Democracy is a topic of great importance for Deutsche Welle. In this special, we present young people who assist the development of their countries - and we encourage debate about the future of political participation.
Deutsche Welle has dealt with the issues of democracy and human rights over several decades - DW reporters were there to witness the Carnation Revolution in Portugal in 1974, as well as the peaceful revolutions in Europe's Eastern Bloc in the late 1980s. Today, they are following uprisings in countries such as Tunisia, Egypt and Syria through their online, TV and radio reports.
A constant factor in all these revolutions is the people's desire to have a say in the political decisions that affect their lives: the desire for democracy. That's because democracy carries many promises and offers the chance to make politics fair and inclusive.
The big questions
Through its multimedia reports in several languages and interactive features, DW's "Power to the People" special takes a look at the big questions surrounding the future of political participation. It shows why people all over the world are demanding change - including the various protest movements that have formed in recent years, like the Arab Spring.
Meanwhile, in eastern Europe, people are mostly protesting against political patronage and corruption. Several brave individuals have called for more oversight and have sought help in the West. But spurred by the current financial crisis, even countries with long-established democracies are now on a quest for change. Many people in EU countries and the United States have protested against the perceived dominance of the financial markets and the disempowerment of democratically elected leaders.
We ask: what do the different protest movements around the world have in common? How can change happen? And, more importantly, how can democracy be reestablished?
While the rhetoric and demands of different activists vary greatly, the majority of those active are young people fighting,in their own ways, for a voice. They question established power structures, often with the help of modern media and technology, and search for new ways to codetermine the future of their countries.
Courage to change
These very actions represent the basic foundations of democracy: involvement, variety and the courage to change - because democracy never just "arrives," and it should never be taken for granted. It is something that has to keep reinventing itself; it is repeatedly renegotiated and won through struggle. And it involves tireless, resilient individuals who dare to believe in a brighter future and take action.
Such people are the central figures in our special. There is the young Egyptian activist who camped out for weeks on Tahrir Square and is now informing the residents of Cairo's poorest districts about their democratic rights. There is also the brave Ukrainian journalist who continues her investigative research in the face of censorship and intimidation. And there is the Spanish designer who aims to make his country's economic system more democratic, and who has already convinced numerous businesses to contribute more to the common good.
But you, the users, can get involved too! you have the opportunity, on our social media channels, to discuss some of the biggest democracy-related questions. Tell us how much responsibility you think the West should take for the democratization of other countries, how digital media may help make revolutions more possible, or whether you think that democracy and economy hinder each other. We want to hear your opinion on all this, and more.
You will find inspiration for your thoughts in powerful and controversial essays written for DW by renowned authors and intellectuals from various countries.
Social networks create more room for debate
For 60 years now, DW has been committed to conveying liberal values, fostering civil society and advocating democracy around the world. Its multimedia and social media presence creates new ways of leading debates on these topics.
"Power to the People" is just one example of DW's cooperation with its partners. The special features the "Mapping Democracy" segment - a project conceptualized by the Goethe Institut and supervised by DW as media partner.