Derogating Democracy

History is full of such examples when certain critical situations have been manipulated so efficiently that they finally find a way for derogating democracy and the same is happening today. The prevalence of repression, silence, controlled surveillance, censorship, and procrastination is always evident whenever a concealed democratic backsliding is taking place.

It’s not merely restricted to a single state as the lust for absolute power, may it be hidden or evident, is an inherent part of this political game. And in the present times as well, various countries are taking steps to convert their particular oligarchy into a totalitarian regime. Legal rights are being suppressed and the only element keeping democracy alive, Elections and Voting, is delayed and ultimate suspension is under consideration. Is the world taking us back to the darkest era where democracy was just a mirage?

This data to categorize these restrictions in the following sections is drawn from “The Covid-19 Civic Freedom Tracker“.

derogating democracy

1: Camouflaged Censorship

Freedom of speech is always restricted whenever the truth seems to invade the comfort zones of our privileged classes. The advantage of crisis like always is taken once again and our “say” in every crucial matter is hampered under the tag of COVID-19.

Journalists are no more free to propagate the truth. They need to get their information checked and amend it as per the feasibility of the leaders. Since when did democracy make it illegal to publicize truth without government proofreading that? In Thailand, Hungary, Egypt, Maharashtra journalists are threatened and fired for broadcasting news without permission. Punishments are being announced against them. This wrath inflicted upon this freedom of speech is not for the sake of people but for the prevention of oligarchical powers and sustenance of this to welcome aristocracy under the label of this unavoidable COVID-19.

2: Denial of Rights

The situation is indeed critical and precautionary measures are necessary yet this can not be an excuse for curbing legal rights. Everything can be ensured in properly with SOPs. Freedom of protests and freedom of movement is hindered.

In various states, the protest of “BLACK LIVES MATTER” was suspended in the name of COVID-19 when we all know that it was easy to ensure social distancing in such advanced countries. Even in Pakistan, peaceful protest of students in Quetta for internet facility in backward areas and leniency in online education resulted in the arrest of those innocent lives. This was not because of the COVID-19 threat but because of the threat it imposed upon the negligent government. In California, particular restrictions are made on gatherings in Church curbing the religious rights of minorities in such states. This warrant-less arresting and snatching of our right is derogating democracy in its ways.

derogating democracy

3: Delay in Elections

The one process that differentiates between aristocracy and democracy is the election. But now considering the present situations, authorities are planning to delay all this or to come up with an alternative, which is not possible.

Civil liberty to vote is thought to suspend to continue with the emergencies. This process of derogating democracy is used by every government for its own sake. UK, Poland, Russia, Germany, and even any other states are considering this very thought. If happened for once, may it be for the sake of preventing lives from COVID-19, these lusty authorities won’t provide our right back as we have examples from history. It will be a major cause of derogating democracy. It takes years to bring revolution and just a single second to destroy that through power.

4: Unjust Surveillance

In the wake of emergencies, certain measures are mandatory but this does not mean that unjust ones can be justified. Surveillance to some extent for people’s security is acceptable but when this turn to examine every single activity when not necessary is not freedom.

In China and Israel trackers are being installed in personal gadgets to monitor the activity of people to know where a COVID-19 infected person is moving yet it’s without court orders and not legal, thus hindering the freedom. Drones are monitoring people in the USA and facial recognition techniques are normalized in Poland which sure will continue once these will be beneficial for the people in power. This is a severe threat to democracy as these are weakening the constitution.

All these above are done in such a way to make people think that it’s a precaution against the corona-virus while in actual COVID-19 is used as a scapegoat for derogating democracy. We have to rethink and stop them from placating us in the name of COVID-19. We all know we all will stand and fight against this yet we can not let them blind us in such emergencies and covert the system as per their feasibility. Such situations are readily used by the authorities as a scapegoat for derogating democracy.

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Fatimah Motla

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