Serbia has dropped in ranking from Free to Partly Free on the latest Freedom House report which was published on Tuesday.
The Freedom in the World 2019 report showed that Serbia was among the countries with the largest one-year declines, scoring 67 of a possible 100 points, dropping 6 points compared to a year earlier when it scored 74 points, ranking it among Free countries in the world.
The report said that Serbia’s status declined from Free to Partly Free due to deterioration in the conduct of elections, continued attempts by the government and allied media outlets to undermine independent journalists through legal harassment and smear campaigns, and President Aleksandar Vucic’s de facto accumulation of executive powers that conflict with his constitutional role.
It added that Vucic has continued to consolidate state power around himself and his clique, subverting basic standards of good governance and exceeding his assigned constitutional role.
The 2018 report said that the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) has steadily eroded political rights and civil liberties, putting pressure on independent media, the political opposition, and civil society organizations, adding that Serbia received a downward trend arrow due to Vucic’s continued consolidation of power, including through opaque party financing methods, politicization of law enforcement, and attempts to undermine critical journalists with financial investigations and smears in government-friendly media.