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15 minutes | Jun 18, 2020
Democracy First Responders - Kosovo - Donjet Bislimi
In this series of Global, we’ve been speaking with “Democracy First Responders” — the politicians, activists, government officials and everyday citizens who are working to respond to the COVID-19 crisis successfully and protect their country’s democratic institutions. Today, we’re taking you to Kosovo. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Kosovar government has struggled to meet the challenges of the pandemic, mismanaging both the country’s political and medical response. Ultimately, the government dissolved and a nationwide political crisis ensued. But in the midst of these crises, young people in Kosovo has stepped up. Enter our guest for today: Donjet Bislimi. Donjet is a physician, whose work has literally put him at the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. But in addition to that, Donjet is a young political leader committed to democratic governance in Kosovo. He’s the President of the Democratic Party of Kosovo’s youth wing. But before that, at the ripe old age of 23, Donjet was elected to the municipal assembly of Mitrovica in 2017. Since then, he’s been a champion for young people throughout Kosovo, helping the country’s next generation of democratic leaders. Global spoke with Donjet about his experience as a physician on the frontlines of a public health crisis, the government failure to manage the fallout of COVID-19 and his hopes for a more democratic future. This episode concludes our “Democracy First Responders” series. It’s been an honor to hear from the politicians, government officials and activists across the world who are proof of democracy’s strength in times of crisis.
36 minutes | Jun 15, 2020
Democracy First Responders - Ethiopia - Mesud Gebeyehu
Over the past few years, Ethiopia has made significant democratic progress, but with coronavirus jeopardizing democracies across the globe, that progress is at risk. Ethiopia’s elections, once scheduled for the end of August, are now indefinitely delayed and many Ethiopians fear the government is manipulating the country’s state of emergency to restrict the free speech of its citizens. Enter Mesud Gebeyehu, the Executive Director of the Consortium of Ethiopian Human Rights Organizations. At the onset of the pandemic, Mesud’s consortium called for the Ethiopian government to implement prevention methods according to WHO standards and respect freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Mesud spoke with host Travis Green about his own experiences in Ethiopia and his hopes for continued democratic progress in the country.
19 minutes | May 28, 2020
Democracy First Responders - Serbia - Marka Zvaka
In this series of Global, we’re meeting “Democracy First Responders”: The politicians, activists, medical workers, journalists, tech pioneers, government officials, and everyday citizens like you and me who are working to respond to the COVID-19 crisis successfully and protect their country’s democratic institutions – or even build new ones. Dusan Saponja and Dušan Čavić are two activist videographers from Serbia who are members of the YouTube duo Marka Zvaka. Dusan and Dušan created two short videos early in the crisis, before it even hit Serbia. They interviewed Serbian doctors working in Italy and China, and these videos quickly went viral, helping Serbians understand the measures needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, Serbians saw their national government ousted, due in part to its response to the outbreak. We talked to Dusan and Dušan about their work to create awareness, and how coronavirus has affected both day-to-day life and politics in Serbia.
19 minutes | May 21, 2020
Democracy First Responders - Cuba- Dr. Daily Coro
For the last 60 years, under the Castro Regime and now under President Miguel Díaz-Canel, Cuba has conducted what Havana calls “internationalist missions” – sending thousands of Cuban doctors abroad to bolster its international image. But this aid is far from altruistic. It provides an economic lifeline for Cuba’s ruling regime and also affects the island’s already-crumbling medical system, which fails to provide Cubans to with quality health care. Doctors and nurses on these missions are also subject to horrible and restrictive conditions in the countries where they are sent. Their passports are confiscated. The regime pockets most of their income. They are not allowed to leave, and in some cases, never allowed to return home. The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the regime’s use of these missions, exporting Cuba’s disastrous human rights abuses under the guise of humanitarian aid. Dr. Daily Coro has seen these missions up close. She was the Head of Cuba’s Medical Commission of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Guárico, Venezuela from 2011 until 2014. Today, she lives in Madrid, and is shedding light on what the Cuban regime would rather the world didn’t see. The coronavirus has made that effort more urgent than ever.
