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Peter Oborne's HBSC/Telegraph revelations expose a fundamental threat to press freedoms. Contribute to openDemocracy today, so we can keep bringing you the stories others won't.

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Mary Fitzgerald
20 February 2015

Dear readers,

This week openDemocracy broke a story which casts a shadow over our democracy. Peter Oborne’s allegation that Britain’s Daily Telegraph has suppressed embarrassing stories about big corporations like HSBC rather than risk advertising revenues cannot be ignored. If journalism doesn’t hold power to account, democracy doesn't work.

Today, we're launching a funding appeal so we can keep bringing you the stories that others won't. Join us here.

Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised by the Telegraph/HSBC scandal. As we have stopped paying for news, papers have become increasingly dependent on advertisers. That leaves us with a stark reality. Either we find a way to fund journalism into the future, or democracy itself is in peril.

On openDemocracy, we don’t shy away from fearless reporting. We’ve taken on G4S, governments and vast banks. Because we’re a not-for-profit, there are no corporate owners or shareholders expecting dividends. But it also means we need your support to continue.

It’s normal, when fundraising, to promise specific outcomes. To break it down into neat packages of “£2 pays for a coffee, £100 pays for an article”. But in all honesty, you know it’s not that simple.

The truth is that the best journalism comes when reporters follow whatever scent they find to wherever it takes them. That is what we are asking you to help pay for.

We can't allow truth to be caged by a dependence on advertisers. Contribute today, and help set journalism free.

Thank you, in advance,

Mary Fitzgerald, Editor-in-Chief

PS: In his resignation statement on openDemocracy, Peter Oborne wrote:

“A free press is essential to a healthy democracy. There is a purpose to journalism, and it is not just to entertain. It is not to pander to political power, big corporations and rich men. Newspapers have what amounts in the end to a constitutional duty to tell their readers the truth.

“It is not only the Telegraph that is at fault here. The past few years have seen the rise of shadowy executives who determine what truths can and what truths can’t be conveyed across the mainstream media.”

This worrying trend is why openDemocracy exists. Our model depends on a simple belief: that you are willing to pay for what we do. Please keep this hope alive and contribute here.

Can there be a green populist project on the Left?

Many on the Left want to return to a politics based on class, not populism. They point to Left populist parties not reaching their goals. But Chantal Mouffe argues that as the COVID-19 pandemic has put the need for protection from harm at the top of the agenda, a Left populist strategy is now more relevant than ever.

Is this an opportunity for a realignment around a green democratic transformation?

Join us for a free live discussion on Thursday 22 October, 5pm UK time/12pm EDT.

Hear from:

Paolo Gerbaudo Sociologist and political theorist, director of the Centre for Digital Culture at King’s College London and author of ‘The Mask and the Flag: Populism and Global Protest’ and ‘The Digital Party: Political Organisation and Online Democracy’, and of the forthcoming ‘The Great Recoil: Politics After Populism and Pandemic’.

Chantal Mouffe Emeritus Professor of Political Theory at the University of Westminster in London. Her most recent books are ‘Agonistics. Thinking the World Politically’, ‘Podemos. In the Name of the People’ and ‘For a Left Populism’.

Spyros A. Sofos Researcher and research coordinator at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University and author of ‘Nation and Identity in Contemporary Europe’, ‘Tormented by History’ and ‘Islam in Europe: Public Spaces and Civic Networks'.

Chair: Walid el Houri Researcher, journalist and filmmaker based between Berlin and Beirut. He is partnerships editor at openDemocracy and lead editor of its North Africa, West Asia project.

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