The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) released figures on Monday indicating that there has been a worldwide decline in democracy since 2008.
The 2010 Democracy Index has revealed that France, Italy, Greece and Slovenia dropped from the category of “full democracies” to “flawed democracies” over the past 24 months.
According to the index:
The democracy score was lower in 2010 than in 2008 in 91 countries out of the 167 that are covered, although in the majority of these the deterioration was modest. The score increased in 48 countries and it stayed the same in 28 over this period. In all regions the average democracy score for 2010 is lower than in 2008.
Key points from the new data include:
• A noticeable decline in media freedoms in recent years has accelerated since 2008. In 36 countries there was a decline in scores for media freedom between 2008 and 2010.
• Negative political trends in France in recent years have resulted in the country being downgraded from a full democracy to the flawed democracy category. Public confidence in political institutions is extremely low, among the lowest in the developed world.
• The most pronounced decline between 2008 and 2010 in democracy was in eastern Europe. In 19 countries of eastern Europe the democracy score declined between 2008 and 2010.
• The US and the UK are near the bottom of the full democracy category. In the US there has been an erosion of civil liberties related to the fight against terrorism. Problems in the functioning of government have also become more prominent. In the UK the main problem is a very low level of political participation.
• Although almost half of the world’s countries can be considered democracies, the number of “full democracies” is low (only 26); 53 are rated as “flawed democracies”. Of the remaining 88 states, 55 are authoritarian and 33 are considered to be “hybrid regimes”.
What do you make of the data, and do you think digital technologies can help to re-awaken the perception of democracy in the UK?