Op-ed Editor/International

Indian poll officials carry electronic voting machines from a distribution center in Amritsar on Feb. 3. (NARINDER NANU/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

Dear Readers:

Welcome to DemocracyPost.

We used to take the spread of democracy for granted. Communism collapsed. People power triumphed in one country after another. The Arab Spring promised a new flowering of freedom.

How long ago that now seems. Everywhere we look, autocrats are on the march. Populist revolts are upending old assumptions. Democratic institutions face new threats even in places with long traditions of liberal values.

Yet there is another story beneath those headlines. In poll after poll around the world, citizens constantly reassert their longing for true democracy. They want to choose their own leaders, and they want to hold those leaders accountable for their action. They want to participate in civic life. They want control over their own destinies.

This, in short, is the story of 21st-century democracy – a story that DemocracyPost can tell like no one else. Our reporting will examine the struggles of dissidents and reformers, the push for free elections and the fight against corruption. Our authors will road-test strategies for circumventing dictators and promoting positive social change. We will explore the theories and realities of revolution, the complexities of political participation, and the special role of the middle class. We’ll look at tensions between reformers and autocrats in places ranging from Hong Kong to Istanbul — and we’ll be sure to include the “consolidated democracies” of the West, where so many of the old certainties suddenly appear to be up for grabs.

While many of our contributors undoubtedly favor democracy over despotism, our reporting will come from a range of perspectives, opinions and disciplines. We will eschew grand abstractions and scholasticism in favor of the practical and concrete. And, in the true democratic spirit, we will give privileged place to writers from the countries we’re covering — people who have an immediate and personal interest in the outcome.

We can’t claim to be entirely disinterested. By sharing our reporting about the challenges facing democracy around the world, we hope to contribute to the betterment of democratic institutions. By making our reporting as accessible as possible, we aim to open up the discussion of democracy to new audiences. And by striving for accuracy and depth, we aim to combat the rise of misinformation and to promote the kind of well-informed debates that are the lifeblood of true democracy.

We hope you will join us.

About the editor:

Christian Caryl has reported from some 50 countries in the course of his career as a foreign correspondent, including stints as a Newsweek bureau chief in Moscow and Tokyo and covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.