Guide to DEMOCRACY - A Tool for Human Rights, Peace & Development
The word democracy was created from two Greek words - ‘Demos’, meaning people or citizen, and ‘Kratos’, meaning power or rule. Our informative ➡️ platform for democracy highlights the importance of citizen participation, our individual freedoms, transparency, inclusion, and fairness.
With over 1,700 resources on the most important themes in democracy, we believe that true democracies are the key to achieving social justice, providing fundamental human rights to all citizens, securing sustainable economic and social development, and the creation of stable and peaceful international relations.
Democracy is challenged by corruption, greed, censorship, political divisions, the media, and unequal access to education, resources, and reliable information. Better world Info offers free access to key democracy news portals, websites, books, and initiatives which support democracy in these ever-challenging times. Find information on the history of democracy, enemies of democracy, and philanthropic foundations.
Find information on different types of democracy – participatory, grassroots, social, and deliberative. Search through excellent democracy initiatives in your country and uncover some historic examples of what true democracy looks like.
We raise awareness and promote days such as International Day of Democracy where the global state of democracy is reviewed, and goals are recommitted to make democracy a reality for everyone, everywhere. We recommend following our excellent Twitter list on Democracy for critical analysis and updates from rights and freedom advocates, activists, NGOs, and civil rights experts.
For related topics be sure to check out our guides to Politics, Human Rights, Social Justice, Real News, and Education. We invite German speakers to visit our partner site Bessere Welt Info and the category Demokratie for 900 links to the world of democracy from a European perspective.
"Peace cannot exist without justice, justice cannot exist without fairness, fairness cannot exist without development, development cannot exist without democracy, democracy cannot exist without respect for the identity and worth of cultures and peoples."
Rigoberta Menchú Tum, K'iche' Guatemalan human rights activist, feminist, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
Citizen Empowerment - Driving Democracy Forward
Political education and citizen engagement are essential tools in a democratic society. Learn about the famous historic initiatives that have fought for our rights such as the Occupy Movement and the Suffragettes ‘Vote for Women’ campaign.
Without informed citizens, society loses their ability to make choices in accordance with their own interests. Democracy requires active participation including voting and civic engagement.
One of the biggest challenges to democracy that we face is political apathy. For example, in the U.S. 2020 presidential election only 62% of citizens of voting age cast their ballet, this was the highest voter turnout since 1960! Levels of apathy in young people is even worse, during the UK 2019 General Election voter turnout for people aged 18-24 was just 47%.
Countries which have higher levels of democracy and freedoms produce governments which are accountable to their citizens and more responsive to their needs. An informed population can make smart political decisions.
Poor governance leaves a legacy for decades. It is a key driver of poverty, inequality, inflation, unemployment, weak economic growth, violent conflict, rights violations, and the failure of important social provisions such as healthcare and education.
Upholding democracy in developing countries is especially important where citizens tend to be less empowered, educated, and politically engaged. Fragile states and weak governance breed corruption, repression, rights violations, and the risk of coups is greater.
Learn about key issues in democracy from a development perspective such as social accountability, women’s political participation, and economic development. Open governance embraces the concepts of transparency and integrity. Through freedom of information, it ensures citizens know exactly what their government is doing. Discover the many opportunities for reform and progress including decentralisation, participatory governance, eGovernance, and much more.
Is Democracy for Sale? - Key Democratic Issues
The suppression of information is one of today's biggest threats to democracy. In countries such as North Korea, Eritrea, Russia, China, and Myanmar, citizens are intentionally left uninformed and misinformed. This type of attack on freedom of information promotes corrupt political leadership and is a violation of our rights.
Worldwide one journalist is killed every 5 days, just for bringing critical information to the public. Attacks on local journalists are often by militias and police. Those who are not killed, often face harassment, intimidation, and arbitrary detention.
The cornerstones of democracy rely on transparency, impartiality, equality, and sovereignty. When repression, corruption, campaign funding by the rich, and under the table bribes to politicians are tolerated, democracy simply cannot exist.
