Index of Individual Freedom Manual

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1 Index of Individual Freedom Manual Peter Graeff, Saskia M. Fuchs, Lydia Chebbah

2 Contents 1. Introduction Criteria of index construction Areas and Components Freedom of the Media Freedom of Religion Freedom of Movement Freedom of Association Modern Information Empirical properties Average freedom scores Correlations between subscales Correlations with economic variables References Appendix Freedom Index Frankfurt Freedom Index Frankfurt Acknowledgement The development of this index was financially supported by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. 2

3 1. Introduction This manual introduces an index for restrictions of liberties compiled from existing crosscountry freedom datasets. Based on the idea of negative freedom, the index measures obstructions of liberties in five areas. The areas correspond to social domains in which individual freedom is challenged every day. Among those are basic types of freedom such as the liberty to move within or to leave a country, or the freedom to assemble which refers to the social need of contacting others and the necessity to coordinating social activities. More elaborated types of freedom apply to the supply and the demand of information. In some countries, the supply of information is intentionally restricted by the government or certain groups in charge. But because of the technical revolution coming from the internet, the censoring of information on the demand side has also become an issue when restrictions of freedom are considered. Individuals in modern societies have grown accustomed to a globalized way of receiving their information from sources such as the World Wide Web. The last area pertains to the freedom of religions which is even in modern societies a major issue as - despite of secular tendencies - religious attitudes and activities leave their mark in social life. As a consequence, restrictions in this area affect individuals severely. In the next chapter, the criteria for constructing the freedom index are presented. As negative freedom is a rather clearly defined topic in literature, criteria for index construction must reflect the core of this underlying theoretical approach especially in contrast to issues which are not considered as liberties. Only by this way of procedure it is possible to [ ] explain the causes behind the emergence of free societies (Doering 2012: 3). The next chapter introduces the five areas of freedom in detail, providing information about the single items and the index subscales. Some of the empirical properties of the index are presented in the following chapter. Since freedoms in the economic area are a research topic referring to its own theoretical approaches and operationalizations, these issues were explicitly excluded from this index. As a consequence, its five areas are constructed to mainly avoiding economic features in its measurements. 3

4 2. Criteria of index construction In order to assure that the index is consistent in itself and also consistently created, it is necessary to choose the items and its content referring to the theoretical rationale. A valid measurement tool would ensure on the one hand that its items and scales actually measure what they should measure. It would also ensure on the other hand, that issues of no interest are left out of the measurement (Neumann & Graeff 2013). Here, only items which a clear reference to negative freedom are used. Items that capture social phenomena which are associated with liberty but are also clearly distinct from it (such as conflicts) are not regarded in the index. Negative freedom means the absence of restrictions on freedom (Berlin 1969, Carter 2004, Palmer 2009). As restrictions count obstacles, barriers, constraints or interference from others (Carter 2012: Chapter 1). The idea of the negative freedom concept corresponds to the observation that the need to assess degrees of freedoms seldom occurs when individuals enjoy liberties. The need occurs particularly when existing liberties are reduced. Since the index compiles data from various freedom datasets and these original datasets typically measure challenges of freedom, the index areas refer to disputed social sections. This leads to two ramifications: a. The quantification of the degree of freedoms in a certain area is done by measuring the restrictions of liberties (Carter 2004). b. Restrictions usually work on different levels. On a general societal level, individuals are intentionally restricted by some laws or prohibiting norms. Beside or in conjunction with normative regulations, individuals might be intentionally restricted also by actions of others. This differentiation resembles the difference between de facto and de jure restrictions which is frequently applied to macro datasets about human rights or democracy (see for example the Manuals of the CIRI Human Rights Data Project 1, the Freedom House s Press Freedom Index 2 or the Institutional Profiles Database 3. As a consequence, the index items are classified as more referring to de facto/actions or more to de jure/rights (see table 1). By this it becomes more transparent for users who apply the index whether the source of restriction is rooted in a country s law or in its societal practice. 1 9/5/ /5/ ; 9/5/13. 4

