Eestern Times Correspondent, Dhaka, 3 February : When compared to its position last year, Bangladesh has jumped four notches up in the Democracy Index 2020, an annual survey by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
Categorised as a hybrid regime despite the gain, the South Asian nation was ranked 76th with an overall score of 5.99, rising from the 80th spot in last year’s index.
With a whopping 9.81 overall score, Norway topped the latest index published on Tuesday, while North Korea found its place at the bottom, bagging 1.07 in the overall score.
India slipped two places to 53rd position in the global ranking, but Pakistan moved three steps up to 108th ranking.
Neighbouring Myanmar’s position dropped to 135th spot, from the 122nd position last year. Notably, Myanmar experienced the setback well ahead of the latest army takeover.
Shockingly, the average global score in the latest and 13th edition of the index declined to 5.37, down from 5.44 in 2019. This is by far the worst global score since the index was first produced in 2006.
In continuation of a poor show in democracy across the world in recent years, its strength was further tested by the outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in 2020.
The 2020 result represents a significant deterioration and came about largely—but not solely—because of government-imposed restrictions on individual freedoms and civil liberties that occurred across the globe in response to the pandemic.
Despite being ranked 25th, democracy in the USA has been categorised “flawed,” with China (151th) remaining in the same authoritarian category as in the 2019 index.
In 2020, a large majority of countries, 116 of a total of 167 (almost 70%), recorded a decline in their total score compared with 2019. Only 38 (22.6%) recorded an improvement and the other 13 stagnated, with their scores remaining unchanged compared with 2019.
There were some impressive improvements and some dramatic declines, as discussed in the “Highlights” section, with Taiwan registering the biggest improvement and Mali the biggest decline.
About the index
The index provides a snapshot of the state of democracy worldwide in 165 independent states and two territories. This covers almost the entire population of the world and the vast majority of the world’s states (microstates are excluded).
It is prepared based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism, the functioning of government, political participation, political culture, and civil liberties.
Given its scores on a range of indicators within these categories, each country is then itself classified as one of four types of regime: “full democracy,” “flawed democracy,” “hybrid regime,” or “authoritarian regime.”
The latest records how global democracy fared in 2020. The main focus of the report is the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on democracy and freedom around the world.
It looks at how the pandemic resulted in the withdrawal of civil liberties on a massive scale and fuelled an existing trend of intolerance and censorship of dissenting opinion.
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