The Freedom in the World Report, the annual report assessing the condition of political rights and civil liberties around the world has shown Malta suffering a dramatic drop in rankings.
By the end of 2017, Malta had slipped 16 ranks to come in at 33rd out of 195 countries. This drop came is due to Malta scoring 92 out of 100 in 2017 for freedom – down four points from 2016, when Malta scored 96 out of 100 for press freedom.
While Malta was still rated as ‘Most Free’ in both political rights and civil liberties, as well as an overall Freedom Rating, this drop of four points places Malta just below Taiwan and above the Marshall Islands.
The murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, one of Malta’s most prominent journalists, as well as the global media coverage of her murder, negatively effected Malta’s ranking.
Malta wasn’t the only country to be downgraded by four points. Hungary, Libya, Poland and Venezuela also lost four points each, reflecting a worsening of civil and political rights in those countries.
That said, some countries, like Iraq and The Gambia, made impressive gains towards securing a more free society, with The Gambia jumping 21 points, the largest gain in the ranking.
The United States also fell three points, nearly as much as Malta, due to the Trump presidency and the worsening opinion towards media in the country.
The Freedom House Freedom in the World Report for 2018 is composed of ratings and descriptions for 195 countries and 14 territories. ‘Freedom in the World’ has been published since 1973, allowing Freedom House to track global trends in freedom over more than 40 years. It has become the most widely read and cited report of its kind, used on a regular basis by policymakers, journalists, academics, activists, and many others.