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Global Freedoms Have Hit a “Dismal” Record Low, With Pandemic Restrictions Making Things Much Worse


🌎@COVID19Up: The state of democracy around the world fell to a record low last year, according to a new report released Thursday (Feb. 10) that placed blame in large part on pandemic restrictions that have seen many nations struggle to balance a public health emergency with personal freedoms.

Less than half the world’s population live under some form of democracy, according to the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), which conducted its annual Democracy Index survey that rated 167 countries based on measures including electoral processes and civil liberties.

The world’s overall score fell to 5.28 out of 10, setting “another dismal record” with the lowest rating since the EIU started producing the index in 2006. It was also the biggest annual decline since 2010. The survey found that 6.4% of the world lived in a “full democracy” last year, while more than a third lived under authoritarian rule—with a large share of those in China.

From lockdowns to travel bans, COVID-19 led to “an unprecedented withdrawal of civil liberties among developed democracies and authoritarian regimes alike,” the report said.

“It has led to the normalization of emergency powers, which have tended to stay on the statute books, and accustomed citizens to a huge extension of state power over large areas of public and personal life.”

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