Need to Reverse the Decline of Democracy


Frank F Islam

Democracy, regarded as the pinnacle of liberty and opportunity for all, is currently confronted with unprecedented challenges.
In recent years, there has been a growing concern that democracy is eroding globally. The rise of hate politics, racism, and other forms of intolerance are a few signs of this decline.
In many nations around the world, hate politics have become more prevalent. For instance, hate crimes against Muslims, Jews, and other minority groups have sharply increased in the United States. Right-wing extremism, with racial ideologies at its core, has become more prevalent in Europe. As a result, there is a rise in anti-immigrant sentiment and a growing danger to minorities’ rights.
There has been some erosion of democracy in India as well. Lately, the world’s largest democracy has witnessed a surge in incidents of anti-Muslim sentiments, mob violence, and infringements on the rights of minority communities.
The far-right leadership in Brazil has been charged with inciting racism and intolerance, which led to numerous violent attacks against minorities. Hungary and Poland are other examples of nations where democracy is waning. These governments have suppressed opposition factions, limited free speech, and undermined the rule of law. Pakistan is another democracy that has seen a decline in recent years. Governments have cracked down on opposition, arresting political opponents and journalists. They have also restricted freedom of speech and the press.
The Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) declared, in a report, that 2022 was a depressing year for democracy.
The government has arrested a number of journalists, activists, and opposition politicians on charges of treason, sedition, and other crimes. These arrests have been widely criticized by human rights groups, who argue that they are being used to stifle opposition and silence critical voices.
Another worrying trend is the crackdown on freedom of expression. There are reports that laws like the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) and the Protection of Pakistan’s National Security Act (PNSA) are being used to silence journalists, bloggers, and activists who criticize the government or its policies. The decline of democracy in Pakistan and other countries is a reminder that democracy is not something that should be taken for granted. It is something that must be defended and protected.
There are a number of things that can be done to reverse the decline of democracy in Pakistan and around the world. These include protecting core democratic values and taking affirmative actions to promote democracy.
The core democratic values include but are not limited to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, government accountability, and the rule of law.
The right to express one’s opinions without fear of retaliation is referred to as freedom of speech. This is a fundamental right in a democracy and is necessary for the open exchange of ideas. The right to peacefully assemble to express one’s views is known as freedom of assembly. This is another essential right in a democracy. This right is necessary so that citizens can gather together to speak out on issues that matter to them. The principle of the rule of law states that no one is above the law. This means that everyone is subject to the law, including the government. The rule of law is critical for a functioning democracy.
A pivot point for a functioning democracy is to ensure that all citizens are educated to use their rights responsibly. The importance of educating people about the significance of democracy and its guiding principles cannot be overstated. This develops the knowledge, skills and dispositions within the citizenry to sustain democracy through responsible civic engagement.
This individual commitment and participation can be reinforced by supporting civil society organizations that work to improve local democracy and hold governments accountable by addressing issues such as protecting the right to vote and community development in undeveloped areas. In addition, supporting international organizations that work to defend human rights and advance democracy can extend the focus and scope of these efforts worldwide.
In closing, protecting, promoting and preserving democracy is not any one person’s job. It must be the job of “we the people” in collaboration with those groups that believe in the primacy of “we the people”. Making it so, will reverse the current decline in democracy around the globe and renew the journey to creating a world that is a better and fairer place for all.