22 minutes | May 13, 2020
Democracy First Responders - Georgia - Dr. Akaki Zoidze
We’re looking at how COVID-19 is threatening global democracy, and meeting the people stepping up to protect their country’s democratic institutions. Georgia is a country that has weathered many challenges over the years, from the internal corruption that led to 2003’s Rose Revolution to the Russian invasion in 2008. In the past few months, Georgia has emerged as a success story in the global fight against COVID-19, showing a path for developing democracies to resist democratic backsliding and come through the crisis stronger than before. Today, you’ll hear a conversation between Dr. Akaki Zoidze and guest host Bakhtiyor Nishanov. Akaki has been a Deputy Prime Minister of Health and Chaired the Committee on Healthcare, Physician and Public Health Expert while serving in Georgia’s parliament. In other words, he has been smack dab at the intersection of government and public health issues for years. In this conversation, Akaki and Bakhtiyor talked about how the Georgian government identified coronavirus as a threat early on when so many others did not, why the country’s response has been so successful, and how to make the case that democracies, not autocrats, are best equipped to meet global public health challenges.
14 minutes | May 6, 2020
Democracy First Responders - Lebanon - Makram Rabah
In this series of Global, we’re meeting some of these “Democracy First Responders.” We’ll travel around the world – virtually, of course – and talk to politicians, activists, medical workers, journalists, tech pioneers, government officials, and everyday citizens like you and me. These are very different people, but everyone we spoke with has one goal in common: To respond to this crisis successfully and protect their country’s democratic institutions – or even build new ones. Before the coronavirus, Lebanon was home to one of the world’s most vibrant people-powered protest movements, demanding accountable, transparent government and rejecting entrenched elites. But restrictions on gatherings are straining this movement, and ruling elites – and foreign powers – are using the crisis to challenge their gains and reestablish their own support. Can Lebanon’s protest movement – and movements like it – adapt or even thrive in this new reality? To find out, Global spoke with Makram Rabah, an activist, journalist and professor of history at the American University of Beirut. Makram has been active in writing about Lebanon’s protest movement and exposing efforts to silence it. Makram has also been calling for reforms that respond to people’s demands for change.
25 minutes | Apr 29, 2020
Democracy First Responders - Nepal - Narayan Adhikari
In this series of Global, we’re meeting some of these “Democracy First Responders.” We’ll travel around the world – virtually, of course – and talk to politicians, activists, medical workers, journalists, tech pioneers, government officials, and everyday citizens like you and me. These are very different people, but everyone we spoke with has one goal in common: To respond to this crisis successfully and protect their country’s democratic institutions – or even build new ones. Situations like the coronavirus can quickly become a catalyst for social conflict through the spread of rumors and misinformation. Unfortunately, Nepal is no stranger to this dynamic, but neither is the Accountability Lab. After the Gorkha earthquake in April 2015, the Lab immediately began gathering, validating and disseminating essential information so citizens could decide how to react AND hold the government accountable for its response. Recently, the Lab launched the Coronavirus CivActs Campaign to counter COVID-19 disinformation, give citizens access to real facts, and give leaders the data they need to make better decisions.
21 minutes | Apr 22, 2020
Democracy First Responders - Zimbabwe - Munya Dodo
COVID-19 threatens not only lives and livelihoods, but also governments and democratic institutions. The International Republican Institute (IRI) is profiling our partners and other leaders who have been the “first responders” in our global fight to protect and strengthen democracy. In this new series, Democracy First Responders, we spoke with an anti-corruption activist in Nepal, a journalist in Zimbabwe, a former government official in Georgia, and others to discuss their efforts to prevent democratic backsliding in the time of COVID-19. For the first episode of this series, our host Travis Green spoke with Munyaradzi “Munya” Dodo, a Zimbabwean journalist who is keeping citizens informed on the pandemic’s developments and holding the government accountable.
