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This week's editor

NSS, editor

Niki Seth-Smith is a freelance journalist and contributing editor to 50.50.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Why we should oppose British air strikes against ISIL in Syria

Britain’s Prime Minister says we should not undertake air strikes lightly – he is right: we need to think about legitimate state building, not replying to terror with terror.

Why the BBC’s independence is the best guarantee of its creative freedom

The BBC should have an effective system of regulation that guarantees its editorial independence and creative freedom, including the freedom to fail.

Another ‘Dodgy Dossier’ for war

Undeterred by the disastrous results of ‘regime change’ in Iraq and Libya, western powers have for four years been determinedly trying to help regime change in Syria along.

Reactions to Mr Osborne’s autumn statement

Today, UK's Chancellor George Osborne set out the Conservative Government’s fiscal plans for the current Parliament and beyond. First reactions to the Chancellor’s speech from four members of the network Economists for Rational Economic Policies (EREP).

Where is the outrage on David Cameron’s scandal in the Gulf?

The UAE, we now know, was busy planning its own operation against Muslim Brotherhood affiliates at home while urging David Cameron to do the same in Britain.

Women cyclists are dying, why are we still talking about their clothes?

Cycling deaths are gendered and women's cycling needs must taken into account by planners and campaigners.

If the BBC’s not independent, it is no use to any of us

In the week Tony Hall called for strengthening the BBC’s independence we follow contributions from Colin Browne and Howard Davies to ask could a new regulatory structure be the answer? 

Can democracy and genocide co-exist in Burma?

The treatment of Rohingya may be a detail in the general opening up and wooing of a state known for its unspoilt and unexploited natural resources. But what about western media?

Democracy and belonging

In 2006, a conversation before a large audience in Rotterdam on the role that Muslims should play in European societies took place, between Dyab Abou Jahjah, then president of the Arab European League with its Antwerp headquarters, and Tariq Ramadan. openDemocracy’s Editor was there. Archive.

Blame games

The perpetrators of the attacks on the London Underground in 2005 were also born and raised in Britain. So much for the British-French dichotomy.

"The BBC stands for what we all have in common".

Last week OurBeeb editor Aaron Bastani spoke to Peter Oborne about the BBC, its future and the role of public service broadcasting in modern Britain.

Why does the BBC see the future of television production as a commercial venture?

The BBC plans to take the bulk of its television programme production out of its public service division to create a separate commercial body, BBC Studios, which would be a wholly owned subsidiary of the BBC Group.

Is the BBC’s wall-to-wall coverage of the Paris atrocities doing the terrorists' job for them?

How informative, entertaining, and educational is saturation reporting of the Paris attacks? Is the BBC simply helping ISIS to build its distinctive, shock-value brand?

The media did cover attacks on *insert country here*. You just weren’t reading it.

After the Paris attacks many people are saying how horrible the media is for belittling tragedies outside of Europe and the US, but mainstream media did cover attacks on *insert country here*. You just weren’t reading it.

The UK Investigatory Powers Bill – one step forward, two steps back

"Following the tragic attacks in Paris and Beirut, let us bear in mind the recent call by MI5 Director General Andrew Parker for surveillance laws prioritizing both proportionality and efficiency."

What we talk about when we (can’t) talk about mass surveillance

As the UK's draft Investigatory Powers Bill makes its way towards being made law, we need to say something now. If we are not careful, when we do open our mouths, a jail cell may be waiting. 

How not to counter Modimania

It has been India’s strength not to think in black-and-white terms. “If you are not with us, you are against us” is not what is normally heard in India. 

Brexit could help the EU reshape itself

The EU's democratic deficit has never been more obvious. A Brexit could shake things up for the better.

After the Trust, how can we guarantee an independent BBC?

Most agree the BBC Trust is a busted flush, but that leaves a dilemma: what model of governance might provide the best guarantee for the BBC’s independence?

Red carpets for everyone? Cameron ought to tackle Sisi on human rights

We can expect the PM to talk to Egypt's president about trade and security—but what about disappearances, detentions, and stifled dissent?

Which source do students trust more? BBC News vs Facebook News Feed

Despite growing disenchantment with TV and the press, new research finds students continue to trust the BBC and mainstream media more than their Facebook friends.

Now is the time to defend the public’s right to know

Britain has just attended the Open Government Partnership Summit in Mexico as the world leader on open data policy – a clear winner, now under threat. How come?

Anti-colonialism, grassroots nationalism and their impacts on international relations in Egypt

How do uprisings and national discourses in Egypt shape the international relations of the country? How are we to understand the current state of Egyptian nationalism and its relationship with the Arab world post-2011?

The Investigatory Powers Bill is our chance to publicly set the rules around surveillance

The UK successor to the Snooper’s Charter will be published next week. Whether we demand and engage in debate will shape the privacy and security we can expect to have.

Does surveillance mean the death of democracy?

Civil liberties activists are busy writing the script of how digital surveillance killed our democracies. Yet, their true enemy lies elsewhere. Português. Español.

Is the BBC licence fee still up for grabs?

John Whittingdale says the July agreement did not settle the BBC licence fee: is this a Government U-turn?

The BBC and the over-75s: what is the truth?

The BBC viscerally opposes subscription: it wants universal access to homes that only criminal enforcement can deliver.

Surveillance, privacy, and the British press

In the surveillance versus privacy debate that followed Snowden’s revelations, the UK government and the British press have been rather strange bedfellows.

The EU's nerve-wracking disconnect on surveillance

Each time an EU government is confronted with a threat to security, it nearly always plunges into knee-jerk reactions at the risk of undermining the very freedoms its officials claim to protect.

Scotland might keep the UK in Europe

Could Scottish ‘yes’ voters deprive the eurosceptics of victory in the EU referendum?

Preventing violent extremism: a noose that is both too tight and too loose

The British government's programme to counter violent extremism hands religious fundamentalists the gift of a narrative of victimhood, narrowing the political space for secular feminists and others to challenge fundamentalism.

"One very simple, but radical, idea: to democratise Europe." An interview with Yanis Varoufakis

As he prepares to launch a new, pan-European movement for change, Yanis Varoufakis sits down with Can Europe make it? to discuss democracy in Europe, Brexit, and the other part of Plan X.

Memetic engineering: conspiracies, viruses and historical agency

Ideas, just like viruses or organisms, do not spontaneously generate, even if certain historical circumstances make the rise and spread of a given idea more likely.

Why Jeremy Corbyn is not Alexis Tsipras

Those who think that Jeremy Corbyn could turn the Labour party into a British Syriza should think again.

Time for a reckoning: NGOs, public trust and democracy

Accountability practices, intended to increase trust in NGOs, can lead to a narrow focus on projects at the expense of engaging in wider campaigning for social transformation. 

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