The latest report by a US non-profit organization ranked Thailand low in freedom and democracy, contradicting a Democracy Index poll last week.
Washington-based Freedom House, an organization that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom, and human rights revealed Thailand has slightly improved but work still needs to be done.
The US democracy research group said yesterday that Thailand improved by one point in its report.
The kingdom scored 30 out of 100, compared with 29 out of 100 in the group’s 2022 report. The total score consists of two main components: political rights, where Thailand scored 6 out of 40, and civil liberties, where the nation scored 24 out of 60, reported Bangkok Post.
Authors of the Freedom in the World 2023 report said…
“Following five years of military dictatorship, Thailand transitioned to a military-dominated, semi-elected government in 2019. The combination of democratic deterioration and frustrations over the role of the monarchy in Thailand’s governance triggered massive demonstrations in 2020 and 2021.
“In response, the regime has employed authoritarian tactics, including arbitrary arrests, intimidation, lèse-majesté charges, and harassment of activists. Press freedom is constrained, due process is not guaranteed, and there is impunity for crimes committed against activists.”
Freedom House stated that Peru and Burkina Faso were at the forefront of a worldwide decline in freedom last year. Nevertheless, several other countries demonstrated progress, providing a glimmer of hope in the fight against authoritarianism.
The report revealed that during the initial publication of the global survey in 1973, only 44 out of 148 countries surveyed were deemed “Free.” In comparison, presently, 84 out of 195 countries are now categorized as “Free.”
The report added…
“Over the past 50 years, consolidated democracies have not only emerged from deeply repressive environments but also proven to be remarkably resilient in the face of new challenges.
“Although democratisation has slowed and encountered setbacks, ordinary people around the world, including in Iran, China, and Cuba, continue to defend their rights against authoritarian encroachment.”
In its 50th annual report, Freedom House downgraded the freedom level of both Peru and Burkina Faso. The report also highlighted declines in freedom in several other countries, including Russia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Hungary.
Peru, which experienced political turmoil last year with the impeachment of president Pedro Castillo following his attempt to dissolve congress and rule by decree, was moved from a “free” to “partly free” classification. Meanwhile, Burkina Faso, which experienced two coups in 2022, was downgraded to “not free.”
In contrast, Colombia and Lesotho were both upgraded from “partly free” to “free.” Colombia elected its first left-wing president, Gustavo Pedro, who pledged to increase democratic inclusion, while Lesotho elected diamond tycoon Sam Matekane on a platform of transparency and economic reforms in the landlocked African nation.
Despite the overall net decline in freedom around the world, Freedom House also noted improvements in several nations, including Slovenia, Kosovo, Kenya, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Zambia.
Freedom House President Michael Abramowitz said the report “documents a continuation of troubling trends, but it also gives some reason to hope that the freedom recession of the past 17 years may be turning a corner.”
Co-author of the report, Amy Slipowitz, pointing to the after-effects of the 2014 military takeover in Thailand and the 2016 attempt to oust Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said…
“One of the trends we found in the broader global research was that both coups and attempted coups can lead to long-term deterioration down the line.”
India, widely regarded as the world’s largest democracy, has been listed as “partly free” for the third consecutive year in Freedom House’s annual report. The downgrade comes as a result of growing concerns over curbs on civil liberties and freedom of expression under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.
Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.
Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.