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Legacy media and political parties are both threatened by a growing disconnect between citizens and the elites, and the emergence of new political and media actors offering fresh opportunities for members of the public to participate in political life. The objective of the World Forum for Democracy 2017 is to review novel initiatives and approaches which can enhance democratic practices and help parties and media, but also other political actors, to re-connect.

We are media partners to World Forum for Democracy 2017: the subject this year is 'populism'. Our week on the front page begins on October 21 in the run-up to that event and asks what kind of media we need "to re-connect to citizens, make informed choices and function optimally in 21st century democracy."

Jazz singer Lisa Simone opens the World Forum for Democracy

The daughter of Nina Simone performed at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on Wednesday, and talked about her mother's legacy.

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Education, Islam and Criticality

Can a new kind of integrated knowledge-creation occur, that is outside as well as inside the post-Enlightenment western tradition? Book review.

'It's a sense of adventure' - How Vouliwatch is reinventing politics in Greece

Vouliwatch is a new online platform which is revolutionising politics in Greece by introducing transparency and accountability into the country's parliament. Can it work elsewhere?

'There is unity in diversity' - interview with Boriss Cilevičs MP

At the 2017 World Forum for Democracy, Latvian MP Boriss Cilevičs discusses minority rights in the EU, the war in Ukraine, the demographic crisis in eastern Europe, and the EU's response to the ongoing migration crisis.

Populism matters beyond just Europe and the US. Here’s why

Our key finding is that the international structure and the regional context are decisive in determining the exact content of populist ruptures around the world.

“Is Populism a Problem”? – a story for the World Forum for Democracy 2017

If you’ve ever shared a room with an elephant… you know what matters isn’t the presence of an unpredictable beast – what matters is the fragility of that room.

Why progressives should support wikileaks

It is a fundamental political error to casually associate Wikileaks with neoconservatism or reactionary populism. No affinity between these two worlds is possible.

Video games and socio-political change: interview with Victor Fleurot (2084/)

Why not use a medium at the heart of technological changes to express critical ideas on socio-political developments?

‘Shame has to switch sides’ – Feminist activist Inna Shevchenko on #MeToo

The Femen 'partisan' talks about #MeToo protests and why a recent Roman Polanski celebration in France was “an insult to all women”.

Hong Kong democracy activist Agnes Chow: “it's never easy to fight for what we believe in”

Founding member of the Demosistō political party talked to World Forum for Democracy youth delegates about the importance of social movements and direct action.

When faith fills ballot boxes

Ironically, the message of scientific temper, modernity, secularism resonated more in India when the rate of literacy was low. Distinctions between science and mythology and mythology and history keep eroding.

Democracy is dead: long live democracy!

Any successful attempt to prevent the real social media pathologies – such as extremist, abusive and hateful behavior online  – must be multi-faceted, thoughtful, collaborative and evidence based.

‘Many seeds are brought here’: hands up for participation?

The World Forum for Democracy 2017 discusses whether participatory democracy could be an antidote to populism.

Jazz singer Lisa Simone opens the World Forum for Democracy

The daughter of Nina Simone performed at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on Wednesday, and talked about her mother's legacy.

From Fake to Fact – and then?

Do all of us need to move outside our ‘comfort zones’ and self-imposed ‘echo chambers’, both  to come up with better diagnoses of the populist challenge, and to define constructive political action collectively ?  

Catalonia: now what?

Last October 27, in hours, Catalonia went from independence being declared by the Barcelona Parliament to having its system of self-rule taken over by the government in Madrid. Español

Facts will not save (the youth) from Fake. Citizenship will

How can we reconquer the capital city, symbolically – both in real and virtual terms – to capture the imagination of youth, to reorient it towards creativity, imagination and engagement?

One year after the Jungle: a wasteland of misery and last hopes

People still live in the Jungle camp outside Calais, one year after the French police turned it into a wasteland. Cold, wet, constantly harassed – how much longer must they wait?

Patriotic education is textbook propaganda

Resistance is vital if we are to spare children from the mind-numbing diet of national superiority and state allegiance that governments around the world are trying to feed them.

Italian free radio: giving a voice to the people

“We have about 15,000 supporters who give a fixed share each year. And that is something special. We are not just a radio, we are a community.”

Why Catalonia does not deserve to be independent

If we accept such self-serving and irresponsible arguments in one case, the whole of Europe is gone.

Why I write

“Though my writing career has gone further than I ever imagined, it has come at a high personal price, namely life in exile.”

Young women mobilise against ‘revenge porn’ and online abuse

Survivors of cyber attacks and young feminist digital rights activists tell of the damage done by this violence – and why they’re fighting back.

Beyond bloodsucking

Unique in Fisher’s argument was an acknowledgement that in liberal politics the tendency with every political question, is to reduce it to personal responsibility instead of solidarity.

Introducing this week's theme: Strasbourg's World Forum for Democracy 2017 looks at 'media, parties and populism'

openDemocracy is partnering with the World Forum for Democracy 2017. This week we ask: what media, what political parties, what politicians do we need to re-connect with citizens? Is the problem fake news or fake democracy?

Nothing new about fake news

Media diversity must mean more than more of the same. The media sphere needs to be a public space where debates occur among and between many different groups and classes.

An interesting Brexit experiment worthy of analysis

“The public have been largely left out of debates on Brexit, with parties split over what voters want.”

Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s populist gamble

The irony is despite dismissing notions of left and class, the sociology of Mélenchon’s electorate is clearly left-wing and their vote is a class vote against the right and extreme right.

“Even when they’re wrong, they’re right”

The biggest problem with immigration is the common misperception that it is a problem. But shifting unduly negative perceptions requires more than simply presenting the facts.

To ban or not to ban? That is the question

Should we allow those fringe anti-systemic parties to undermine our democratic regimes from within, or should we ban them?

Wikimedia 2030: a fair wind for free knowledge

As of October 2, this year, there is a Strategic Direction formulated for the Wikimedia Movement.

Hate speech: a dilemma for journalists the world over

In extreme cases, a culture may have so demeaned or dehumanised a particular community that hate speech against it sounds normal and unobjectionable to many people, including journalists.

The antirumours strategy and multi-level learning

In 2014, the Council of Europe led a European project to adapt and evaluate the antirumours methodology in 10 European cities. Now the interest is worldwide.

The anti-Islamist campaign and Arab democracy

Egyptians, Libyans, Tunisians, and other Arabs deserve better than to be told that they must choose between extremism and chaos or autocracy.

Combating online abuse with the principles of nonviolent resistance

Individual and collective empowerment may be a more effective strategy than policing or legal action.

What China can teach the west about digital democracy

China is a repressive country. It’s also a laboratory for democracy in the digital age.

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