The Future of Political Discourse

There is no democracy without freedom of expression. At the same time, not every supposed expression of opinion can enjoy fundamental rights protection. This is an old problem that takes on a whole new relevance in times of online platforms and messenger services. 

How can we safeguard the great good of freedom of speech and opinion and at the same time combat hatred and disinformation in a targeted manner? What do we report about, who do we ignore and how far does freedom of opinion go in an increasingly polarized political environment? Does it take a journalistic “attitude” or are journalists in fact just observers who reflect the actions of the powerful, no matter how abstruse the allegations are?

Media professionals and politicians are increasingly exposed to criticism and hostility. The loss of trust in the traditional gatekeepers of the media industry and in democratic institutions can lead to a serious problem of legitimacy for liberal democratic states.

For democracies, whose cohesion is based on the participation and consent of their citizens, the digital-media revolution poses a new challenge. How they deal with it will have an impact on how they succeed in the new competition between liberal and authoritarian political systems.

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