Constraints on internet freedom tightened while efforts to curb graft was weakened by politicized enforcement, says the US-based watchdog
Bangladesh remained in the status of a "partly free" country as the state of political rights and civil liberties in country witnessed a decline in the last five years, according to a new report.
The annual study, by US-based independent watchdog Freedom House, says only 20% of the global population now live in a “free” country.
With an overall score of 39 out of 100, just like the previous year, the ‘Freedom in the World 2021: Democracy under Siege’ report deemed Bangladesh as a “Partly Free” nation.
Bangladesh’s score in 2019 stood at was 41 while 2018 it was 45 and 47 the previous year, indicating a steady decline in the state of political rights and civil liberties.
According to the report, constraints on internet freedom in Bangladesh have tightened in 2020.
“Amid the pandemic, the government ramped up its efforts to restrict the online space and suppress those criticizing the government’s response,” it said.
Authorities blocked critical websites, enhanced targeted violence, and arrested journalists and users alike, says the Freedom House Report.
“New investigative reporting also shed light on the government’s capacity to manipulate content and deploy technical attacks,” it reads.
Describing corruption as a serious problem, the Freedom House report said that efforts to curb it have been weakened by ‘politicized enforcement’
“Due process guarantees are poorly upheld and security forces carry out a range of human right abuses with near impunity,” it said.
Freedom House rates people's access to political rights and civil liberties in 210 countries and territories through its annual Freedom in the World report.
Individual freedoms — ranging from the right to vote to freedom of expression and equality before the law — can be affected by state or non-state actors, the report said.
Countries that scored between 1 and 34 fall in the status of "not free", those that range between 35 and 71 fall in the "partly free" category and countries that scored over 71 fall in the "free" category.
Among the South Asian countries only Afghanistan, with a score of 27, falls in the status of not free. India, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives fall in the status of "partly free," but they all scored more than Bangladesh. India scored 67, Bhutan 61, Sri Lanka and Nepal 56 and Maldives 40. Pakistan scored 37.
Finland, Norway and Sweden scored 100 out of 100 in the report.