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Freedom

Having recently experienced a return to freedom (sorta), I felt obliged to tackle the claim that the country has lost its freedom.

Who said it? Freedom House said that the Philippines showed “significant decline” in political rights and civil liberties last year, enough for it to be “disqualified (as an) electoral democracy.”

Who is Freedom House? According to the Wikipedia,

Freedom House is a United States-based international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights. It is best known for its annual assessment of the degree of democratic freedoms in each country which is widely used in political science research.

The organisation was founded by Wendell Wilkie and Eleanor Roosevelt in 1941, and describes itself as “a clear voice for democracy and freedom around the world”. It receives about 75% of its budget from the United States government, but also receives funding from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Sarah Scaife Foundation and the Soros Foundation, among a list of others. The organization has been criticized for receiving funding from and allegedly furthering the interests of the US government, while others have offered praise to the group.

Now as a matter of first principles, one should examine the source of the criticism before deciding whether the criticism itself holds water. F’rinstance: if GMA were to criticise the junta in Myanmar for human rights violations, we should all chortle and snigger and say ‘look who’s talking.’ Another example: If ABS-CBN were to criticize GMA for unethical practices, we would have to consider whether ABS-CBN had ulterior motives for doing so. In either case (because the two are not alike), the source becomes a significant factor in deciding on the acceptability of the criticism. The same applies to Freedom House.

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Filed under: international, musings, politics, ,

2 Responses

  1. shiro says:

    hmmm… the americans need a new playground? i mean this Tehran thing isn’t happening fast enough for dubya i think.

  2. BrianB says:

    According to freedom house, indonesia and malaysia are relatively freer than us.

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