Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, May 5, 2014

Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, May 5, 2014

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Christian Caryl insists that the best way to fight Putin’s propaganda is by providing solid, fact-based information.

Robert Looney argues that Ghana’s strong democratic institutions can work to save it from the oil curse.

Fadil Aliriza reports on the tortured Tunisian debate on relations with Israel.

Mohamed Eljarh explains how the recent kidnappings of diplomats in Libya have become the latest challenge to the authority of central state institutions.

Juan Nagel analyzes the crisis in Venezuela’s public finances — which continues despite the country’s oil wealth. (In the photo above, members of the national police battle protesters in Caracas.)

Laurence Cockcroft finds that India’s political parties have done little to address one of the most prominent issues in the current election campaign: corruption.

Anna Nemtsova profiles Valery Kaurov, the man who has already declared himself the "president" of a non-existent, separatist Ukrainian state.

And now for this week’s recommended reads:

Freedom House releases its annual report on the health of global journalism. The verdict: Press freedom has reached its lowest point in a decade.

The Irrawaddy reminds Burma’s citizens that press freedom isn’t a gift from an amenable government, but a right they must exercise on their own terms. Human Rights Watch offers a gloomy report on the state of the media in Burma.

Writing for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Anne Wolf offers Tunisia’s secular groups advice on how to rule effectively after the Islamist government’s resignation.

In an in-depth report for the Atlantic Council, Jason Pack, Karim Mezran, and Mohamed Eljarh argue that Libya’s practice of appeasement has exacerbated the existing problems with its transition.

At Project Syndicate, Anne-Marie Slaughter argues that U.S. intervention in the Syrian civil war is a way of pushing back against Putin’s involvement in Ukraine.

In Slate, Fred Kaplan finds that Obama’s sanctions against Russia are unlikely to work — even if they are smarter than most.

Writing for Al-Monitor, Safaa Saleh tracks continuing violence between Christians and Muslims in Minya province in Egypt.

International Crisis Group urges Turkey to devise a long-term plan for its humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees.

In the New Republic, Graeme Wood offers some vivid on-the-ground reporting on the violence and fear in the Central African Republic.

On the Atlantic Council website, Mohamed El Dahshan remembers Bassem Sabry, a much-beloved Egypt analyst who passed away last week.