International Desk: Bangladesh’s score on the state of democracy has dropped in 2017 compared to the one in 2016 resulting in eight notches down, says the Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) Democracy Index-2017.
Bangladesh has ranked 92nd with a score of 5.43 out of 10 in Democracy Index 2017 while it ranked 84th with a score of 5.73 in 2016.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh has ranked 49th with a score of 7 in press freedom as its media is described as ‘partly free’.
The EIU’s Democracy Index provides a snapshot of the state of democracy worldwide for 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).
Asia’s average regional score in media freedom ranking is 5.5, and its average ranking is 79.4.
Governments and powerful political and business interests in many Asian countries use defamation laws and related criminal provisions to punish criticism in the media, clamping down on critical commentary on social media.
The rising pressure on social media platforms is troubling, given the shortage of independent reporting from the mainstream press in these countries.
The Chinese authorities have imposed some of the region’s harshest penalties for negative online reporting as censors have become increasingly sensitive to criticism of the regime and the Communist Party of China (CCP) leadership, putting pressure on foreign news agencies and journalists as well as domestic critics.
In some ways, however, it is a far worse place in which to operate for journalists, bloggers and civil-rights activists, said the EIU.
China, North Korea and Laos are black holes for independent news and information. All three are authoritarian, communist regimes in which journalists have to follow the party line if they want to continue working.
In China and Vietnam, dissenters are locked up in large numbers and on a far bigger scale than anywhere else (Turkey’s recent clampdown on the media is comparable in its highly repressive treatment of journalists, who are accused of seeking to undermine or overthrow the president and the government).
The region (Asia and Australia) is also a very dangerous place for journalists, who face physical and death threats on a regular basis in countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Philippines, according to the EIU.
The Democracy Index is based on five categories: Electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture.
risingbd/Dhaka/Jan 31, 2018/AI