The virtues and flaws of democracy

04 November 2011

Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws discusses the nature and characteristics of democracy in the BBC World Service’s The Forum, recorded in Parliament to mark the first ever Parliament Week.

The programme was broadcast at 9am, Sunday 6 November and is available online and to download.

A leading barrister and an expert in human rights law, civil liberties and constitutional issues Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws was on a panel, chaired by Bridget Kendall, that also included Ramachandra Guha, chair in History and International Affairs at LSE and professor Madawi Al-Rasheed, King's College London, an expert on Arab affairs.

With social media bringing about social change in a number of undemocratic nations, the panel examined the virtues and flaws of democracy. Is the Western version the only model of democracy? Should democratic values be universal? And what's the future for 21st century democracy in a globalised world whose societies are becoming more diverse?

Discussion ranged from ‘general elections’ to ‘the election of generals’, liberal Western feminism to radical Muslim feminists and many points in between. Taking questions from a 100-strong audience, the panel explored the state of democracy in the UK alongside democracy in India, South Africa and Latin America.

Photographs from the discussion will be available from The Forum website.

Further information

The inaugural Parliament Week featured a variety of activities taking place at locations across the UK from 31 October to 6 November.

Parliament Week is a new national initiative launched jointly by the House of Commons and the House of Lords which raises public awareness of Parliament and encourages people to engage with the UK's democratic systems and institutions.

Image: PA

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