Democracy undone: the global rise of populist authoritarianism

Posted on Sunday February 10 2019

by the GroundTruth Project

 

BOSTON  One third of the world’s people now live in countries that are becoming less democratic, including India, the United States, Brazil, Colombia, Russia, Turkey, Israel, Thailand, Ukraine, Hungary and Poland.  According to the latest annual Freedom in the World report by the NGO Freedom House, global freedom has declined for the last 13 years, in what they call a “democratic recession.” “Of the 41 countries that were consistently ranked Free from 1985 to 2005, 22 have registered net score declines in the last five years,” says the report, with the trend now reaching traditional, established, democracies.

The driving force? Populist authoritarianism, say scholars and authors like Joshua Kurlantzick, Vikram J. Singh and Max Boot.   “The rise of populist authoritarianism is perhaps the greatest threat we face as a world right now. It is eroding democratic institutions in so many corners of the world and here in the United States. We ignore this threat at our own peril,” said Max Boot, an American conservative who has been among the vanguard of those sounding the alarm on this issue.

As Kurlantzick writes, autocratic populists “win democratic elections and then undermine democratic institutions and norms without becoming outright dictators.” These efforts take different forms, including harassment or imprisonment of civil society leaders, attacks against the press, restrictions on civil liberties, erosion of democratic norms as well as tacit and sometimes overt condoning of violence and hate crimes. All are fueled by nationalist and xenophobic rhetoric distributed on social media platforms.

At the same time, some scholars and policymakers are taking a careful look at how the current global economic order is pushing societies toward populism and a new generation of human rights advocates are stepping up to try to turn the tide.

As part of its commitment to reporting on rising global authoritarianism, GroundTruth is offering five, 2-month reporting fellowships for emerging journalists to report these issues in-depth. We are looking for talented, emerging journalists from around the world to be part of this project, and we invite applications from any medium. But please note this special coverage will be the basis for the 2019 season of the GroundTruth Podcast, so all candidates (even those for whom audio is not their primary medium) should include clear and detailed ideas for how they will convey the reporting using evocative and compelling audio.  Past podcasting experience is not required. If you have never worked in audio, we will have producers and editors who will help you execute in the field.

With new support from the MacArthur Foundation and in close collaboration with major publishing outlets, GroundTruth will be able to offer $10,000 to each fellow to cover a project budget for travel/lodging expenses, risk assessment, insurance and training as well as compensation for stories and podcast episodes produced.

Fellowship candidates are asked to apply via Submittable by March 17.

Upcoming Speakers

View all speakers past and present »

Announcements

Democracy undone: the global rise of populist authoritarianism

Posted on Sunday February 10

by the GroundTruth Project   BOSTON — One third of the world’s people now live in countries that are becoming less democratic, including India, the United States, Brazil, Colombia, Russia, Turkey, Israel, Thailand, Ukraine, Hungary and Poland.  According to the latest annual Freedom in the World report by the NGO Freedom House, global freedom has declined for […]

Read full announcement »

Amb. Mendelson’s Slides Available Here

Posted on Monday October 29

Click the “Read Full Announcement” link below and then  to download the Slides that Ambassador Sarah Mendelson used in her October 29 presentation:  Click here.

Read full announcement »

“Putin wanted to interrogate me. Trump called it ‘an incredible offer.’ Why?”

Posted on Wednesday August 29

By Michael McFaul.          “I thought I was done worrying about Vladimir Putin. I left Moscow in 2014 as the departing U.S. ambassador, after Putin spent my two-year stint deploying state-controlled media outlets and their surrogates to propagate disinformation about me. He’d been received tepidly in his campaign to retake the presidency from his ally, Dmitry […]

Read full announcement »

“The Magnitsky Affair”

Posted on Tuesday August 28

By Amy Knight (New York Review):       “Last May, a money-laundering suit brought by the United States against Prevezon Holdings Ltd., a Cyprus-based real estate corporation, was unexpectedly settled three days before it was set to go to trial. The case had been at the center of a major international political controversy. Prevezon, which is owned by a […]

Read full announcement »

“Why it’s time to stop calling these hurricane disasters ‘natural’”

Posted on Sunday December 31

by Kerry Emanuel:      “As the United States struggles to recover from two back-to-back hurricanes, it would be wise to reflect on why we keep having such calamities and whether they are likely to get worse. We must first recognize the phrase “natural disaster” for what it is: a sham we hide behind to […]

Read full announcement »

“Saudi Arabia wants to improve Image; Here’s How”

Posted on Saturday September 16

by Juan Cole:           “Saudi Arabia is alleged to be hiring a PR firm to improve its tattered image in the West .    As usual, such a campaign confuses substance with fluff and the money will be wasted. I am sympathetic to Saudi feelings that they get an unfair rap. […]

Read full announcement »

“The Theology of American National Security”

Posted on Friday December 4

by Andrew Bacevich         In April 2003, with Baghdad occupied by American troops, the top officials of the Bush administration were already dreaming of building bases in Iraq that would be garrisoned more or less in perpetuity. Everyone was too polite to call them “permanent bases,” so they were sometimes referred to […]

Read full announcement »

Stephen Walt on His Forum Experience

Posted on Thursday August 9

We often write about our speakers after they appear at the Forum, but Steve Walt is the first one to write about us after speaking.  Click here for his latest Foreign Policy article.

Read full announcement »

Read all announcements »