The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index 2017

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index 2017.

Global democracy has declined significantly over the last year, according to the latest edition of the Democracy Index. The Democracy Index is an index compiled by the UK-based company the Economist Intelligence Unit that intends to measure the state of democracy in 167 countries, of which 166 are sovereign states and 165 are UN member states. The index was first produced in 2006, with updates for 2008, 2010 and the following years since then. The index is based on 60 indicators grouped in five different categories measuring pluralism, civil liberties and political culture. In addition to a numeric score and a ranking, the index categorises countries as one of four regime types: full democracies, flawed democracies, hybrid regimes and authoritarian regimes. The classification definitions are as follows: 

Full democracies are nations where civil liberties and basic political freedoms are not only respected but also reinforced by a political culture conducive to the thriving of democratic principles. These nations have a valid system of governmental checks and balances, independent judiciary whose decisions are enforced, governments that function adequately, and media that is diverse and independent. These nations have only limited problems in democratic functioning.

Flawed democracies are nations where elections are fair and free and basic civil liberties are honoured but may have issues (e.g. media freedom infringement). Nonetheless, these nations have significant faults in other democratic aspects, including underdeveloped political culture, low levels of participation in politics, and issues in the functioning of governance.

Hybrid regimes are nations where consequential irregularities exist in elections regularly preventing them from being fair and free. These nations commonly have governments that apply pressure on political opponents, non independent judiciaries, and have widespread corruption, harassment and pressure placed on the media, anemic rule of law, and more pronounced faults than flawed democracies in the realms of underdeveloped political culture, low levels of participation in politics, and issues in the functioning of governance. 

Authoritarian regimes are nations where political pluralism has vanished or is extremely limited. These nations are often absolute dictatorships, may have some conventional institutions of democracy but with meager significance, infringements and abuses of civil liberties are commonplace, elections (if they take place) are not fair and free, the media is often state-owned or controlled by groups associated with the ruling regime, the judiciary is not independent, and the presence of omnipresent censorship and suppression of governmental criticism.

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https://www.eiu.com/topic/democracy-index