Distinguished Professor Dr. Ali Riaz has delivered a lecture at the Tokyo International University (TIU). The title of his lecture was “En Route to Authoritarianism? Democratic Backsliding in Bangladesh.” Delivered virtually, the lecture was a part of TIU’s Global Dialogue series.
Riaz, in his presentation, highlighted the progressive attenuation of democracy in Bangladesh in recent years and discussed the steps taken by the incumbent Bangladesh Awami League, which transformed the country into an electoral authoritarian regime. He showed that Bangladesh’s democratic backsliding has taken place in three stages. These are changes of the rules of governance through constitutional amendments, especially the removal of the caretaker government; targeting opponents, including the media through legislating new laws to curb media freedom and arresting opposition leaders on frivolous charges; and targeting “referees” of the state, such as weakening judicial independence and appointing party loyalists in law enforcement agencies.