Athens Forum debates threats to democracy


The changes that the coronavirus pandemic will bring to the functioning of democracy were discussed on the second day of the Athens Democracy Forum Thursday, along with the lessons of the Plague of Athens.

Referring to the effects of the pandemic, Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis said the “normality we knew no longer exists,” noting that democracy is a system with imperfections, but the best that has existed.

Microsoft President Brad Smith cited the role of cyberspace misinformation from Russia over the past four years and the decline in the readability of newspapers as current threats to democracy.

The role played by the plague in the demise of the ancient Athenian democracy was also discussed by Farah Nayeri, culture writer for The New York Times, and historian Katherine Kelaidis, a visiting professor at Loyola University. 

The Forum, which wraps up Friday, is organized by the Democracy & Culture Foundation, in association with The New York Times.