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Must Reads of the Week: India Elections, Press Freedom, Saudi Religious Police, and More

Author: Editors
February 14, 2014


"World Press Freedom Index 2014"
Reporters Without Borders

"The 2014 World Press Freedom Index spotlights the negative impact of conflicts on freedom of information and its protagonists. The ranking of some countries has also been affected by a tendency to interpret national security needs in an overly broad and abusive manner to the detriment of the right to inform and be informed."

Protesters tape their mouths in protest against the detainment of Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt, in downtown Beirut February 8, 2014.Protesters tape their mouths in protest against the detainment of Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt.(Photo: Hasan Shaaban/Courtesy Reuters)
"Attacks on the Press in 2013"
Committee to Protect Journalists

"CPJ developed the Risk List in 2012 to highlight countries where press freedom is on the decline. This year, we chose to add the supranational platform of cyberspace to the list because of the profound erosion of freedom on the Internet, a critical sphere for journalists worldwide. In 2013, CPJ also identified Egypt and Bangladesh, torn apart by political polarization, with journalists caught in the middle; Syria, which continues to be wracked by violent conflict; and authoritarian Vietnam."

"How India's Parliamentary Elections Work"
Carnegie Endowment

An infographic on the upcoming elections in India, including an explanation what's at stake in 2014, a history of past elections, and information on the mechanics of the elections. The graphic explores the key parties and the formation of the national government as a whole. India's sixteenth general election is set to take place in late Spring 2014 once the term expires for the current Lok Sabha on May 31, 2014.

"Iran Must Embrace Religious Pluralism"
By Camelia Entekhabifard
New York Times

"Of the approximately hundred thousand Jews in Iran at the time of the revolution, only twenty thousand remain. They…no longer felt welcome in their homeland. Today, despite promises by the new president, Hassan Rouhani, to protect the freedom of ethnic and religious minorities (and the appointment of an aide to focus on their affairs), the persecution continues."

"Monnet's Brandy and Europe's Fate"
By Strobe Talbott
Brookings Essay

"Monnet is once again exerting his influence, this time from beyond the grave. The crisis in the eurozone has focused minds in key capitals on cobbling together institutional measures of the sort that he believed were necessary for monetary union. As a result, his vision of a united Europe may well survive and, over time, succeed."

"I Wanted to Lie Down and Die"
Human Rights Watch

"Since 2006, tens of thousands of Eritreans fleeing widespread human rights abuses and destitution in their country have ended up in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. Until 2010, they passed through Sinai voluntarily and generally without problems and crossed into Israel. But over the past three years, Sinai has increasingly represented a dead-end comprised of captivity, cruelty, torture, and death."

"Death by Finance"
By Dani Rodrik
Project Syndicate

"This is not the first time that developing countries have been hit hard by abrupt mood swings in global financial markets. The surprise is that we are surprised. Economists, in particular, should have learned a few fundamental lessons long ago."

"Rein in the Saudi Religious Police"
By Manal Al-Sharif
New York Times

"The government, for its part, is wary of clamping down on the mutaween for fear of inciting a conservative backlash and is walking a fine line between the religious police and an increasingly angry populace. While dismantling of the force is unrealistic, this delicate moment opens a window of opportunity for Saudis. By continuing to voice anger and disapproval, the public may provide Riyadh with the leverage it needs to demand police adherence to regulations already in place, and slowly weaken the commission's influence."

"Courts, Voters and the Threat of Another Euro Crisis"
By Gideon Rachman
Financial Times

"The results of the European elections in May are likely to be a shock, with anti-European or borderline racist parties, such as the French National Front, winning or coming close to victory in France, the Netherlands, Greece, the UK and Austria. Such dramatic results could destabilise markets and will make it harder for centrist politicians to make the compromises that are always needed to keep Europe going."

"China's Risky Reforms"
By Ian Bremmer, David Gordon
Project Syndicate

"For outsiders, the reform process also poses risks that extend well beyond the global economic fallout of a sharp Chinese slowdown. The country's neighbors, particularly Japan, have the most to fear. If reforms become broadly unpopular or expose dangerous divisions within the leadership, the government will have good reason to divert public attention from controversies at home by picking fights abroad."

Must Reads sample analyses, reporting, and inquiries on foreign policy from around the web selected each week by CFR Editors. See more Must Reads here.

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