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Policy Briefs

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Latest Policy Briefs and Reports

Policy Brief No.172: Follow the Money: The Economics of Media Capture in Backsliding Democracies

Policy Brief  No.172 - September, 2023 • By Debasish Roy Chowdhury

This Policy Brief examines the relationship between the Indian government and India’s mainstream national-level media. When we think of the global epidemic of media capture, we usually think of intimidation and coercion by neo-authoritarians to gain control over the narrative. India shows how media can also be co-opted through financial inducements, and how institutional norms internal to the media industry are instrumental in this wilful capitulation rather than the fear of the demagogue. This highly evolved model of media control is far more effective in that it not only makes the media fall in line but turns it into an enthusiastic cheerleader of the government, as India’s once vibrant and now dismal media landscape shows.

Policy Brief No.171: Reinvigorating Peace: A Critical Look at the UN’s New Agenda for Peace

Policy Brief  No.171 - September, 2023 • By Jordan Ryan

This Policy Brief analyses how the global landscape has shifted from post-Cold War optimism to current fragmentation, requiring changes in the approach of the United Nations to sustaining peace. It examines the priorities and limitations of the proposed New Agenda for Peace, while analysing issues like sovereignty, development, and enhanced UN integration. This Policy Brief offers concrete, practical recommendations to translate the ambitious sustaining peace vision into reality through continued reforms, recommitment to multilateral solidarity and collaboration, and the political courage to upgrade UN mechanisms for peace.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Policy Brief No.170: “Rent-a-Soldier”: War as Business

Policy Brief  No.170 - August, 2023 • By Herbert Wulf

Wars are not only fought by armed forces. Often, different non-state actors are involved. Private or non-state actors were at times more important than state-established armed forces. Armed conflicts became an attractive and profitable business for some of the participants in wars, who offered themselves for political goals for their economic profit. After the end of the Cold War, economic and personnel shortages in the military sector accelerated privatization, and several factors have contributed to a gold rush for private military companies in the 2000s. They operate in a legal grey area and undermine the state's monopoly on the legitimate use of force. Thus, there is a need to regulate them.

Policy Brief No.169: What is Democratic Resilience and How Can We Strengthen It?

Policy Brief  No.169 - August, 2023 • By Wolfgang Merkel

This Policy Brief explores the concept of resilience which has risen to become a key concept in science and society. As a scientific concept, resilience is, on the one hand, an analytical category that seeks to grasp empirically "what is" (what resilience potential does a particular democratic system have?) and, on the other hand, postulates normatively "what should be" (how is a desirable resilient democracy to be established?). This Policy Brief wants to transform the simple use of the term “democratic resilience” into an analytical concept which allows us to explore the state of resilience of real existing democracies and to discuss the methods, instruments, and ways to strengthen it in times of multiple challenges

Policy Brief No.168: Why Parliaments?

Policy Brief  No.168 - August, 2023 • By John Keane

This Policy Brief charts the history of the parliament of representatives, born more than eight centuries ago in northern Spain. This new instrument of government was among the most precious gifts to the world of modern representative democracy. Parliaments narrowly survived the chaos, war, class conflicts, dictatorships and totalitarianisms of the early decades of the 20th century. Their survival was remarkable, yet there are today signs that the post-1945 renaissance of parliaments is losing momentum. However smart, activist parliaments are on the rise. These legislatures are functioning as watchdog parliaments and their spirit is the grit humans are going to need as we struggle to deal wisely, equitably, democratically with the rich opportunities and cascading dangers of our troubled century.