The news media play a critical role in the functioning of democracy. Indeed political systems – whatever shape they take – depend on the media.
Ever since the introduction of the first forms of printed press, the impact of the media has always been present. On the one hand there are notions of the media acting as a “watchdog” of democracy, with the ability to hold elected officials to account by making them answerable for their actions.
On the other however there are instances where the media have demonstrated political bias, often acting as the mouthpieces for political interests.
Such instances, combined with the increasing reliance of the mainstream media on corporate interests, mainly through advertising, has led increasingly to a need for alternative media as a means of informing people about a diversity of news, opinions and voices.
Indeed the last decade has seen the proliferation of new digital technologies that have empowered ordinary citizens to have a voice, and to produce and exchange information; the same voices and information that is often ignored by the mainstream media.
For our interlocutors in this edition of the “Resources for Democracy” podcast, the existence of a power imbalance between the media haves and the have nots is where the crux of the issue lies. With their help and insights, we explore the intricate relationship between democracy, participation, and the media.