The Gambia “Partly Free” Country in 2021, Says Freedom House
The Freedom House 2021 annual “Freedom in the World” report classifies The Gambia in the category of “Partly Free” countries.
Each year, Freedom House rates people access to political rights and civil liberties in countries and territories through an array of marks from zero to 100. The combination of the overall score awarded for political rights and the overall score awarded for civil liberties, after being equally weighted, determines the status of Free, Partly Free, or Not Free.
Freedom House has assessed The Gambia, and other countries in the world, based on many criteria like whether conditions on the ground for political rights and civil liberties are significantly different from other countries, meaning a separate assessment is likely to yield different ratings. Freedom House also investigated whether the Gambia can be expected to remain stable in future years so that year-on-year comparisons are possible, among the array of parameters the organization has used to attribute its scores for each country.
As such, The Gambia “Global freedom status” scores is 46 for the Total score and status, a little better in the West African sub-region than Nigeria (45), Côte d’Ivoire (44), Guinea-Bissau (44), Togo (43), and Mauritania (35).
Notwithstanding, The Gambia is classified way behind countries like Sierra Leone with a “Global freedom status” score of 65, Senegal (71), Liberia (60), Ghana (82) or Benin (65).
Political and Civil Rights yet to be improved
The Gambia did poorly on Political rights (electoral process, political pluralism, and participation, functioning of government) with a score of 20. This aspect of the classification looks into issues like safeguards against official corruption, the government’s openness and transparency, people’s political choices, independence from external forces, etc.
The Gambia did also poorly (with a score of 26) on protecting and enhancing Civil Liberties. This includes freedom of expression and belief, personal autonomy and individual rights, the rule of law, associational and organizational rights. For example, Freedom House investigates if individuals enjoy equality of opportunity and freedom from economic exploitation, their right to own property and establish private businesses without undue interference from state or non-state actors. The check looks into protection from the illegitimate use of physical force, the independence of the judiciary and due process in civil and criminal matters, etc.
On “Internet Freedom Scores,” Freedom House ranks The Gambia as Partly Free with a “Total Score and Status” of 49. Freedom House considers The Gambia to be a country with a significant gap on lifting the “Obstacles to Access to Internet,” hence The Gambia only scoring 10 points. The organization only credits 22 points to The Gambia regarding “Limits on Internet Content” and 17 points on how the country handles “Violations of User Rights.”
“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 2021 edition involved over 125 analysts and nearly 40 advisers. The analysts, who prepare the draft reports and scores, use a broad range of sources, including news articles, academic analyses, and information from nongovernmental organizations, individual professional contacts, and on-the-ground research.
Top countries in the 2021 annual “Freedom in the World” report include Sweden, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Norway, Netherlands, Denmark, Finland.