- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- All Balkan Countries
Nationalism and the pressure on the media continue to threaten the process of reconciliation in the Balkans, according to a new report issued by Freedom House.
In its global report published on Thursday, U.S.-based watchdog Freedom House noted that Balkan countries have made real progress on the path to democracy and EU accession.
The report, which is issued annually, examines the ability of individuals to exercise their political and civil rights in 195 countries and 14 territories around the world.
In the latest report, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia are listed as Free Countries, whereas Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Kosovo are perceived as Partly Free. None of the Balkan countries moved significantly compared to last year's analysis.
On a scale of one to seven, with one representing the best mark, Croatia tops the regional list with number one in the category of political rights and number two in civil liberties.
Bulgaria got 2 for both political rights and civil liberties; Montenegro and Serbia scored 3 for political rights and 2 for civil liberties; and Romania was given the lowest result with 5 for political rights and 2 for civil liberties.
When it comes to Partly Free countries, Bosnia scored 4 for political rights and 3 for civil liberties; Albania and Macedonia got 3 in both categories; and Kosovo received scores of 5 and 4 in the two categories.
The human rights watchdog warned that nationalism in much of the region hampers regional reconciliation and relations with the European Union.
Freedom House also notes that there is still evidence of pressure on free media in the Balkans. It specifically mentions Macedonia, where the opposition-leaning television station, A1, was closed last year, and the work of several newspapers was threatened.
Since 1972, Freedom House has drawn up annual reports on the state of freedom on the basis of information on free elections, multiparty democracy, rule of law and equality of opportunity.
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