5 In order to operationalize the theoretical propositions of negative freedom, the restrictions must meet the criterion that there is a responsible agent, who obstructs liberties by external (action or law etc.), or internal (regulation or manipulation etc.) obstacles (Carter 2012: Chapter 5). If the agent is not claimed to be responsible, restrictions of freedom are not determined. This is in line with theoretical propositions because natural causes, genetic handicap, a virus or climatic conditions cannot be considered as restricting freedom (Carter 2012: Chapter 5). Property rights can be considered as precondition of freedom. As such, they belong to the core elements in theories about economic freedom and are also left out of the index. For index construction, the intention was realized to measuring freedom or its restrictions but not preconditions or ramifications of certain liberties. The freedom index consists of five scales: freedom of the media, freedom of the religion, freedom of association, freedom of movement and freedom of modern information. Applying the concept of negative freedom meant in practice to arrive at a compromise between available items and theoretical fit. Moreover, the selection of these five scales was done with reference to the importance of each dimension for the daily life of people. In the next chapter the special role of each scale is discussed in more detail. To construct the freedom index two item selection criteria were applied. The most important selection criterion was the theoretical reference of item content. Another aim was to including different data sources in order to enable index validity (see for example Bowman et al. 2005: 939, Skaaning 2006: 22). For macro data, the application of different data sources or different research methods for investigating the same phenomenon can improve measurement validity (Neumann & Graeff 2010). During index construction, two statistical criteria were applied to assure a valid and reliable measurement tool (Graeff 2012). Index consistency was warranted by computing item-rest correlations which test whether the items and their scale measure less restriction by higher scores. In order to produce unidimensional scales only which rule out measuring more than one theoretical concept at the same time, canonical correlation analysis was applied. 5

6 3. Areas and Components In this section, the index components are presented and discussed. Since the ranges from the original data sources were different, these had to be transformed in order to warrant item and scale comparability. All components of this index possess the same range from 0 (no freedom) to 10 (maximum freedom). Table 1 provides an overview over the scales and items. The items content from the original sources refers to either more de jure liberties or their restrictions (such as the right to move ) or the actual freedoms or their restrictions (such as harassment of religious groups ). In table 1, the items are also classified with reference to human rights which are considered as the most fundamental rights for human beings and are, therefore, closely related to values and ideas about human existence (McMahon 2012, Doering 2012). Table 1: Scales and items of the index de jure/rights or Human rights de facto/actions 1. Media 1.1. Press freedom both no 1.2. State control both no 1.3. Laws and regulations both no 1.4. Political pressure and control both no 2. Religion 2.1. Religious liberty de facto yes 2.2. Harassment of religious groups de facto no 2.3. Force towards religious groups de facto no 2.4. Domination of public life de facto no 2.5. Hostility over proselytizing de facto no 2.6. Hostility over conversions de facto no 3. Movement 3.1. Movement of nationals both no 3.2. Movement of foreigners both no 3.3. Foreign movement de facto yes 3.4. Visa restrictions de facto no 4. Association 4.1. Association (formal & informal) both no 4.2. Assembly and demonstration both no 4.3. Assembly and association de facto yes 4.4. Operating autonomy: Educational, sports and cultural organizations both no 5. Modern Information 5.1. Internet Access both no 6

7 5.2. Access to foreign press both no 5.3. State control over the internet both no 5.4. Internet censorship both no The index covers the years 2009 to For the years another index version was compiled. Several items and country data were not available for the earlier years. Items for the Modern Information scale were generally missing so this scale could not be computed. Comparisons across time are limited to scales with the same item configuration. 1. Freedom of the Media A main justification for press freedom is that free media will act as a watchdog over the government. (Whitten-Woodring 2009: 595). Freedom of the media is a fundamental national feature because it ensures the generation of unbiased information. As such it possesses a particular function. Only a free press brings about transparency and raises accountability of the entities in power government and businesses alike, and curb rent seeking behavior (Dutta & Roy 2012: 2). This benefit only exists if there is an adequate access to information so that unbiased information reaches every section of the population In this vein, media institutions play a crucial role in modern societies as they are closely linked to the functioning and operations of other institutions. The degree by which media institutions act freely and self-determined determines their efficiency to fulfill their aims. Free media are associated with high standards of governmental institutions and low fraud or corruption levels. For corruption, Dutta & Roy (2012: 2) posit that independence (free press) and access to information through internet, mobile and television, have a joint significant impact on corruption level of a country. While for countries, with lower press freedom, greater access to information may not mitigate corruption, there is a beneficial impact for high press freedom countries. Other studies come up with similar results (see for example Freille, Haque and Kneller 2007; Chowdhury 2004). The independence of free media institutions pertains particularly its relationship to the government. A negative example is the political domination of the media in Italy where the former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and several members of his family controlled a good deal of the national media institutions. When governmental and media interests are intertwined, 7

