India becomes ‘an electoral autocracy’. Indian press mostly ignores it

A report on the state of democracy by V-Dem Institute in Sweden was barely covered by the country’s leading media houses.

WrittenBy:NL Team
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A report on the state of democracy in the world by V-Dem Institute, a Swedish independent research institute headquartered at the University of Gothenburg, has classified India as “an electoral autocracy”.

According to the report released on Wednesday, in another year of a global decline for liberal democracy, “the world’s largest democracy turned into an electoral autocracy”.

It further stated that with 68 percent of the world now living in autocracies, electoral autocracy is the most common regime type. The report said that India’s autocratisation process had “largely followed the typical pattern for countries in the ‘Third Wave’ over the past ten years: a gradual deterioration where freedom of the media, academia, and civil society were curtailed first and to the greatest extent”, Scroll reported.

Such a scathing report is newsworthy and should have been highlighted by leading publications. So what did they do? Let us take a look at how leading newspapers covered the story.

The Indian Express

The leading English daily, with a readership of nearly 1.6 million readers, did not carry a report on the story. The New Indian Express also does not have a report on it.


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The Hindu

Another extremely widely read newspaper also did not have a report on the story.

Deccan Herald

Deccan Herald was the only paper to not only carry a report on their website but also have it on their landing page. The report is titled ‘India rated as an ‘electoral autocracy’ by global institute’.

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Times of India

While TOI does have a report on the findings titled ‘India joins growing list of democracies becoming electoral autocracies', it does not find a space on the landing page amongst its ‘Top News Stories’.

A report titled “Woman, lover conspired to kill hubby” was the sixth story on the list of top news stories, but the V-Dem report was nowhere to be found.

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Hindustan Times

Hindustan Times had published a report on the story at 3 AM titled ‘India rated as an ‘electoral autocracy’ by global institute’. However, curiously, the headline cannot be found on its landing page either. Its Top News category included Kangana Ranaut’s comments on Sadhguru’s critics but the democracy report findings were not deemed worthy enough for the landing page.


The Telegraph report was headlined ‘Research organisation declares India as an ‘electoral autocracy’ and it was published on the website at 5 AM. The landing page again does not find any mention of the story. It is the tenth story under the ‘India’ tab.

Other newspapers such as Mint and The Tribune also did not report on the story on their websites.


Indian Express carried a story on the report in its print publication dated March 12. The article is headlined 'Swedish institute calls India electoral autocracy, Rahul says 'no longer a democratic country, as autocratic as Pakistan'. The story found space on the lower half of the seventh page.

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