There is an increasingly important battle over narrative between democrats and autocrats , in which repressive regimes deploy propaganda to paper over their abuses and to lay the blame for all problems on outside forces supposedly conspiring against them, notes analyst Natalie Nougayrède.
Disinformation is very much part of their strategy, and they have become more privy to using the internet as a tool to identify dissent and lock people up – a growing trend that the US think-tank Freedom House has exposed in a detailed report, she writes for The Guardian:
But the fundamental values enshrined in the UN declaration of human rights of 1948 have preserved their strength despite all the talk about “cultural relativism,” whereby Chinese or North Koreans or Russians or Arabs are supposedly condemned to lower standards in the realm of individual rights. The “model” that China offers, one of mixing autocratic rule with elements of capitalism, is not what the protesting crowds have been calling out for. In Burkino Faso, when a revolt overthrew a dictator who had been long supported by the west, no one suggested the Chinese political and economic system could serve as a new road map for the country. What people want is a rules-based functioning democracy.