8 several negative ramifications occur. Leeson (2008: 155) puts it this way: where government owns a larger share of media outlets and infrastructure, regulates the media industry more, and does more to control the content of news, citizens are more politically ignorant and apathetic. The freedom of the media scale consists of four items. Two are drawn from the Institutional Profiles Database (IPD). Two items are taken from Freedom House s Press Freedom Index. These indicators focus on the proportion of the media under state control and also incorporate issues such as the legal environment or restricting political context Unlike IPD, Freedom House 4 is explicit about the rating criteria. The rating bases on check list questions measuring aspects of freedom restrictions. Freedom House sums up the key points like this: We assess the positive impact of legal and constitutional guarantees for freedom of expression; the potentially negative aspects of security legislation, the penal code, and other criminal statutes; penalties for libel and defamation; the existence of and ability to use freedom of information legislation; the independence of the judiciary and of official media regulatory bodies; registration requirements for both media outlets and journalists; and the ability of journalists groups to operate freely. The political environment category encompasses an examination of the degree of political control over the content of news media. Issues include the editorial independence of both stateowned and privately owned media; access to information and sources; official censorship and self-censorship. Moreover the vibrancy of the media and the diversity of news available within each country; the ability of both foreign and local reporters to cover the news freely and without harassment; and the intimidation of journalists by the state or other actors, including arbitrary detention and imprisonment, violent assaults, and other threats are measured 5. The scale freedom of the media consists of the following items: 1.1. Freedom of the press (Institutional Profiles Database) Original Score Ranked 0 to 4 0 indicates no rights guaranteeing freedoms or their respect 1 indicates little freedom of press (if there are rights) 4 indicates substantial freedom (if there are rights) 4 5/9/ /9/13. 8

9 Recoded by 10*(Variable/4) 1.2. State control of content of information (Institutional Profiles Database) Original Score Scored 1 to 4 1 indicates that information is tightly controlled by the State 4 indicates little or no control of information by the State Recoded by 10*(Variable-1/3) 1.3. Laws and regulations that influence media content (Freedom House) Original Score Ranked 0 to 30 0 indicates no restrictions 30 indicates restrictions Recoded by 10-(10*(Variable)/(30)) 1.4. Political pressures and controls on media content (Freedom House) Original Score Ranked 0 to 40 0 indicates no restrictions 40 indicates restrictions Recoded by 10-(10*(Variable)/(40)) 2. Freedom of Religion Freedom of religion is a core feature of liberty as religious belief is essentially a personal and private matter over which the individual should exercise control and choice (Trenerry and Webster 2011: 3). But does religion still matter today, particularly in industrial nations where secularization seems to gain ground more and more? Norris and Inglehart (2011: 5) posit two different trends: 1. The publics of virtually all advanced industrial societies have been moving toward more secular orientations during the past fifty years. Nevertheless, 2. The world as a whole now has more people with traditional religious views than ever before and they constitute a growing proportion of the world s population. 9

10 Given this societal importance, restrictions of religious freedom lead to a lot of negative ramifications (Klocker, Trenerry & Webster 2011: 3): Religious discrimination may also be associated with a range of other negative social and economic impacts including reduced social cohesion and social connection, and reduced morale and productivity in the workplace and education. The scale Freedom of Religion in this index consists of six indicators. One item is taken from the CIRI Human Rights Data Project (CIRI). Two PEW items were taken from the Government Restriction Index (GRI) and three from the Social Hostility Index (SHI). While the PEW items measure one restricting feature of religious freedom, CIRI items are multidimensional. They mix different issues up in one item such as the freedom of religious practices and the freedom of proselytizing. The Freedom of Religion scale consists of the following items: 2.1. Religious liberty (CIRI Human Rights Data Project) Original Score Ranked 0 to 2 0 indicates that government restrictions on religious practices are severe and widespread 1 indicates such practices are moderate 2 indicates such practices are practically absent Recoded by 10*(Variable/2) 2.2. Harassment of religious groups (Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life) Original Score Ranked 0 to 1 0 indicates no intimidation 0.5 indicates yes there was limited intimidation 1 indicates yes there was intimidation Recoded by 10-10*Variable 2.3. Force toward religious groups (Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life) Original Score Ranked 0 to 1 (Scale 0, 0.2, 0.4, 0.6, 0.8, 1) 10

