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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.

How do we work after coronavirus?

The pandemic has profoundly changed our working lives. Millions have lost their jobs; others have had no choice but to continue working at great risk to their health. Many more have shouldered extra unpaid labour such as childcare.

Work has also been redefined. Some workers are defined as 'essential' – but most of them are among the lowest-paid in our societies.

Could this be an opportunity?

Amid the crisis, there has been a rise in interest in radical ideas, from four-day weeks to universal basic income.

Join us on 5pm UK time on 20 August as we discuss whether the pandemic might finally be a moment for challenging our reliance on work.

In conversation:

Sarah Jaffe, journalist and author of 'Work Won't Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone', due to be published next year.

Amelia Horgan, academic and author of 'Lost in Work: Escaping Capitalism', also due to be published next year.

Chair: Alice Martin, advisory board member of Autonomy, a think tank dedicated to the future of work.

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