This report documents the myriad signs of democracy's global struggle. It is not simply that the number of democracies has gone down from the peak of two years ago, but that some of the worst reversals have happened precisely in places like Myanmar, which had appeared as beacons of hope until recently. Moreover, the quality of democracy continues to travel a very visible downward path across the board. In the context of the pandemic, many democratic governments have adopted questionable restrictions to fundamental freedoms that, in many cases, mimic the practices of authoritarian regimes. Democratic backsliding, namely the sustained and deliberate process of subversion of basic democratic tenets by political actors and governments, is threatening to become a different kind of pandemic—it now afflicts very large and influential democracies that account for a quarter of the world’s population. And all this is happening while authoritarian systems intensify their repressive practices and engage in ever more brazen attempts to silence their critics and distort the workings of democracies.
IDEA: Global State of Democracy Report 2021