34 minutes | Feb 25, 2020
Cuba: The Reality Of Social Rights
Cuba continues to be a regional threat to democracy. This threat is targeted externally in its support for dictatorial governments like Venezuela and internally in its treatment of dissidents. One of the reasons Cuba has been successful is the story it tells about itself. Both domestically and internationally, the Cuban government messages that it respects political and social rights and that its people are cared for with housing, education, and healthcare. This, however, is false. As demonstrated in a recent study by the Cuban Human Rights Observatory, the Cuban government is failing exactly where it claims success. For this episode, we spoke with three guests. First, Yaxys Cires is the current political advisor to the Cuban Human Rights Observatory. A lawyer by training, Yaxys was forced to leave Cuba due to his political activism advocating for greater democratic freedoms. @observacuba Second, Luz Escobar is a Cuban journalist currently living and reporting from Havana. She primarily writes for the independent news organization 14ymedio. Recently, she has repeatedly been prevented from leaving her home by the Cuban state security. @Luz_Cuba Finally, we spoke with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean John Barsa. @JBarsaUSAID @USAIDLAC
28 minutes | Jan 7, 2020
Bright Spots Of Democracy - Venezuela Activists
Venezuela continues to grapple with a humanitarian crisis caused by the dictatorial corruption of Nicolas Maduro. But despite the danger to themselves and their families, every day people continue to mobilize and demand respect for human rights and a return to democracy. Over the last three years of this podcast, we've discussed the political situation in Venezuela a number of times – often focusing on the crisis at the national level situation. Today, we wanted to bring things down to the personal level. Our producers Sam Johannes and Travis Green spoke with two activists on how their journey led them to be involved in politics and what keeps them motivated through such trying times. Rafaela Requesens is a Venezuelan student activist who gained recognition as the Student Council President of the Central University of Venezuela (Universidad Central de Venezuela, UCV) in 2017-2018. She has been instrumental in raising awareness on the current state of education in Venezuela and has led the student movement in several peaceful protests. Ms. Requesens has also been a public advocate for political prisoners, given that her brother, National Assembly Deputy Juan Requesens, was arbitrarily imprisoned by the Maduro regime in 2018. To date, he remains imprisoned with no trial date set. Armando Armas is a Member of the political party Voluntad Popular, who was elected to the National Assembly in 2015. He was one of the Deputies injured in July 2017 when the National Assembly was attacked by pro-Maduro supporters.
22 minutes | Dec 15, 2019
Bright Spots Of Democracy - Hong Kong Student Activists
The greatest challenge to the seemingly overwhelming power of authoritarian governments is the ordinary citizen's willingness to put themselves at risk for the sake of democracy. This year, Hong Kong's citizens have been demonstrating that willingness through protests that have been ongoing since June. As protesters seek to maintain momentum in the face of violent crackdowns, their demands are clear - Hongkongers want democracy. In this episode, we look at the stories of four student activists from Hong Kong, their journey into activism, and what keeps them motivated to pursue democracy. Our host spoke with: Edy Jeh, a member of the University of Hong Kong Students' Union Danian Wan, current council chair of the University of Hong Kong Students' Union Kelly Hung, an activist at the University of Hong Kong and an employee in the Legislative Councilor's Office Joey Siu, current acting vice president of the City University of Hong Kong Students' Union
21 minutes | Nov 25, 2019
Bright Spots Of Democracy - European Democracy Youth Network
The dominant narrative today says Europe’s democracy is in retreat. To be sure, the challenges are real – from emboldened authoritarians to hyper-polarized discourse. Generations that lived through Communism have seen democracy’s promises of liberty and prosperity deliver mixed results. But that isn’t the only story about democracy in Europe. Every day, young people are driving change in their own communities by doing the day-to-day work of democracy. In this episode, we'll hear from six young civic and political leaders from the European Democracy Youth Network on why democracy offers the solutions to the challenges facing their countries. Host Sam Johannes speaks with: Esma Gumberidze - UN Youth Delegate to the 74th General Assembly (Georgia) Konstantina Stoyanova - Member, Bulgaria for Citizens Movement (Bulgaria) Malik Sakic - Vice President, Youth Forum of Our Party (Bosnia & Herzegovina) Juela Hamati - President, European Democracy Youth Network (Albania) Aleksander Savic - National Coordinator for Communications & Fundraising, Da Se Zna! (Serbia) Luka Krzhaloski - Secretary General, European Democracy Youth Network (North Macedonia)
11 minutes | Nov 9, 2019
Journalism Under Authoritarianism
jour·nal·ism noun 1. the collection and editing of news for presentation through the media What is it like to provide accurate news coverage when the government is actively creating false narratives? Journalism is essential to a healthy democracy. But it's also often a key part of fighting authoritarianism. Dictatorships rely on maintaining citizens uninformed and divided from each other. In these situations, independent media struggles against censorship, limited resources, and threats to personal safety. Journalist do this to inform citizens with the hope they will hold their government accountable and push for democratic change. For this episode, our host Lucas Jensen ties together responses from five journalists about what are the challenges and the motivations for reporting from within a dictatorship.
