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International Day of Democracy 2020 – Theme

The International Day of Democracy is celebrated annually around the world on 15 September. It was established through a resolution passed by the UN General Assembly in 2007, encouraging governments to strengthen and consolidate democracy.
We encourage all our Members of Parliaments to mark the day with events and celebrations. Since the day was first observed in 2008, hundreds of parliamentary activities have been held worldwide. The events included photo competitions, workshops for children, live televised debates, radio phone-ins, and meetings with civil society organizations. In this article, we will discuss the International Day of Democracy 2020 – Theme, Activities, Quiz.

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Theme and Activities

The unusual outcome of the COVID-19 crisis has resulted in major social, political, and legal challenges globally. As countries around the world take emergency measures to deal with the crisis, it’s critical that they still uphold the rule of law, protect and respect international standards and basic principles of legality, and therefore the right to access justice, remedies, and due process of law.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has urged governments to be transparent, responsive, and accountable in their COVID-19 response and ensure that any emergency measures are legal, proportionate, necessary, and non-discriminatory. “The best response is one that responds proportionately to immediate threats while safeguarding the basic human rights and the rule of law,” he told.
The Secretary-General’s policy brief says states must respect and protect, among other rights, freedom of expression and of the press, freedom of information, freedom of association and of assembly. Concerns in many countries in the context of COVID-19 include:
  • Measures to control the flow of information and crackdown on freedom of expression and press freedom against an existing background of shrinking civic space.
  • Arrest, detention, prosecution, or persecution of political opponents, journalists, doctors, and healthcare workers, activists, and others for allegedly spreading “fake news”.
  • Aggressive cyber-policing and increased online surveillance.
  • Postponement of elections is raising serious constitutional issues in some cases and may lead to rising tensions.
The crisis raises the question of how best to counter harmful speech while protecting freedom of expression. Sweeping efforts to eliminate misinformation or disinformation can result in purposeful or unintentional censorship, which undermines trust. The foremost effective response is accurate, clear, and evidence-based information from sources people trust.
Around the world, civil society organizations have answered the UN’s call to action to address and counteract the wide range of ways the Covid-19 crisis may impair democracy and increase authoritarianism, by:
  • developing media literacy and digital safety, more critical than ever as activism is forced online, so on address the danger of suppression, interference, and shutting of civic space;
  • fighting misinformation, disinformation, and hate speech, which have mushroomed within the crisis;
  • training journalists remotely to report on the result of the pandemic with in-depth, fact-checked coverage, while staying safe on the front line;
  • empowering women against gender-based violence, which has surged amid Covid-19 lockdowns, quarantines, and social and economic pressures;
  • helping to highlight the challenges of inequality and weak service delivery made worse by the crisis, with a specific focus on the needs and rights of women, youth, minorities, and other marginalized populations, so as to help hold governments to account.
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Quiz

1. What countries are direct democracy?
Ans: Switzerland is a rare example of a nation with instruments of direct democracy (at the quantity of the municipalities, cantons, and federal state).Citizens have more power than during a representative democracy.
2. What is considered the birthplace of democracy?
Ans: Athens is often regarded as the birthplace of democracy and remains an important reference point for democracy.
3. What are the freedoms of living in a democracy?
Ans: The freedoms of speech, association, assembly, religion, and movement are regarded as essential to a healthy democracy and strong civil society.
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