Citizens rely on a free and independent press to relay the facts, expose injustices, and to hold those in power responsible for governmental failures. We have collated the very best Real News platforms where truth is prioritised over political narratives, propaganda, and corporate dominance. Search through our alternative media resource to find news in your country, investigative journalism, and censored and under reported stories.
We also explore the online world of filter bubbles, fake news, and the impact of social media on democracy. Algorithms act as an information filter, and expose us to the risks of data harvesting and microtargeting of voters. The infamous case of the Cambridge-Analytica Facebook scandal exposed how democracy is compromised when we lose control of our personal data.
Learn how the hacking and disinformation group Team Jorge is under investigation for the covert manipulation of 33 presidential elections around the world. The Israeli owned private contractors used an army of fake profiles on social media to profit from the undermining of democracy.
Net neutrality is vitally important in ensuring our rights are upheld. Famously in 2017, Trump attempted to rollback regulations allowing internet providers to block or slow down access to certain online content. An attempt which thankfully did not succeed. Find information on your digital rights, internet freedom, and the open-source movement.
The rise of Right-wing Populism, Nationalism and Fascism
The Donald Trump victory in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, Brexit, the rise of Hindu Nationalism in India, the de facto annexation of the occupied West Bank by Israel, the destruction of the Brazilian Amazon, and the anti-immigration and LGBTQI+ policies implemented in Hungary, are all examples of extreme right-wing narratives which undermine democracy, and work against the people and their best interests.
The notion of restoring national sovereignty breeds prejudice, ignorance, the undermining of human rights, conflict, xenophobia, and racism. The kind of leadership we have seen from Donald Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu, Narendra Modi, Jair Bolsonaro, and Viktor Orbán have served to weaken defence mechanisms for our freedoms, the rule of law, tolerance, social institutions, and pluralism.
Military Coups and Democracy - Power vs Freedom
A major threat to democracy, coups directly undermine the democratic choices of the citizens, popular sovereignty, and majority rule. Military takeovers usually lead to the suspension of constitutional rights and liberties, disrupting the normal functioning of democratic institutions and processes.
The removal of these rights and protective mechanisms often result in autocracy, instability, fear, and violence. They are a major cause of displacement and have devastating humanitarian consequences for the people.
A coup occurs when an elected leader and their government is illegally overthrown by the military or other government elites, they are often driven by territorial disputes and internal conflicts. Coups almost always lead to greater repression and authoritarianism.
Autocratic leaderships although not in power through force, undermine the very institutions that brought them to office. They openly embrace corruption, fraud, repression, control of the media, and undermine fair elections and democracy to remain in power.
For reliable information on Politics search our country-by-country guide and find stand-out election resources on the UK, the U.S. and Europe. We feature important information for voters on key parties, politicians, voter suppression, dirty campaigning, falsehoods, campaign finance, and everything you need to make an informed decision. Find excellent guides to the recent controversial Thai election, and the chaos surrounding the 2023 ballot in Spain.
Democracy for a Better World
Democracy leads the path to security, stability, and prosperity. By providing a free and open information platform on key political and democratic issues we hope to raise awareness and provide a space for experts and activists to network and share their knowledge.
If we remove political leaning and bias from classrooms and society, civic education can focus objectively on institutions and concepts which will foster a greater interest in politics and encourage young people to be active citizens.
Governments would become more diverse and inclusive, and election results would reflect the opinions of a wider sector of society due to higher voter turnouts. Political understanding also enables us to hold our governments accountable for poor decisions, and demand positive change.
It is proven that education and democracy are connected. Higher levels of education raises civic participation and the support for democracy over dictatorships. Revolutions are much more likely when citizens are empowered, and anti-democratic coups become less likely to succeed.
We must not allow democratic institutions to be weakened. We must fight for free and fair elections as well as peaceful transitions of power. Finally, we must ensure that journalists and whistle-blowers are protected and that their stories are heard.
“If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” - George Washington
Author: Rachael Mellor, 03.08.23 licensed under CC BY-ND 4.0
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Featured Organisation of the Month
World Alliance for Citizen Participation
An international alliance of civil society organizations that works to strengthen citizen action & civil society throughout the world. CIVICUS has a vision for a global community consisting of active, engaged citizens committed to creating a more just and equitable world.