We need to further improve the efficacy of our judiciary so that public officials are held accountable
It is concerning to note that, according to a democracy report by Sweden’s V-Dem Institute, Bangladesh’s Liberal Democracy Index (LDI) was at an all-time high in 2010 but has, in the span of the last decade, dropped by nine percentage points.
But at the same time, the report -- which is meant to summarize the state of democracies around the world while also considering the various developments that have taken place over the last 10 years considering over 30 million data points -- does provide some hope, considering the fact that our nation has fared far better as a democracy than most of our neighbours.
While such studies should always be taken with a grain of salt and the parameters for the scores should always be considered, the drop in democratic “points” should come as little surprise, considering some of the ways in which democratic rights have eroded for Bangladeshi citizens, with the report showcasing 12% drops in the Civil Liberty and Electoral Democracy indexes, with the Freedom of Expression Index revealing a 15% drop.
A better approach to the study would be to see it as a metric for areas in which we need vast improvements. As a nation with a 100-year-plan to rise out of the ashes of its violent past and establish itself as a developed nation, and considering the various ways in which we have seen progress, especially in the economy, it is imperative that we prioritize the quality of democracy under which Bangladeshis are being governed.
To that end, laws such as the Digital Security Act require scrutiny as they provide avenues for law enforcement officials to abuse their power and we need to further improve the efficacy of our judiciary so that public officials are held accountable.
We can, and must, do better.