11 Recoded by 10-10*Variable 2.4. Domination of public life (Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life) Original Score Ranked 0 to 1 0 indicates no 0.33 indicates yes, at the local level 0.67 indicates yes, at the region level 1 indicates yes, at the national level Recoded by 10-10*Variable 2.5. Hostility over proselytizing (Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life) Original Score Ranked 0 to 1 0 indicates no 0.5 indicates yes, but they felt short on physical violence 1 indicates yes Recoded by 10-10*Variable 2.6. Hostility over conversions (Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life) Original Score Ranked 0 to 1 0 indicates no 0.5 indicates yes, but they felt short on physical violence, 1 indicates yes Recoded by 10-10*Variable 3. Freedom of Movement Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. (Art. 13, UDHR (1948)) 11

12 In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the key statements of freedom of movement consider the right of every citizen to move freely within their own country and/or to travel in and out of their country. So [ ] freedom of movement combines a right of exit, a right of entry, and a right to stay (Bauböck 2009: 9). Freedom of movement is a fundamental form of liberty and its restriction is usually considered as severe punishment. Putting people into prison or restricting their space of movement belongs to the typical sanctions for deviant behavior. If people s movement is restricted, they can t enjoy the benefits of living and moving freely in an area of freedom, security and justice (Carrera 2005: 702). Without the right to move freely a person may also be prevented from following their own aims, e.g. by practicing their religion or exercising their profession. Ideally a state has to guarantee the right of free movement at any time to secure peoples individual autonomy (Bauböck 2009). Despite its individual value, freedom of movement always refers to a political dimension. A wellknown example for this case is the situation of the Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia 6. While he is arrested for his alleged delicts, Liu Xia isn t allowed to leave her apartment. Restrictions of the freedom of movement are a frequent form of political repression. These and similar aspects of movement restrictions are picked up in the Scale Freedom of Movement. The scale consists of indicators which refer to the conditions of moving into/from or through countries. The opportunity to move freely is a basic element of personal freedom and it is a preposition for general personal decisions such as where to live or where to work. In this vein, the nationality of a person becomes important because of different political and social conditions in national states which regulate the liberties of living and working. According the Schengen agreement are EU citizens able to travel in the European Union with less restriction (visa-free) compared to a non-citizen. Since the permission of the destination state for entering is usually needed, restrictions of movement across borders can be quantified by assessing the difficulties to get a visa. The indicator visa restrictions measures exactly this feature and is, therefore, integrated as a part of the Freedom of Movement subscale. 6 Besuch-bei-Liu-Xia, 4/16/

13 The scale freedom of movement consists of the following items: 3.1. Freedom of movement of nationals (Institutional Profiles Database) Original Score Ranked 1 to 4 1 indicates no freedom 2 indicates restricted freedom with very strict conditions 3 indicates freedom restricted to certain nationalities 4 indicates total freedom of movement Recoded by 10*(Variable-1/3) 3.2. Freedom of movement of foreigners (Institutional Profiles Database) Original Score Ranked 1 to 4 1 indicates no freedom 2 indicates restricted freedom with very strict conditions 3 indicates freedom restricted to certain nationalities 4 indicates total freedom of movement Recoded by 10*(Variable-1/3) 3.3. Freedom of foreign movement (CIRI Human Rights Data Project) Original Score Ranked 0 to 2 0 indicates that this freedom was severely restricted 1 indicates the freedom was somewhat restricted 2 indicates unrestricted freedom of foreign movement Recoded by 10*(Variable/2) 3.4. Visa Restrictions (Henley and Partners Visa Restrictions Index) Original Score Ranked 0 to

