approving a budget or filling important vacancies?

C2. Are safeguards against official corruption strong and effective?

  • Has the government implemented effective anticorruption laws or programs to prevent, detect, and punish corruption among public officials, including conflicts of interest?
  • Is the government free from excessive bureaucratic regulations, registration requirements, or other controls that increase opportunities for corruption?
  • Are there independent and effective auditing and investigative bodies that function without impediment or political pressure or influence?
  • Are allegations of corruption involving government officials thoroughly investigated and prosecuted without prejudice or political bias?
  • Are allegations of corruption given extensive and substantive airing in the media?
  • Do whistleblowers, anticorruption activists, investigators, and journalists enjoy legal protections that allow them to freely and safely report abuses?

C3. Does the government operate with openness and transparency?

  • Do citizens have the legal right and practical ability to obtain information about state operations and the means to petition government agencies for it?
  • Does the government publish information online, in machine-readable formats, for free, and is this information accessible by default?
  • Are civil society groups, interest groups, journalists, and other citizens given a fair and meaningful opportunity to comment on and influence pending policies or legislation?
  • Are elected representatives accessible to their constituents?
  • Is the budget-making process subject to meaningful legislative review and public scrutiny?
  • Does the state ensure transparency and effective competition in the awarding of government contracts?
  • Are the asset declarations of government officials open to public and media scrutiny and verification?

Additional Discretionary Political Rights Question:

ADD Q. Is the government or occupying power deliberately changing the ethnic composition of a country or territory so as to destroy a culture or tip the political balance in favor of another group? (–4 to 0 points)

  • Is the government providing economic or other incentives to certain people in order to change the ethnic composition of a region or regions?
  • Is the government forcibly moving people in or out of certain areas in order to change the ethnic composition of those regions?
  • Is the government arresting, imprisoning, or killing members of certain ethnic groups in order change the ethnic composition of a region or regions?

Civil Liberties (0-60 points)

D. Freedom of Expression and Belief (0-16 points)

D1. Are there free and independent media? (Note: “Media” refers to all relevant sources of news and commentary—including formal print, broadcast, and online news outlets, as well as social media and communication applications when they are used to gather or disseminate news and commentary for the general public. The question also applies to artistic works in any medium.)

  • Are the media directly or indirectly censored?
  • Is self-censorship common among journalists (the term includes professional journalists, bloggers, and citizen journalists), especially when reporting on sensitive issues, including politics, social controversies, corruption, or the activities of powerful individuals?
  • Are journalists subject to pressure or surveillance aimed at identifying their sources?
  • Are libel, blasphemy, security, or other restrictive laws used to punish journalists who scrutinize government officials and policies or other powerful entities through either onerous fines or imprisonment?
  • Is it a crime to insult the honor and dignity of the president and/or other government officials? How broad is the range of such prohibitions, and how vigorously are they enforced?
  • If media outlets are dependent on the government for their financial survival, does the government condition funding on the outlets’ cooperation in promoting official points of view and/or denying access to opposition parties and civic critics? Do powerful private actors engage in similar practices?
  • Do the owners of private media exert improper editorial control over journalists or publishers, skewing news coverage to suit their personal business or political interests?
  • Is media coverage excessively partisan, with the majority of outlets consistently favoring either side of the political spectrum?
  • Does the government attempt to influence media content and access through means including politically motivated awarding or suspension of broadcast frequencies and newspaper registrations, unfair control and influence over printing facilities and distribution networks, blackouts of internet or mobile service, selective distribution of advertising, onerous operating requirements, prohibitive tariffs, and bribery?
  • Are journalists threatened, harassed online, arrested, imprisoned, beaten, or killed by government or nonstate actors for their legitimate journalistic activities, and if such cases occur, are they investigated and prosecuted fairly and expeditiously?
  • Do women journalists encounter gender-specific obstacles to carrying out their work, including threats of sexual violence or strict gender segregation?
  • Are works of literature, art, music, or other forms of cultural expression censored or banned for political purposes?

