Media, Participation and Democracy

24. DAVID BYRNE Democracy in Action, 2011 multimedia installation with twenty-five digital photo frames overall, 37 1/2 x 78 x 2 1/4 inches

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.

Supplementary Resources

LSE Podcasts. Global Media System, Public Knowledge and Democracy (audio)

University of Cambridge. Alastair Campbell: Journalism and democracy: grounds for optimism in the face of the future? (audio)

LSE Podcasts. 2014 Polis Journalism Conference – LSE Media Policy Project session: Watching the watchdogs – Watching the watchdogs (audio)

Harvard University. Partisanship in the Non-Partisan Press: The Implications of Media Bias for Democracy (audio)

LSE Podcasts. Blaming Europe? Citizens, Governments and the Media (audio)

How digital media and big data are redefining democracy: Clifton Van Der Linden at TEDxUofT (vid)

World Forum for Democracy: “Media responsibility and potential to foster democracy” (vid)

DemocracySpot. 12 Papers on Social Media and Political Participation

THE RESEARCHING AND TEACHING COMMUNICATION SERIES. RESEARCHING MEDIA, DEMOCRACY AND PARTICIPATION

Spreading the News: The Role of Media in Transitioning Democracies (vid)