Malta’s civic freedoms rating downgraded in global index

CIVICUS Monitor downgrades Malta from ‘open’ to ‘narrowed’ in civic and political freedoms global index as a result of worsening attitude towards journalists and activists

Malta’s downgrade comes as a result of the increasingly hostile attitude to journalists after the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, and due to concerns about how activists are being treated
Malta’s downgrade comes as a result of the increasingly hostile attitude to journalists after the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, and due to concerns about how activists are being treated

Malta’s civic freedoms status has been downgraded in a global index compiled by CIVICUS Monitor.

The NGO’s annual report on the state of civic freedoms worldwide has downgraded Malta’s rating from “open”, the highest possible rating, to “narrowed”.

In a statement on Monday, CIVICUS Monitor - an international NGO which describes itself as a global alliance dedicated to strengthening citizen actions and civil society around the world - said the downgrade marks a decline in civic and political freedoms in Malta.

The downgrade - which comes a day before Human Rights Day, which is marked on 10 December - is a reflection of the increasingly hostile attitude to journalists since the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, CIVICUS Monitor said.

There are also concerns about the treatment of activists and those advocating for justice. 

The index is based on close to real-time monitoring of basic democratic freedoms, such as the freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association.

Malta was previously given an “open” rating and was one of the few countries in the world to occupy this category.

“Narrow” is the next level down in the index after “open”, and is followed by “obstructed”, “repressed” and “closed” which each represent progressively worse levels of civic freedom.

According to CIVICUS Monitor, only 3% of the world's population now live in countries where their fundamental rights are protected and respected. 

The report also shows that twice as many people live in repressed countries compared to a year ago.

Within a European context, there have been no major improvements in democratic and political freedoms in the last year, according to the NGO’s report. 

Although the EU still remains the region of the world with the highest number of open countries (14 countries) - there are still 13 narrowed and one obstructed country in this region (Serbia was downgraded to “obstructed”). 

The full CIVICUS Monitor report, which rates and tracks respect for fundamental freedoms in 196 countries, can be accessed here.

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