D2. Are individuals free to practice and express their religious faith or nonbelief in public and private?

  • Are registration requirements employed to impede the free functioning of religious institutions?
  • Are members of religious groups, including minority faiths and movements, harassed, fined, arrested, or beaten by the authorities for engaging in their religious practices?
  • Is state monitoring of peaceful religious activity so indiscriminate, pervasive, or intrusive that it amounts to harassment or intimidation?
  • Are religious practice and expression impeded by violence or harassment by nonstate actors?
  • Does the government appoint or otherwise influence the appointment of religious leaders?
  • Does the government control or restrict the production and distribution of religious writings or materials?
  • Is the construction of religious buildings banned or restricted?
  • Does the government place undue restrictions on religious education? Does the government require religious education?
  • Are individuals free to eschew religious beliefs and practices in general?

D3. Is there academic freedom, and is the educational system free from extensive political indoctrination?

  • Are teachers and professors at both public and private institutions free to pursue academic activities of a political and quasi-political nature without fear of physical violence or intimidation by state or nonstate actors?
  • Does the government pressure, strongly influence, or control the content of school curriculums for political purposes?
  • Is the allocation of funding for public educational institutions free from political manipulation?
  • Are student associations that address issues of a political nature allowed to function freely?
  • Does the government, including through school administration or other officials, pressure students and/or teachers to support certain political figures or agendas, including by requiring them to attend political rallies or vote for certain candidates? Conversely, does the government, including through school administration or other officials, discourage or forbid students and/or teachers from supporting certain candidates and parties?

D4. Are individuals free to express their personal views on political or other sensitive topics without fear of surveillance or retribution?

  • Are people able to engage in private discussions, particularly of a political nature, in public, semipublic, or private places—including restaurants, public transportation, and their homes, in person or on the telephone—without fear of harassment or detention by the authorities or nonstate actors?
  • Do users of personal online communications—including direct messages, voice or video applications, or social media accounts with a limited audience—face legal penalties, harassment, or violence from the government or powerful nonstate actors in retaliation for critical remarks?
  • Does the government employ people or groups to engage in public surveillance and to report alleged antigovernment conversations to the authorities?

E. Associational and Organizational Rights (0-12 points)

E1. Is there freedom of assembly?

  • Are peaceful protests, particularly those of a political nature, banned or severely restricted?
  • Are the legal requirements to obtain permission to hold peaceful demonstrations particularly cumbersome or time-consuming?
  • Are participants in peaceful demonstrations intimidated, arrested, or assaulted?
  • Are peaceful protesters detained by police in order to prevent them from engaging in such actions?
  • Are organizers blocked from using online media to plan or carry out a protest, for example through DDoS attacks or wholesale blackouts of internet or mobile services?
  • Are similar restrictions and obstacles used to impede other public events, such as conferences, panel discussions, and town hall–style meetings?
  • Are public petitions, in which citizens gather signatures to support a particular policy or initiative, banned or severely restricted?

E2. Is there freedom for nongovernmental organizations, particularly those that are engaged in human rights– and governance-related work? (Note: This includes civic organizations, interest groups, foundations, think tanks, gender rights groups, etc.)

  • Are registration and other legal requirements for nongovernmental organizations particularly onerous or intended to prevent them from functioning freely?
  • Are laws related to the financing of nongovernmental organizations unduly complicated and cumbersome, or are there obstacles to citizens raising money for charitable causes or civic activism?
  • Are donors and funders of nongovernmental organizations free from government pressure?
  • Are members of nongovernmental organizations intimidated, arrested, imprisoned, or assaulted because of their work?

E3. Is there freedom for trade unions and similar professional or labor organizations?

