Among the best sites for keeping tabs on democratic progress or otherwise are:
(Let me know of any that should be added to the list!)
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We have had quite a bit of progress on the democratic front in recent decades although there are still some very big and serious challenges.
Let us look first at the progress. Latin America is no longer run by military dictators and they are becoming the exception in sub-Saharan Africa. Then of course there is eastern Europe where most countries are now democracies.
However, the picture is still pretty grim when we consider the continuing extent of tyranny.
In Russia, democracy is more formality than substance and most the other states of the former Soviet Union are rather dodgy or downright nasty.
China is a police state. Dissidents are jailed. The Internet as we know it does not exist. Lots of western news sites are blocked. There is no Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. And they employ an army of censors taking down anything taboo. And by the way, North Korea only exists because of Chinese support.
Then we have the Middle East. It has more than its fair share of tyrannies and authoritarian governments. At the risk of seeming perverse, I would suggest that the present civil war in Syria could indeed be a bright spot on the democratic front. This will depend on the Western powers recognizing that their inevitable intervention can only end the civil war if it brings democracy.
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