What hope is there for a re-invigorated democracy in an age of press misinformation and data deluge? The battle for democratic renewal is also a battle about the control of information: who owns it and what they do with it. We urgently need a ‘new commons of information’ in which Assemblies for Democracy takes a lead (two examples given)
“A free press is essential to a healthy democracy. There is a purpose to journalism, and it is not just to entertain. It is not to pander to political power, big corporations and rich men. Newspapers have what amounts in the end to a constitutional duty to tell their readers the truth”.
So said Peter Oborne, the former chief political correspondent of the Daily Telegraph on his resignation from that paper following its fraudulent coverage of the recent HSBC tax dodging scandal. HSBC, one of Europe’s biggest banks, helped wealthy customers dodge taxes and conceal millions of dollars of assets, while circumventing domestic tax authorities. HSBC also happens to be one of the Telegraph’s biggest advertising clients and recently lent its billionaire owners, the Barclay brothers, £250 million for one of their business ventures. No small wonder then that the Telegraph refused to run stories on the HSBC scandal; it simply had too much to lose. Continue reading No democracy without informed citizenship