There may be serious challenges to Indonesia’s democracy but it could still offer hope to end the Covid-19 crisis, the country’s top diplomat said.
“Despite many challenges, democracy offers a ray of hope and optimism for us to recover from the pandemic,” said Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi in her speech during the 13th Bali Democracy Forum (BDF) on Thursday, December 10.
Retno said some nations that do well in dealing with the Covid-19 crisis are democratic countries.
This is based on the results of the 2020 democratic perception index survey, which shows that 78 percent of the people around the world still believe that democracy is important.
“Therefore, amid the pandemic, we must not waver in our commitment to democracy and democracy should not prevent us from dealing with the pandemic effectively,” she said.
She underscored the importance of maintaining democracy after the pandemic although it is not an easy task to do.
She said that according to the latest Democracy Index, which measures the state of democracy in 167 countries annually, the average global score in 2019 has fallen from 5.48 in 2018 to 5.44. The survey said that it was the lowest point of average global score since the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) produced the Democracy Index for the first time in 2006.
Besides, the 2019 Freedom House Report also found that global freedoms have declined for 14 consecutive years.
“The pandemic may add more challenges to democracy,” she said.
Another challenge is how democratic space can be used to prevent the spread of misinformation and disinformation.
“Misinformation and disinformation have the potential to undermine the government’s efforts to handle the pandemic effectively,” said Retno Marsudi.
Established in 2008, the annual BDF aims to create a progressive democratic architecture in the Asia-Pacific region.
Held virtually for the first time due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s BDF discusses various topics related to democracy and the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Forum in Nusa Dua, Bali is attended by participants and BDF observers on site and virtually.