26 minutes | Oct 15, 2019
media noun 1. the main means of mass communication (broadcasting, publishing, and the Internet) regarded collectively. A healthy democracy relies on a free and independent media. Inclusive and informed public discourse ensures democratic institutions reflect the will of the people. But this role makes the free press a target for a number of forces corrosive to democracy. Our host Travis Green explores these themes with: Beata Balogova, Editor-in-Chief of SME, a Slovak daily and Vice-Chair of the Executive Board of the International Press Institute | @BalogovaBeata Dina Sadek, IRI's Media Advisor in the Center for Global Impact | @DinaMSadek
43 minutes | Sep 4, 2019
cor·rup·tion noun 1: dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery. On the surface, corruption seems straightforward - individuals using their positions of power for personal gain. But is that a reductive characterization of a much more complex phenomenon? The way corruption manifests, and its possible remedies, are informed by a range of cultural and socio-economic contexts. To effectively address corruption, domestic and international actors alike need to implement system-wide solutions that account for these contexts. These issues affect places the world over and the practices that allow it to continue link countries seen both as corrupt and as clean in inextricable ways. On this episode, our host Sinclair Stafford explores these issues with: Dr. Bret Barrowman, Senior Researcher, Center for Global Impact | @bbarrowm Dr. Brian Klaas, Assistant Professor of Global Politics at University College London, columnist for the Washington Post, and host of the podcast "Power Corrupts" (https://apple.co/2Y8vYND) | @brianklaas
49 minutes | Aug 5, 2019
In February, ten days after strongman president Abelaziz Bouteflika announced his candidacy for a fifth term, Algerians took to the streets in massive peaceful protests in what has become know as the "Revolution of Smiles." While protesters successfully forced Bouteflika's resignation, over two decades of historical violence, repression and corruption leave the country's future uncertain. Will the successful of the protests translate into much needed progress in key areas like youth unemployment? And what does Algeria's political and economic stability mean for both its African and European neighbors? Find out on this episode, of our podcast Global! Our host Francesca Gortzounian (@FrancescaGortz) speaks to: Mr. Samy Boukailia - President & Founding Member | Cercle d'Action et de Reflexion autour de l'Enterprise (CARE) @EagleSamy Dr. Dalia Ghanem - Resident Scholar | Carnegie Middle East Center, Co-Director | Program on Civil-Military Relations in Arab States @DaliaZinaGhanem
26 minutes | Jul 16, 2019
Podlette - Chinese Malign Influence
in·flu·ence noun 1: the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something. China exerts its influence to seek beneficial political and economic outcomes throughout the world. To do so, a decentralized apparatus of Chinese Communist Party officials and state-owned private enterprises employ a range of tools from opaque infrastructure investment to cultivating favorable thought leadership. Frequently, these activities have a corroding effect on the receiving countries' democratic institutions by exploiting high-level corruption and manipulating the information space. On this podlette, our host Travis Green explores these themes with: Dr. David Shullman, IRI's Senior Advisor, oversees IRI’s work addressing the influence of China and other autocracies on democratic institutions and governance in countries around the world. He recently edited IRI's report, entitled "Chinese Malign Influence and the Corrosion of Democracy" | @DaveShullman
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