Freedom House ranks Ukraine as 'partly free' country in 2020
According to the Freedom in the World 2020 Report of Freedom House International Human Rights Organization, Ukraine remains "partly free" country in the global freedom rating.
"Ukraine has enacted a number of positive reforms since the protest-driven ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. However, corruption remains endemic, and initiatives to combat it are only partially implemented. Attacks against journalists, civil society activists, and members of minority groups are frequent, and police responses are often inadequate," reads a Freedom House's report posted on its website.
The organization reminded that Russia occupies the autonomous Ukrainian region of Crimea and its military "support armed separatists in the eastern Donbas area."
According to the report, international observers deemed the president's vote "competitive and credible", although polling could not take place in Crimea and separatist-held parts of Donbas. Parliamentary elections were deemed "generally competitive and credible, despite some problems". Voting was again impossible in Crimea and separatist-held parts of Donbas. Consequently, the elections filled only 424 of the 450 seats. Additionally, approximately 1 million Ukrainian citizens are unable to vote because they do not have a registered address.
As for media freedom, Freedom House experts stressed that "business magnates own and influence many outlets, using them as tools to advance their agendas."
"President Zelensky has received significant support from media outlets controlled by banking magnate Ihor Kolomoisky. Other parties also receive favorable coverage from 'friendly' media," reads the report.
Zelensky at times has also refused to take reporters' questions, and his staff has occasionally refused access to spaces journalists are legally permitted to enter.
Moreover, Ukraine has long suffered from corrupt and politicized courts, and "recent reform initiatives aimed at addressing the issue have stalled or fallen short of expectations."
"Although due process guarantees exist, in practice individuals with financial resources and political influence can escape prosecution for wrongdoing," said Freedom House.
Besides, the government has made little progress in meeting domestic and international demands to investigate and prosecute crimes committed during the last months of the Yanukovych administration in late 2013 and early 2014, which included the shooting of protesters.
As reported, Ukraine was also recognized as "partly free" state in the 2019 report.