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‘Freedom in Georgia Takes a Step Backward’ – Freedom House
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 3 Jan.'08 / 11:37

In 2007, Georgia’s democratic institutions moved sharply in the wrong direction, a U.S.-based watchdog group, Freedom House, said in a report released on January 2.

The country remains in the “Partly Free” category in the group’s annual global survey, Freedom in the World. Georgia’s rating in the survey dropped from a 3 for both political rights and civil liberties in 2006, to a 4 for both indicators in 2007.  A score of 1 represents the strongest performance, while a score of 7 is the weakest.

The report cites “an increasingly fractured political environment” as one of the reasons behind Georgia’s, as it puts it, "regress." “Alternative voices – in the opposition and civil society – have been pushed to the margins” the report said. “Mikheil Saakashvili… has dominated the political landscape and shown an unwillingness to engage political opposition and civil society.”

It, however, also pointed out that the opposition “has yet to demonstrate its ability to offer sound policy alternatives.”

The report says that “a fragile media landscape” in Georgia is also “proving not to be up to democratic standards.”

It also notes “the substantial use of force against protesters” in November and the state of emergency that followed, which included the suspension of political activity, assembly and non-official media communication, all of which contributed to Georgia falling down the league table.

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