1998 Press Freedom Survey
On May 3, World Press Freedom Day, Freedom House released its Press Freedom 1998 report, which concludes that only 20 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where press freedom is promoted. Of 186 countries examined, the report found that 67 have a “free press,” 54 have a “partly free press,” and 65 have a press considered “not free.” While the Dominican Republic, Hungary, the Philippines, and S~ao Tomé and Príncipe were upgraded to “free” since last year’s report, Congo-Brazzaville, Djibouti, Kenya, Lebanon, Qatar, and Zimbabwe were all downgraded to “not free.” Some other changes include Brazil moving down to “partly free” status, and Albania, the Central African Republic, and Zambia rising to “partly free.”
For further information, contact Leonard Sussman or Kristen Guida, Freedom House, 120 Wall Street, New York, NY 10005, USA; tel.: 212-514-8040; fax: 212-514-8050; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: www.freedomhouse.org.
Caribbean Electoral Association Established
On March 30–April 1, the Association of Caribbean Electoral Organizations (ACEO) was formally established at a conference held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, under the auspices of the International Foundation for Election Systems, the State Elections Commission of Puerto Rico, and the Organization of American States. The conference, which also focused on promoting access to the political process for citizens with disabilities, was attended by election officials and representatives of nongovernmental organizations from more than 20 countries. Officials from sixteen Caribbean countries became charter members [End Page 185] of the Association during a signing ceremony held at the conclusion of the conference. According to the ACEO Charter, “the purpose of the Association is to promote cooperation and mutual assistance among electoral organizations in the Caribbean in the pursuit of democracy by processes that ensure free, fair, and peaceful elections.”
European Master’s Degree in Democratization
A one-year, multidisciplinary European Master’s Degree in Human Rights and Democratization has been established for 1998–99 by 15 universities with the support of the European Union, the Region of Veneto, and the Municipality of Venice. During the fall semester, students will be taught in Venice by teachers from the participating universities, including leading specialists in international relations, law, philosophy, political science, and sociology. In the spring they will be hosted by one of the 15 universities, where they will attend courses and write a dissertation. The Master’s Degree will be conferred by the University of Padua. The students will be prepared for work as academics, and as staff members or field workers with international, governmental, or nongovernmental organizations.
For application materials and further information, please visit the following website: www.cepadu.unipd.it/sducdu/euromaster/welcome.html.
Norwegian Observers in Albania
The Journal of Democracy has received a letter from Aage Borchgrevink, adviser to the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, taking issue with the way Thomas Carothers characterized the involvement of the Norwegian observer delegation at the Albanian parliamentary elections of May 1996 (see Thomas Carothers, “The Rise of Election Monitoring: The Observers Observed,” in our July 1997 issue). The letter disputes Carothers’s claim that the participation of Norwegian representatives in the observer effort was “facilitated by the Socialist International in cooperation with the Albanian socialists.” Since the Journal of Democracy does not have a “Letters to the Editor” section, we have decided to post the full text of this letter on our website, where readers may access it at www.ned.org/page_2/albania.html.
Report on NED’s International Forum
The Forum recently held three luncheon discussions featuring presentations by Forum visiting fellows. On May 6, Gérard Conac spoke on “Constitutionalism in Africa: Successes and Failures.” On May 13, Dai-Kwon Choi spoke on “The Rule of Law and Political Culture: East Asia and the West.” And on May 21, Dominique Fournier, who had served as an [End Page 186] OAS election observer, spoke on “The 1998 Paraguayan Elections.”
The spring 1998 schedule of the Forum’s lecture series on “The Democratic Invention” concluded with two presentations, one on April 6 by Diogo Freitas do Amaral, professor of political science, University of Lisbon, on “The Portuguese Transition to Democracy,” and one on May 11 by Jean Daniel, editor of Le Nouvel Observateur (France), on “Nation and Democracy.” The lecture series, which the Forum is cosponsoring with the Mário Soares Foundation and the Luso-American Development Foundation, will resume in the fall.
The Forum recently published Democracy in East Asia, a volume based on a conference the Forum cosponsored with the Japan Institute of International Affairs and the Institute of Public Policy Studies (Thailand) in March 1996. The book is the most recent in the Journal of Democracy book series edited by Larry Diamond and Marc F. Plattner. It addresses East Asian political cultures and democracy, East Asia’s democratic experience, consolidating East Asia’s new democracies, possible transitions from authoritarianism, and “the East Asian prospect.”
The Forum welcomed three new visiting fellows in recent months. Robert LaGamma (U.S.), recently retired head of the USIS office in South Africa, is working on a study of the growth of independent media and democratization in Africa. Zakia Jawhar and Halima El Glaoui (Morocco), editors of Prologues, a journal based in Casablanca, are observing the editorial and production process of the Journal of Democracy and other publications in Washington.
Two Nigerian information specialists recently participated in a two-week training program sponsored by the Forum’s Democracy Resource Center. The program provided Pius Udo of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) and Elizabeth Uwagba of the Constitutional Rights Project (CRP) with training in e-mail technology and the Internet, which they hope to use in their organizations’ communications and networking efforts. They also met with human rights organizations in Washington. One result of the training was the establishment of an Internet website for the CLO, located at www.ned.org/page_3/CLO/index.html.
Finally, on June 25-28, the Forum cosponsored with the Stefan Batory Foundation (Warsaw) and the Institute for National Policy Research (Taipei) a conference in Warsaw, Poland, on “International Relations and Democracy.” The conference, which will result in a conference report and an edited volume, addressed the international system after the Cold War, sources of integration and disintegration, democracy as an objective of foreign policy, the international economy and democracy, and democracy and international relations in the postcommunist world. More information about the conference will appear in the next issue of the Journal.
Copyright © 1998 National Endowment for Democracy and the Johns Hopkins University Press