The Why Democracy? project aims to stimulate a global discussion about democracy through ten one-hour documentaries and seventeen short films. Commissioned by Steps International and first broadcast in October 2007, the films explore how democracies function around the world. Forty-eight broadcasters on 6 continents participated in the project, and the films were viewed in over 180 countries.
Democracy is arguably the greatest political buzzword of our time and is invoked by everyone – but what does it mean? Can it be defined, measured, safeguarded? Can it be sold, bought, and transplanted? Can it grow? Can it die? What does it mean to people who can’t even talk about it? What does it mean to people who don’t believe in it? What does it mean to you?
In October 2007, ten one-hour films focused on contemporary democracy were broadcast in the world’s largest ever factual media event. More than 48 broadcasters on all continents participated, airing the films in over 180 countries. Each of the broadcasters – an A-Z which includes everyone from Al Arabiya to ZDF – produced locally-based seasons of film, radio, debate and discussion to tie in with the global broadcast of the Why Democracy? films.
The films, accompanied by 17 short films, are made by independent award-winning filmmakers from around the world, including China, India, Japan, Liberia, USA, Bolivia, Denmark, Egypt, Pakistan and Russia. With subjects ranging from US torture methods to the election of a class monitor in a Chinese primary school to the Danish Cartoons scandal, the films take a wide-ranging and in-depth look at the world we live in today.
The goal of this guide is to support and stimulate discussions about democracy in conjunction with viewing the films.