#EURef: ‘That’s Democracy’: but is it the type of democracy we want?

The Democratic Society is more committed than ever to helping bring about a more participative democracy. Many people may feel a lot of cognitive dissonance around democracy right now. 17.4 million people seemingly disagree with 16.1 million people, and just fewer than 13 million people, who were eligible to vote but chose not to, have not had a say at all. However, a decision has been made and people may say ‘well that's democracy.’ But is it the type of democracy we should hope for? As many have pointed out referendums can be…Read more

It’s time we owned the news

Guest post by Laurie Fitzjohn-Sykes Our politicians have failed to act, but we now have an opportunity with crowdfunding to collectively acquire The Times and The Sunday Times from Rupert Murdoch. We can each make a small investment and at the same time help defend our democracy. This would be an important and achievable step towards reducing the concentration of media ownership.It’s now three years since the phone hacking scandal erupted, we’ve had a high profile trial, the Leveson Inquiry, a newspaper has been shut down and a new press regulator has been…Read more

The start of #presspushback

American politics, which is much more ready than the UK to call people "liars" is now in the middle of a big discussion about how true Mitt Romney's convention speech was. The general view seems to be "not that true", but particularly interesting is the attitude and self-examination of the press. This may seem strange to a UK audience, but the US print media actually try to report facts and have a functioning conversation about ethics and morality. A blog post from Jay Rosen (#presspushback) is a good summary of what's being talked…Read more

Our newest publication: Media Regulation and Democracy

I'm delighted to be able to announce the publication of our new report Media Regulation & Democracy, a collection of thinkpieces on that topic that we have produced with the kind support of the Carnegie UK Trust, and which can now be downloaded as a PDF (and will be up on Scribd shortly). Since the piece is a collection from different contributors, it doesn't count as blowing our own trumpet to say that they have produced a fascinating collection of thoughts on a vital democratic issue. The contents are: Media Regulation and Democracy…Read more

Review: The Return of the Public by Dan Hind (@danhind)

I encourage anyone interested in the debate on media standards in and around Leveson to read Dan Hind's The Return of the Public, now released in paperback by Verso. First published in 2010, it antedates the current furore but throws considerable light on it. Hind explores the interplay between conceptions of the political state and the idea of the public from the eighteenth century to the present day. His analysis shows the extent to which political and communications elites have deployed power, money and intellectual self-rationalisation to control the information flows on which…Read more

Media regulation: discussion event report

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been publishing a series of posts from contributors on the topic of media regulation and democracy. On 25 April, the contributors and others gathered at the RSA to discuss their pieces and the issues that were raised, and this is a rough record of the discussion. These are multiple contributors’ views rather than Demsoc’s, and we haven’t attributed them, but the authors will be revising their contributions following this discussion for publication in a pamphlet early next month. Thanks as ever to our partners the Carnegie UK…Read more

Media regulation: leave hyperlocal out of this

Damian Radcliffe is the author of “Here and Now – UK hyperlocal media today”. In this post he argues that at a time when media and digital regulation is under review, hyperlocal media should be left alone. This is a contribution to our media regulation discussion event on Wednesday afternoon. The recent announcement of £1m in funding for new hyperlocal ventures is a welcome shot in the arm for this nascent media industry. The UK is full of great examples of hyperlocal activity. However issues of trust, scalability and sustainability are all key…Read more

Media regulation: Rectifying the flaw

On 25 April, Demsoc is holding a discussion event on media regulation and new democracy at the RSA in London. This contribution to the debate comes from Dave Boyle. If you would like to attend, numbers are limited, but a few free tickets are left. In his famous mea culpa, Alan Greenspan told the US Congress that there was a flaw at the heart of his vision of capitalism, which was that he hadn’t expected shareholders of companies to be unable to ensure their own interests were protected; in his world, such self-interest…Read more

Media regulation: what new democracy needs

Good democracy needs good information. When an article starts like that, you can bet that before long we'll be talking about the right of free speech, and maybe bringing in a quotation from a Founding Father or some other Enlightenment figure, maybe Voltaire saying that he disagrees with what someone says but will defend to the death their right to say it. That's not where I want to go with this. The information that good democracy needs is only sporadically provided by the media today, and developments of democracy - particularly the drive…Read more

Media regulation: what should be regulated, and how?

If we discount the outriders of the press regulation debate – those who believe everything is fine and no regulation is needed; those who want tabloid editors subjected to tortures that would make Torquemada blanch – a polarity emerges. Most people believe the phone hacking scandal and revelations in and around Leveson prove things have gone wrong and that some regulatory remedy is needed. Where they then divide is on whether regulation should be statutory. Those who oppose statutory regulation equate it with state and political control. Those who support it point to…Read more