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Democracy in times of Corona- Online Discussions

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Democracy in times of Corona- Online Discussions


It is our mission as Democracy International to promote and uphold the value of democracy, especially during the current global pandemic. Whereas, some countries have showed themselves to be resolute in upholding democratic standards, others have witnessed varying degrees of democratic backsliding. With most of the world’s citizens having been confined to their homes at some point in the last 6 months, many question marks have emerged in relation to public and private life.

By Reiner Duvenage

Against this background, we have decided to tackle these issues head-on by organising a series of interactive online discussions with experts covering specific topics that have become relevant during the pandemic. In our discussions, our experts (3-4 per discussion) provide their input of 5-10 minutes, followed by a Q&A for participants to have their say on the topic at hand.

We are gathering the conclusions and recommendations from these discussions to draft a guideline of best practices for democracy in times of crisis. You can find the work in progress here. Take part by registering for the next discussions in the series!


Below a summary and links to registration for the online discussions we will be having over the next month:

- 21 July 2020: States of Emergency- Separation of Powers in times of crisis: This online conversation pertains to the declaration of states of emergency across the world in response to the pandemic. Our first confirmed speaker is Dr. Zoltan Tibor Pallinger from the Andrássy University in Budapest, Hungary. He is an expert in the fields of Political Theory and Democracy Studies. As usual participants are encouraged to have their say and contribute to the discussion. Registration link:

- 28 July 2020: Fake News, Press Freedom & the Pandemic: This interactive online discussion will provide insights into the introduction of fake news laws to curb the spreading of misinformation about the virus, as well as the risks related to these laws. For this discussion we will be joined by Luis Roberto Castrillon of Verificado and Lutz Kinkel, the Managing Director of the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom. Registration link:

- 4 August 2020: Transparency, Governance & COVID-19: With public life coming to a standstill during the lockdown, experts will be leading an interactive discussion on ways to ensure accountability and transparency in political decision-making. We are thrilled to welcome German MEP Daniel Freund as one of the experts for this session. Registration link:

- 11 August 2020; Citizen participation under a lockdown: Our final discussion will focus on citizen participation processes that have been delayed or suspended due to the pandemic. We have the honour of welcoming Karl Heinz Lambertz former President of the European Committee for the Regions and current President of the Parliament for the German speaking community in Belgium to lead the discussion about the challenges processes of citizen participation are confronted with. Registration link:


Past discussions:

- 2 June 2020: Elections in times of Corona: We discussed the challenges of holding elections in times of a crisis with experts and activists from France, Germany, Mexico, Russia the UK and the US. We were joined by Clara Egger, University of Groningen, Achim Wölfel, Mehr Demokratie NRW, Matt Qvortrup, Coventry University, Nancy Wang, Voters Not Politicians. You can watch the full discussion here:

- 7 July 2020: Direct Democracy and the Pandemic: How has the pandemic influenced direct democracy around the world? We were joined by Bruno Kaufmann and Sam Chang to discuss the situation in Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the USA and elsewhere. Watch our discussion here:

- 14 July 2020: Data Security, Democracy & Corona: For this discussion, we were joined by Maria Paz Canales, Matthijs Pontier, Nadim Nashif and Kamel Gargouri. Our experts focused on the influence of tracking apps and other COVID-19 related databases on citizens’ rights and liberties in their home countries. Watch the recording here:

For questions please contact

Reiner Duvenage



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