14 Recoded by The higher the score the less a person has restrictions of travel freedom. 10*(Variable/max. value) 166 = max. value (2010) = max. value (Average score 2006, 2008) 4. Freedom of Association Abraham Lincoln once called 'the right of the people peaceably to assemble' part of 'the Constitutional substitute for revolution'. (Inazu 2009: 565). Similar to the freedom to move is the freedom of association a basic liberty in every society. It is also a basic element of social networks which are relevant for the societal economic, political and cultural activities. Swire (2012) highlights the key feature of social networks to foster political association at the grassroots level. Two most recent examples jump to the mind: the 2011 Arab Spring in Egypt with the Facebook Revolution which led to the resignation of President Mubarak. And the 2008 Obama campaign, whose outreach and mobilization was led by a co-founder of Facebook (Swire 2012: 102). When looking up the existing data data on freedom of association, one can determine that these are incomplete and flawed, partly because they focus almost exclusively on whether the rights exist, without regard to practice (Kuruvilla, Hossain & Berger 2010: 2). As a result, the freedom of association scale in this index includes four indicators which all try to measure the freedom of association by rights and in practice. Freedom of association is a capacious liberty (Alexander 2008: 1) because it refers to several different points: Freedom of association, as I understand it, refers to the liberty a person possesses to enter into relationships with others for any and all purposes, for a momentary or long-term duration, by contract, consent, or acquiescence. It likewise refers to the liberty to refuse to enter into such relationships or to terminate them when not otherwise compelled by one's voluntary assumption of an obligation to maintain the relationship. Freedom of associate on thus is a quite capacious liberty. 14

15 The four items of the freedom of association scale are taken from two different sources: the CIRI Human Rights Data Project (CIRI) and the Institutional Profiles Database (IPD). Two of these indicators refer to the freedom of association in a more general context (e.g. assembly or demonstration) and two focus on a special issue (e.g. freedom of association in NGOs or operating autonomy of organizations). The scale of association consists of the following items: 4.1. Freedom of association (formal and informal NGOs) (Institutional Profiles Database) Original Score Ranked 0 to 4 0 indicates no rights guaranteeing freedoms or their respect 1 indicates little freedom of association (if there are rights) 4 indicates substantial freedom (if there are rights) Recoded by 10*(Variable/4) 4.2. Freedom of assembly and demonstration (Institutional Profiles Database) Original Score Ranked 0 to 4 0 indicates no rights guaranteeing freedoms or their respect 1 indicates little freedom of assembly and demonstration (if there are rights) 4 indicates substantial freedom (if there are rights) Recoded by 10*(Variable/4) 4.3. Freedom of assembly & association (CIRI Human Rights Data Project) Original Score Ranked 0 to 2 15

16 Recoded by 0 indicates that freedom of assembly or association were severely restricted or denied completely to all citizens 1 indicates that these rights were limited for all citizens or severely restricted or denied for select groups 2 indicates that these rights were virtually unrestricted and freely enjoyed by practically all citizens 10*(Variable/2) 4.4. Operating autonomy of organizations (only educational, sports and cultural organizations) (Institutional Profiles Database) Original Score Ranked 1 to 4 1 indicates no operating autonomy in practice 4 indicates total autonomy Recoded by 10*(Variable-1/3) 5. Modern Information We are living in an information society, where the distribution of information rather than the distribution of goods has become increasingly important (Mohan 2012: 1) While the Freedom of the media scale provides quantifications about restrictions of information supply, the Modern Information scale refers to data about restrictions of information demand. As such, this scale highlights a fundamental aspect of modern Information Societies in which information becomes a crucial element in all social domains (Mansell 2004). In an increasingly globalizing world, it becomes necessary for people to be informed about national and international issues activities, and events. For this, the access to national and international broadcasting and press media is significant. This traditional way of getting information is still the most important one when serious and reliable information are demanded. But also the internet as a new source of information gains more and more relevance. Getting information by web-based sources is easy and cheap. As a result, the restriction to access the 16

