The annual survey Freedom in the World is a global assessment of the basic political and civil freedoms enjoyed by the citizens in the 193 countries and 15 territories covered. The survey is aimed to measure and evaluate the state of freedom through independent exercise of political rights and civil liberties without pressure and interference from governments including any other forms of threats of encroachment on these. Their interpretation of Freedom is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The standards and checklists used in the survey are applicable and effective for all, regardless of culture or tradition, geographic location, ethnicity, religion, and stage of economic growth. The survey is not an evaluation and judgment of governments and governance, rather, how policies or lack of them can affect individual freedoms. Also noted in the survey are other elements that can influence the enjoyment and curtailment of these freedoms like non-government and cause-oriented groups.
The findings in the survey include analyses and ratings for each of the countries and territories. The survey also provides a background on the major events that had a significant effect in the political and civil landscape of a nation. The survey reports are arrived at after thorough and rigorous research with several stages of processing, evaluation and revalidation by political scientists and academicians.
While a slight percentage of subjectivity is a given in any survey, the ratings of Freedom in the World survey show fair, balance and non-partisan results. The research and survey team is composed of respected and credible analysts, consultants, and advisers from the academe. Information sources come from world news, professional individuals, scholarly journals, non-governmental organizations, brain pools or think tanks, including travels and visits to various countries and regions of the world.
The Freedom of the World survey is an important information and reference tool for policy makers, media bureaus, business organizations, multinational corporations, learning institutions and cause-oriented groups, and non-governmental agencies. The factors considered in the ratings are on a checklist of questions with two main categories. The first is Political Rights (PR), which is divided into three sub-categories, namely: Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government.
The second category is Civil Liberties (CL) which has four sub-categories, like: Freedom of Expression and Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights. There are ten PR questions and fifteen CL questions. Points for these questions range from 0-4, 0 being with the least and 4 with the most freedoms present. The highest possible total points for PR are 40 (4 points for each of the 10 questions) and 60 for the CL (4 points for each of the 15 questions).