Democracy

Which Way Now for Zimbabwe as Constitutional Court Receives Petition Against Election Results?

Many in Zimbabwe are questioning whether the country can break with its horrid past or embrace a new future after a watershed election that saw Emmerson Mnangagwa win the presidential race by a narrow margin and the opposition lodge a formal petition challenging the results in the Constitutional Court.

Campaigns Promote Women’s Participation in Latin America

An alternative network in Brazil promotes women's participation in elected offices with media support. This campaign, like others in Latin America, seeks to reverse a political landscape where, despite being a majority of the population, women hold an average of just 29.8 percent of legislative posts.

Laws and Threats Undermine Freedom of Expression in Honduras

A series of laws that came into force in the last five years and the petition for amparo by 35 journalists and 22 social communicators against the government's "Secrecy Law" give an idea of the atmosphere in Honduras with regard to freedom of expression.

Trump’s Attacks on Media Violate Basic Norms of Press Freedom, Human Rights Experts say

U.S. President Donald Trump’s repeated attacks on the free press are strategic, designed to undermine confidence in reporting and raise doubts about verifiable facts. The President has labelled the media as being the “enemy of the American people” “very dishonest” or “fake news,” and accused the press of “distorting democracy” or spreading “conspiracy theories and blind hatred”.

Zimbabwe’s Election of Great Expectations

Counting is underway today across Zimbabwe as the country voted in an historic election on Jul. 30, which many expect will bring political and economic transformation. It is a long-awaited change for many after autocratic leader, Robert Mugabe, was ousted in a soft coup in November 2017 after 37 years in power.

Pakistan’s Vote – a Loud and Clear Message that People Want Democracy at Any Cost

Voters in Pakistan’s general election outrightly rejected political parties with extremism records and candidates linked to banned terrorist groups, opting instead to back liberal forces in a support for peace.

After Elections, Hard Work Starts for Zimbabwe’s Civil Society

For many Zimbabwean voters, casting their ballots on July 30 is sure to be a somewhat surreal experience. For the first time since the country’s independence, the ever-present face of Robert Mugabe will not be staring back at them on the ballot paper.

Silence from Judiciary Increases Self-Censorship, Pakistan’s Journalists say

When it comes to the military and the judiciary, Pakistan's journalists are "between a rock and a hard place," Zohra Yusuf, of the independent non-profit Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, told CPJ.

Half of the Young People from Poor Central American Neighbourhoods Want to Migrate

La Carpio is an island of poverty on the outskirts of Costa Rica's capital, surrounded by the country's most polluted waters – the Torres River - on one side and a massive garbage dump on the other.

We Cannot Look Away From the Crisis in Nicaragua

Just 40 years after the Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza dictatorship, a severe crisis grips Nicaragua. Most Nicaraguans want nothing more than to see President Daniel Ortega, who has been in office now for eleven years, disappear from the political scene.  Hivos, headquartered in The Hague, believes the Netherlands should use its membership in the UN Security Council to prevent a civil war and bring about a peaceful transition.

The Industrialization of Cybercrime

Cybercrime is now a mature industry operating on principles much like those of legitimate businesses in pursuit of profit. Combating the proliferation of cybercrime means disrupting a business model that employs easy-to-use tools to generate high profits with low risk.

Social Media – the New Testing Ground for Sri Lanka’s Freedom

Journalists and media activists have cautioned against Sri Lanka’s newfound press freedom as the country heads to the polls in 2020. Separate incidents of hate-speech against a Muslim minority—and the subsequent shutdown of social media platforms—and the harassment of reporters critical of the country’s opposition have led some to believe that the changes in media independence could reverse.

United Nations Compact Must End Child Detention

World leaders must commit to ending child migrant detention during United Nations negotiations next week, a human rights group said.

The Voice of Argentina’s Slums, Under Threat

Between the dimly-lit, narrow alleyways of Villa 21, only 30 minutes by bus from the centre of the Argentine capital, more than 50,000 people live in poverty. It was there that La Garganta Poderosa (which means powerful throat), the magazine that gave a voice to the "villeros" or slum-dwellers and whose members today feel threatened, emerged in 2010.

Church and Conflict in South Sudan

Throughout fifty years of struggles, South Sudan’s different churches have remained one of the country’s few stable institutions, and in their workings toward peace, have displayed a level of inter-religious cooperation rarely seen in the world. 

Democratic regression: The “English” turn

Gideon Rose made an astute observation in editing the May/June 2018 Foreign Affairs cover story on the current “democratic regression”. “We have seen this movie before,” he quoted a Latin friend of his on the concurrent predicament, “just never in English.” That may be the missing element behind this “regression”: populism may be a popular explanation, since it brings to the fore many of the disturbing developments within mature democratic countries; stalled economic growth in these same countries also finds immense currency as a democracy detractor; historically-bent scholars never miss the beat to push the cliché that what goes up (for example, whatever led Francis Fukuyama to proclaim an “end of history” in the early 1990s), must eventually not only come down, but also begin climbing again. And so the story goes.

Trump is Here to Stay and Change the World

Donald John Trump, 45th and current president of the United States, has been seen in many illustrious circles as an anomaly that cannot last. Well, it is time to look at reality.If we put on the glasses of people who have seen their level of income reduced and are afraid of the future, Trump is here to stay, and he is a result and not a cause.

Ethiopia to Return Land in Bid for Peace with Eritrea

The utterly inconsequential-looking Ethiopian border town of Badme is where war broke out in 1998 between Ethiopia and Eritrea, lasting two years and devastating both countries. 

From Fake News to a Fake Death

When news broke on May 29th that journalist Arkady Babchenko had been murdered in Ukraine, serious questions about the safety of journalists in the country were raised.

Kenya Can End the Moral Indignity of Child Labour

On 12 June every year is the World Day Against Child Labour. In the world's poorest countries, around one in four children are engaged in work that is potentially harmful to their health.

How Democracies Die and Economies Grow

There are two prominent themes of contemporary development discourses, both lacking a consensus, as reflected in academic research and in their popular versions in bestseller books. One of these is about finding the reasons for the decline of democracies since the late 1980s and the early 1990s when the erstwhile military rule and dictatorships gave way to democratically elected regimes in many developing countries. A representative book on this is Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes After the Cold War by Steven Levitsky and Lucan A Way. Levitsky has also recently co-authored another bestseller, How Democracies Die, with his Harvard University colleague Daniel Ziblatt. The second theme is about how the quality of governance could explain why some countries economically prosper and others do not. On this, one of the best-known books is Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, co-authored by two well-known political economy experts, Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson. The two themes, though interrelated, are quite distinct, and much confusion is created by not recognising these as such.

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