Podcast: How to Kill a Democracy

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In a new documentary for the BBC, DiA’s very own Nic Cheeseman was interviewed about the most effective ways to kill a democracy, and whether anything can be done to protect democracies and elections from the leaders who are out to subvert them … 

How do you kill a democracy? Democracies today are less and less likely to be overthrown in violent coups. Today’s methods of establishing one party rule are much more subtle and insidious. Political scientist Professor Matt Qvortrup explores how the modern authoritarian leader takes control of his or her country. High on their list will be subtly manipulating elections to win with a comfortable but credible majority: appointing their own supporters to the judiciary whilst watering down their powers: silencing critics in the press while garnering positive coverage from their media supporters: punishing opponents by denying them employment while rewarding lackeys with key positions. And using technology to help rig votes and spread propaganda. Matt traces these methods back to Roman times while looking at their contemporary relevance in countries as diverse as Kenya, Poland, Hungary, and Venezuela.

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