02. October 2020 | via Freedom House
The COVID-19 pandemic has deepened a crisis for democracy around the world, providing cover for governments to disrupt elections, silence critics and the press, and undermine the accountability needed to protect human rights as well as public health, according to Democracy under Lockdown, a new Freedom House report produced in partnership with the survey firm GQR.
Since the coronavirus outbreak began, the condition of democracy and human rights has worsened in 80 countries, with particularly sharp deterioration in struggling democracies and highly repressive states, according to the experts surveyed by the project. More than 60 percent of the respondents predicted that the pandemic’s impact on political rights and civil liberties in their countries of focus would be mostly negative for the next three to five years.
The country experts surveyed as part of the project identified four problems as the most acute during the COVID-19 pandemic: lack of government transparency and information on the coronavirus, corruption, lack of protection for vulnerable populations, and government abuses of power.
This report is the most in-depth effort to date to examine the condition of democracy during the pandemic. Freedom House conducted its research from January to September 2020. The work included an online survey by GQR, conducted from July 29 to August 15, 2020, in which 398 experts reported on the state of democracy in 105 countries and territories. In addition, Freedom House consulted its global network of analysts, bringing the total number of countries examined to 192.
“Our survey found that governments’ responses to the pandemic are eroding the pillars of democracy around the world,” said Sarah Repucci, vice president for research and analysis at Freedom House and a coauthor of the report. “The blatant obfuscation of facts by governments is always harmful, but it is especially egregious at a time when so many people’s lives are at stake.”
Key findings and data points:
Full Report: Democracy under Lockdown