17 internet is a strong reduction of personal freedom. Some governments have found it necessary to intervene and impose restrictions on internet access due to political, religious or ethical reasons. An example for this procedure is Chinas Great Firewall. Censorship is also strongly conducted by states which Reporters Without Borders (2013) call Enemies of the Internet : Syria, Iran, Bahrain, and Vietnam. Even when an open internet tends to be more frequent in European and Anglo-American states, these countries also try to regulate internet access and use. A current example is the attempt to ratify the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Amnesty International (2012) criticizes that the pact's content, process, and institutional structure impact in a number of ways on human rights especially the rights to due process, privacy, freedom of information, freedom of expression, and access to essential medicines. For Reporters Without Borders (2013), this systematic surveillance is a rising danger. In their view, the internet should be a free place for exchanging information, content and opinions without any form of site blocking and content filtering (cf. RWB 2013). The actions against censorship vary by organization. Some focus mainly on reporting illegitimate government interventions (GetUp!, Reporters Without Borders) while others try to influence government decisions (Global Network Integrity). Governmental intervention does not only restrict freedom of information but also repress internet users (cf. RWB 2009). As a consequence people were obstructed to develop new ways of seeing the world around them (Mansell 2004: 3). In order to integrate these aspects into a scale about Modern Information, a composite item was created by merging data from three different sources OpenNet Initiative, Freedom on the Net and Global Integrity. These organizations investigate and report internet filtering and surveillance practices by nations. Before computing the composite item, the compatibility of the data were tested by reliability analysis. The scale Modern Information was created by combining the composite item with items from the Institutional Profiles Database. Internet censorship is a rather new field of research. As data were not available before 2009, the Modern Information scale is only available for the years

18 The scale of Modern Information consists of the following items: 5.1. Freedom of internet access (Institutional Profiles Database) Original Score Ranked 1 to 4 1 indicates no freedom 4 indicates total freedom of internet access Recoded by 10*(Variable-1/3) 5.2. Freedom of access to foreign press (no seizures, etc.) (Institutional Profiles Database) Original Score Ranked 1 to 4 1 indicates no freedom 4 indicates total freedom of access to foreign press Recoded by 10*(Variable-1/3) 5.3. State control over Internet access (Institutional Profiles Database) Original Score Ranked 1 to 4 1 indicates extremely tight restrictions 4 indicates totally free access Recoded by 10*(Variable-1/3) 5.4. Composite Item Internet censorship 1. In practice, the government does not prevent citizens from accessing content published online (Global Integrity) Original Score Recoded by Ranked 0 to 100 (from Freedom to no Freedom) 10*(Variable/100) 2. In practice, the government does not censor citizens creating content online 18

19 (Global Integrity) Original Score Ranked 0 to 100 (from Freedom to no Freedom) Recoded by 10*(Variable/100) 3. Obstacles to Access - including governmental efforts to block specific applications or technologies; infrastructural and economic barriers to access; and legal and ownership control over internet and mobile-phone access providers (Freedom on the Net) Original Score Ranked 0 to 25 (from Freedom to no Freedom) Recoded by 10-(10*(Variable/25)) 4. Limits on Content - including filtering and blocking of websites; other forms of censorship and self-censorship; manipulation of content; the diversity of online news media; and usage of digital media for social and political activism. (Freedom on the Net) Original Score Ranked 0 to 35 (from Freedom to no Freedom) Recoded by 10-(10*(Variable/35)) 5. Political: This category is focused primarily on Web sites that express views in opposition to those of the current government. Content more broadly related to human rights, freedom of expression, minority rights, and religious movements is also considered here (OpenNet Initiative) Original Score Ranked 0 to 4 0 indicates free/no filtering 1 indicates suspected filtering 2 indicates selective filtering 3 indicates substantial filtering 4 indicates unfree/pervasive filtering Recoded by 10-(10*(Variable/4)) 19

20 6. Internet tools: Web sites that provide , Internet hosting, search, translation, Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone service, and circumvention methods are (OpenNet Initiative) Original Score Recoded by Ranked 0 to 4 (from no filtering to pervasive filtering; see above) 10-(10*(Variable/4)) 7. Conflict/security: Content related to armed conflicts, border disputes, separatist movements, and militant groups is included in this category (OpenNet Initiative) Original Score Recoded by Ranked 0 to 4 (from no filtering to pervasive filtering; see above) 10-(10*(Variable/4)) 20

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