Democratic backsliding: slippery slope of hostility toward media


On an unprecedented scale, authoritarian regimes are employing “sharp power” tactics to manipulate the very institutions that serve as the foundation of democracy, such as free media, says Christopher Walker, Vice President for Studies and Analysis at the National Endowment for Democracy. In the July 2018 issue of the Journal of Democracyhe defines the pervasive threat of “sharp power,” a term coined by the NED’s International Forum for Democratic Studies to identify authoritarian influence efforts that seek to pierce, penetrate, and perforate the political and information environments of targeted countries.

But it’s not only authoritarians who threaten independent media. Efforts to undermine freedom of expression are a major factor in democratic backsliding within NATO states, according to Brookings analysts Jonathan Katz and Torrey Taussig.

Mild verbal attacks on journalists can easily drift into something more sinister, imperiling a central pillar of democracy, according to Andrew Greco and Tyler Roylance, a researcher and staff editor, respectively, at Freedom House. Politicians around the world have developed the habit of responding to critical media coverage by castigating the journalists responsible rather than simply rebutting them on the merits, they write in The Slippery Slope of Hostility toward the Press.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email