Why are the unfree regimes of the former Soviet world proving so durable? A lack of ideology and—perhaps surprisingly—a degree of openness are proving to be not so much problems for authoritarianism as bulwarks of it.
Volume 22, Issue 2
The past decade began at a high point for freedom but ended with freedom in peril. Yet the setbacks of the last five years do not outweigh the democratic gains of the last forty.
Chinese authoritarianism has deftly adapted to the Internet Age, employing various forms of technological controls. China’s brand of networked authoritarianism serves as a model for other regimes, such as those of Iran and Russia.
In China, the Internet is not merely contested space between citizen and government. It is also a catalyst for social and political transformation, offering the possibility of better governance with greater citizen participation.
Paradoxically, the rising profile of “liberation technology” may push Internet-control efforts into nontechnological areas—imprisonment rather than censorship, for example—for which there is no easy technical “fix.”
Dilma Rousseff won the 2010 presidential election as the handpicked successor of a towering political personality. Now she must assert firm sway over a ruling party and coalition to which she has remarkably slender ties, and face new challenges that her country cannot meet with “more of the same.”
Wracked by postelection violence in 2007 and 2008, Kenya embarked upon a course of constitutional change that culminated in an August 2010 referendum. How was the new basic law framed and passed, and what will it mean for democracy in this key East African country?
Even before Argentina’s landmark gay-marriage law was passed in July 2010, a gay-rights revolution was well underway across Latin America. But do gay rights by law equal acceptance of gays in practice?
In late 2010, not long before seismic political change was to erupt across the Middle East, Jordan held parliamentary elections. Officials were eager to present these as a fresh start, but a closer look tells a different tale.
Having only recently emerged from a prolonged and remarkably bitter civil war, Sri Lanka is now slipping steadily under the hardening authoritarian control of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family.
Are laws guaranteeing citizens freedom of access to public information (FOI laws) among the most important democratic innovations of the last century?
Once dismissed as an “overcrowded barracoon,” this Indian Ocean island nation has more recently been hailed as one of Africa’s “emerging success stories,” but the truth is that some troublesome shadings haunt this rosy picture.
A review of Witness to Transformation: Refugee Insights into North Korea by Marcus Noland and Stephan Haggard.
Reports on recent elections in Belarus, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Haiti, Kosovo, Niger, Samoa, and Uganda.
Excerpts from the “Roadmap for a Nation of Rights and the Rule of Law” issued by a group of 13 Egyptian NGOs together as the Forum of Independent Human Rights Organizations. Egypt On February 12, after Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak stepped down following weeks of protests against his rule, the Forum of Independent Human Rights…