Democracy

Sri Lanka-Japan: Return of Old Friends

On May 24, Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe arrived on a three-day official visit to Japan, his second visit to the country, having attended the State funeral of former prime minister Shinzo Abe last September.

Thailand’s Opposition Prepares for Office Despite Military Resistance

Thailand is heading to the edge of the precipice as conservative and military forces could possibly refuse to recognise the will of the people, as expressed in one of the country's biggest election upsets.

How Wagner Group, Mercenaries With a Wider Agenda, Impact Civil Society

The Wagner Group, a shadowy mercenary group that has been operating for many years in African countries such as Sudan, Mali, the Central African Republic, and other mainly Francophone countries, has again been thrust into the limelight due to its involvement in the Ukraine war on behalf of Russia.

Thailand: Time for Democracy

Thailand’s voters have spoken. In the 14 May general election, they overwhelmingly backed change. Two major opposition parties won 293 seats in the 500-member House of Representatives.

State-Sponsored Killings Rise to Record Highs

When the Taliban captured power back in 1996, one of its first political acts was to hang the ousted Afghan President Mohammed Najibullah in Ariana Square Kabul. Fast forward to 15 August 2021, when the Taliban, in its second coming, assumed power ousting the US-supported government of Ashraf Ghani, a former official of the World Bank, armed with a doctorate in anthropology from one of the most prestigious Ivy League educational institutions: Columbia University.

What does Imran Khan’s Arrest, Protests Mean for Pakistan?

The arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan on alleged corruption charges has led to the deterioration of law and order with attacks on army offices for the first time since the country came into being in 1947.

USAID Offers Protection to Journalists & NGOs Facing Defamation Lawsuits

The world’s news media -- both under authoritarian regimes and democratic governments-- continue to come under relentless attacks and political harassment.

Safeguarding the Future of Independent Media – & Our Democracies

There’s a now familiar groan every time the lights go out in South Africa. Due to a critical shortage of electricity, the national power utility institutes a daily regimen of scheduled power cuts.

UN Plan of Action on Safety of Journalists

Freedom of the press is the cornerstone of democratic society. Without a debate of ideas, without verified facts, without diversity of perspectives, democracy is a shadow of itself; and World Press Freedom Day was established to remind us of this.

A Proposal for a UN Freedom of Information Act Never Got Off the Ground

The United Nations has consistently been a vociferous advocate of freedom of the press – and, most importantly, the right of journalists to report without fear of reprisals. But regrettably, the UN is also one of most opaque institutions where transparency is never the norm.

Fiji: Deeper Democracy or Continuing Danger?

It’s been a time of significant change in Fiji following the country’s December 2022 election. A close vote was followed by the formation of a new coalition government. Frank Bainimarama was out as prime minister after 16 years, replaced by Sitiveni Rabuka.

Sudan Conflict Marks Failure of Transition Plan

The current fighting in Sudan marks the failure of supposed processes for transition to democratic rule. The international community needs to learn the lessons of this catastrophe and work with civil society.

“Trigger-Happy” Laws Expand in Latin America

Violence involving organized crime has made Latin America the most dangerous region in the world and has helped paved the way for a repressive kind of populism with a dangerous future, whose most visible symbol is Nayib Bukele, the president of El Salvador.

Should Internet Access be Declared a Basic Human Right?

The United Nations defines human rights as “rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status”.

Russia’s Press Freedom ‘Worst Since the Cold War’ – Analysts

The arrest of a US journalist in Russia has not only sent a chilling warning to foreign reporters in the country but is a sign of the Kremlin’s desire to ultimately stifle any dissent in the state, press freedom watchdogs have warned.

The Saudis’ New Geostrategic Doctrine

The resumption of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and the Saudis’ diplomatic overtures toward Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, are part and parcel of the Saudis’ overall reassessment of their geostrategic interests, which rest on three distinctives goals: regional stability, exerting greater regional and international influence, and uninterrupted oil exports. These three fundamental goals are tightly linked and are within the Saudis’ reach.

Cuba: Elections Without Choices

The uncertainty that’s the hallmark of a democratic election was absent on 26 March, the day Cubans were summoned to appoint members of the National Assembly of People’s Power, the country’s legislative body. A vote did take place that day – people went to the polls and put a ballot in a box. But was this really an election? Cubans weren’t able to choose their representatives – their only option was to ratify those selected to stand, or abstain.

CIVICUS Report Exposes a Civil Society Under Attack

As conflict and crises escalate to create human emergencies that have displaced over 100 million people worldwide, civil society’s vital role of advocating for victims and monitoring human rights cannot be over-emphasised.

Bahrain’s Botched Whitewashing Attempt

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), an organisation whose motto is ‘For democracy. For everyone’, just held its global assembly in a country with a mock parliament and not the slightest semblance of democracy. For Bahrain’s authoritarian leaders, the hosting of the IPU assembly was yet another reputation-laundering opportunity: a week before, they’d hosted Formula One’s opening race.

Civil Society a Vital Force for Change Against the Odds

Brave protests against women’s second-class status in Iran; the mass defence of economic rights in the face of a unilateral presidential decision in France; huge mobilisations to resist government plans to weaken the courts in Israel: all these have shown the willingness of people to take public action to stand up for human rights.

Press Freedom on Trial in Zimbabwe Ahead of Elections

With only a few months to go before national elections in Zimbabwe, press freedom advocates are raising concerns about stringent reporting conditions set by the government.

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