  • Are trade unions allowed to be established and to operate without government interference?
  • Are workers pressured by the government or employers to join or not to join certain trade unions, and do they face harassment, violence, or dismissal from their jobs if they fail to comply?
  • Are workers permitted to engage in strikes, and do participants in peaceful strikes face reprisals? (Note: This question may not apply to workers in narrowly defined essential government services or public safety jobs.)
  • Are unions able to bargain collectively with employers and negotiate agreements that are honored in practice?
  • For states with primarily agricultural economies that do not necessarily support the formation of trade unions, does the government allow for the establishment of agricultural workers’ organizations or their equivalents? Is there legislation expressly forbidding the formation of trade unions?
  • Are professional organizations, including business associations, allowed to operate freely and without government interference?

F. Rule of Law (0-16 points)

F1. Is there an independent judiciary?

  • Is the judiciary subject to interference from the executive branch of government or from other political, economic, or religious influences?
  • Are judges appointed and dismissed in a fair and unbiased manner?
  • Do judges rule fairly and impartially, or do they commonly render verdicts that favor the government or particular interests, whether in return for bribes or for other reasons?
  • Do executive, legislative, and other governmental authorities comply with judicial decisions, and are these decisions effectively enforced?
  • Do powerful private entities comply with judicial decisions, and are decisions that run counter to the interests of powerful actors effectively enforced?

F2. Does due process prevail in civil and criminal matters?

  • Are defendants’ rights, including the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, protected?
  • Do detainees have access to independent, competent legal counsel regardless of their financial means?
  • Are defendants given a fair, public, and timely hearing by a competent, independent, and impartial tribunal?
  • Is access to the court system in general dependent on an individual’s financial means?
  • Are prosecutors independent of political control and influence?
  • Are prosecutors independent of powerful private interests, whether legal or illegal?
  • Do law enforcement and other security officials operate professionally, independently, and accountably?
  • Do law enforcement officials make arbitrary arrests and detentions without warrants, or fabricate or plant evidence on suspects?
  • Do law enforcement and other security officials fail to uphold due process because of influence by nonstate actors, including organized crime, powerful commercial interests, or other groups?

F3. Is there protection from the illegitimate use of physical force and freedom from war and insurgencies?

  • Do law enforcement officials beat detainees during arrest or use excessive force or torture to extract confessions?
  • Are conditions in pretrial detention facilities and prisons humane and respectful of the human dignity of inmates?
  • Do citizens have the means of effective petition and redress when they suffer physical abuse by state authorities?
  • Is violent crime common, either in particular areas or among the general population?
  • Is the population subjected to physical harm, forced removal, or other acts of violence or terror due to civil conflict or war?

F4. Do laws, policies, and practices guarantee equal treatment of various segments of the population?

  • Are members of various distinct groups—including ethnic, religious, gender, LGBT, and other relevant groups—able to effectively exercise their human rights with full equality before the law?
  • Is violence against such groups considered a crime, is it widespread, and are perpetrators brought to justice?
  • Do members of such groups face legal and/or de facto discrimination in areas including employment, education, and housing because of their identification with a particular group?
  • Do noncitizens—including migrant workers and noncitizen immigrants—enjoy basic internationally recognized human rights, including the right not to be subjected to torture or other forms of ill-treatment, the right to due process of law, and the freedoms of association, expression, and religion?
  • Do the country’s laws provide for the granting of asylum or refugee status in accordance with the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, its 1967 Protocol, and other regional treaties regarding refugees? Has the government established a system for providing protection to refugees, including against refoulement (the return of persons to a country where there is reason to believe they would face persecution)?

G. Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights (0-16 points)

G1. Do individuals enjoy freedom of movement, including the ability to change their place of residence, employment, or education?

  • Are there restrictions on foreign travel, including an exit visa system, which may be enforced selectively?
  • Is permission required from the authorities or nonstate actors to move within the country?
  • Do state or nonstate actors control or constrain a person’s ability to change their type and place of employment?
  • Are bribes or other inducements needed to obtain the necessary documents to travel, change one’s place of residence or employment, enter institutions of higher education, or advance in school?
  • Is freedom of movement impaired by general threats to physical safety, such as armed conflict?
  • Do women enjoy the same freedom of movement as men?

