Friday, 9 November 2018

A healthy democracy and a free press

The press is having a tough time in the States at the moment:
Donald Trump threatens other reporters' White House press passes
The US press corps has to learn to stand up to Trump | Suzanne Moore | Opinion | The Guardian

Even Fox News is finding this difficult:
Trump slams CNN’s Acosta for press conference performance: ‘You are a rude, terrible person’ | Fox News
Some at Fox News are tired of the Trump-cheering. | The New Republic
Fox News’ John Roberts Defends CNN After Trump Refuses Question from ‘Fake News’
ThinkProgress - Trump’s press conference with Putin crosses the line for Fox News | Facebook

Meanwhile, in other parts of the world, civil society - including the freedom to report on issues - is under a lot of pressure
Futures Forum: Civil society under threat
Futures Forum: Against charity: for NGOs

And that includes the UK:
Futures Forum: The Lobbying Act, civil society and criminalising dissent >> 'Why charities have been gagged in the UK election'

Peter Pomerantsev, author of "Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: Adventures in Modern Russia" is suggesting that we are entering a new model of how things happen in politics:
Futures Forum: "Political technologists" - is this the future of democracy?
Futures Forum: Brexit: and "Nothing is True and Everything is Possible"
Futures Forum: Moving beyond the ideological boundaries and "empowering people to find the solutions to their problems themselves"
Futures Forum: Managed democracy: "The deliberate undermining of people's perception of the world, by creating confusion and contradiction ... undermining any opposition to existing power structures ... which leaves us feeling helpless and depressed and to which the only response is: 'Oh dear'." 

These themes are considered on Radio 4 this week:

How to kill a democracy

Sunday 11th November 2018

How many democracies around the world are gradually being dismantled. Democracies today are less and less likely to be overthrown in violent coups. Today’s methods of establishing one party rule are much more subtle and insidious.

Political scientist Professor Matt Qvortrup explores how the modern authoritarian leader takes control of his or her country.

High on their list will be subtly manipulating elections to win with a comfortable but credible majority: appointing their own supporters to the judiciary whilst watering down their powers: silencing critics in the press while garnering positive coverage from their media supporters: punishing opponents by denying them employment while rewarding lackeys with key positions. And using technology to help rig votes and spread propaganda.

Matt traces these methods back to Roman times while looking at their contemporary relevance in countries as diverse as Kenya, Poland, Hungary, and Venezuela.

BBC Radio 4 - Analysis, How to kill a democracy

Andrew Marr also looked at this at the beginning of the week:
BBC Radio 4 - Start the Week, Reporting from the Front Line

And every morning, we had one very brave journalist's account of reporting from the front line:
BBC Radio 4 - Book of the Week, In Extremis: The Life of War Correspondent Marie Colvin, Episode 1

Things seem to be going the other way - hopefully - in East Devon:

A new newspaper for Ottery!

Friday, 02 November 2018

The Paper for Honiton has recently gone on sale in Pearson’s Newsagent in Ottery and I can thoroughly recommend it.

It carries Ottery news and from around the district as well as stories from Honiton. It was launched last year following the sad closure of the Pulman’s View From Series.

It has quite a strong health focus and its editor is Tim Dixon, who formerly edited the Western Daily Press. If you’re in Pearson’s don’t be put off by the title, buy a copy and see what you think. It’s a great newspaper! ....

A new newspaper for Ottery! - Claire Wright

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