The latest report released by the Freedom House on January 28 says that Myanmar, which has only partly abandoned military rule, began to veer from the path to democracy.
The report emphasised that Myanmar’s civil liberties rating declined from 5 to 6 due to restriction on media freedom, including the arrest and imprisonment of a number of journalists.
The report also highlighted that journalists and demonstrators faced greater restrictions; the minority continued to suffer from violence and official discrimination and proposed laws as national safeguarding law.
Meanwhile, the report said that India, Japan, and Indonesia in the Asia-Pacific region went to the polls in 2014, handing their leaders strong mandates through what were largely open and fair electoral processes. But in Thailand, in which the military ousted an elected government, suspended the constitution, and implemented martial law restrictions that drastically rolled back political rights and civil liberties.
The annual report scored points from 1 to 7 [good to bad] on political rights and civil liberties in 195 countries around the world and Myanmar scored point 6 on political rights.
According to the report, the ranking grade for freedom of political rights in Asean countries such as Brunei, Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand is No.6; Vietnam and Laos at No.7 and Malaysia and Singapore are No.4; the Philippines is at the No.3 position and Indonesia is at No.2 position and it has the most freedom in political rights among the rest of the Asean countries.
Last December, the report of the France-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said Myanmar Media freedom seems improving but it is still on its watch list.
Meanwhile, Myanmar is on the list of the top 10 worst jailers of journalists in 2014, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, coming in eighth with 10 journalists languishing in jail. Transparency International’s global corruption report said that Myanmar is one of the worst corrupt countries in Asean.
Forbes Magazine once labelled Myanmar as the hardest place to do business.