G2. Are individuals able to exercise the right to own property and establish private businesses without undue interference from state or nonstate actors?

  • Are people legally allowed to purchase and sell land and other property, and can they do so in practice without undue interference from the government or nonstate actors?
  • Do women face discrimination in property and inheritance rights?
  • Are individuals protected from arbitrary expropriation, and do they receive adequate and timely compensation when property is seized?
  • Are people legally allowed to establish and operate private businesses with a reasonable minimum of registration, licensing, and other requirements?
  • Are bribes or other inducements needed to obtain the necessary legal documents to operate private businesses?
  • Do private/nonstate actors, including criminal groups, seriously impede private business activities through such measures as extortion?

G3. Do individuals enjoy personal social freedoms, including choice of marriage partner and size of family, protection from domestic violence, and control over appearance?

  • Are personalized forms of violence—including domestic violence, female genital mutilation/cutting, sexual abuse, and rape—widespread, and are perpetrators brought to justice?
  • Does the government directly or indirectly control choice of marriage partner or other personal relationships through means such as bans on interfaith marriages, failure to enforce laws against child marriage or dowry payments, restrictions on same-sex relationships, or criminalization of extramarital sex?
  • Do individuals enjoy equal rights in divorce proceedings and child custody matters?
  • Do citizenship or residency rules undermine family integrity through excessively high or discriminatory barriers for foreign spouses or transmission of citizenship to children?
  • Does the government determine the number of children that a couple may have, including by denying access to or imposing birth control, or by criminalizing or imposing abortion?
  • Does the government restrict individuals’ choice of dress, appearance, or gender expression?
  • Do private institutions or individuals, including religious groups or family members, unduly infringe on the personal social freedoms of individuals, including choice of marriage partner, family size, dress, gender expression, etc.?

G4. Do individuals enjoy equality of opportunity and freedom from economic exploitation?

  • Do state or private employers exploit their workers through practices including unfairly withholding wages, permitting or forcing employees to work under unacceptably dangerous conditions, or adult slave labor and child labor?
  • Does tight government control over the economy, including through state ownership or the setting of prices and production quotas, inhibit individuals’ economic opportunity?
  • Do the revenues from large state industries, including the energy sector, benefit the general population or only a privileged few?
  • Do private interests exert undue influence on the economy—through monopolistic practices, concentration of ownership, cartels, or illegal blacklists—that impedes economic opportunity for the general population?
  • Do laws, policies, or persistent socioeconomic conditions effectively impose rigid barriers to social mobility, generally preventing individuals from rising to higher income levels over the course of their lives?
  • Is the trafficking of persons for labor, sexual exploitation, forced begging, etc., widespread, and is the government taking adequate steps to address the problem?

Key to Scores, PR and CL Ratings, Status

TABLE 1

Political Rights (PR)
Total Scores PR Rating
36-40 1
30-35 2
24-29 3
18-23 4
12-17 5
6-11 6
0-5* 7

TABLE 2

Civil Liberties (CL)
Total Scores CL Rating
53-60 1
44-52 2
35-43 3
26-34 4
17-25 5
8-16 6
0-7 7

TABLE 2

Combined Average of thePR and CL Ratings(Freedom Rating) Freedom Status
1.0 to 2.5 Free
3.0 to 5.0 Partly Free
5.5 to 7.0 Not Free

* It is possible for a country or territory’s total political rights score to be less than zero (between 1 and 4) if it receives mostly or all zeros for each of the 10 political rights questions and it receives a sufficiently negative score for the political rights discretionary question. In such a case, it would still receive a final political rights rating of 7.

Cf. https://freedomhouse.org/report/methodology-freedom-world-2018


Democracy Unschool é um ambiente de livre investigação-aprendizagem sobre democracia, composto por vários itinerários. O primeiro itinerário é um programa de introdução à democracia chamado SEM DOUTRINA. Para saber mais clique aqui

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Freedom in the World 2018

Intervenção federal na área de segurança do Rio de Janeiro