Serbia still belongs to the group of partly free countries and is down two places – from 66th to 64th – compared to 2019, according to the Freedom in the World 2020 report compiled by Freedom House and published on March 3. The report adds that the authorities in Serbia showed a lack of transparency in their response to the coronavirus pandemic.
In the political rights category, Serbia was given 22 of the total 40 points, whereas in the civil liberties section the ratio is 42 of the total 60.
In recent years the ruling Serbian Progressive Party has steadily eroded political rights and civil liberties, putting pressure on independent media, the political opposition and civil society organizations, the report further adds.
The police responded with excessive violence during the July 2020 protests in Belgrade, when the people gathered to protest the announced coronavirus-related lockdown, the government policies on other issues and the manner in which President Aleksandar Vucic was performing his office. The police attacked demonstrators, passers-by and journalists while trying to disperse the protests that lasted several days, reads the report.
The report is the Freedom House’s annual overview of political rights and civil liberties that consists of the points and short descriptions of conditions in the countries and territories surveyed. The latest report covers the period from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2020.