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Media freedom in the age of terror

At the core of our liberty is freedom of expression, freedom to associate, freedom to collaborate, freedom to innovate. Powerful people and institutions, notably governments and corporations, are attacking these core values in the Digital Age, typically in the name of protecting us or giving us more convenience, and there's some truth in both. But in the process, these powerful entities are locking down more and more of our computing and communications, and creating a system of control over what we say and do.

In an age of terror, how do we protect the journalists, activists and whistleblowers who have inspired a brave fightback? How do we continue to tell truth to the rich and powerful, and uncover things that the rich and powerful would prefer to keep secret? With the World Forum for Democracy, we ask, can we continue to be thorough, accurate, fair, independent and transparent, despite the collusion between governments and big companies to keep track of what we are doing? Can we serve newly-informed and diverse publics in a way that combats the politics of fear?

Media responsibility in the age of terror

Professor Katrin Nyman-Metcalf, and journalists Rita Chinyoka and Nadezhda Azhgikhina discuss feeding terror, hate speech, and the responsibilities of mainstream media, at the World Forum for Democracy.

We’ve moved forward since 9/11

'A lot more people are aware that the decisions made by policymakers, the positions taken by the media in the wake of 9/11 in the United States, were mistakes.'

Critical masses, chilling effects, and coalitions

Intelligence sharing today is in essence a way for one agency to do the job that another can’t do because of the safeguards placed on it. Interview.  

Online media: personal data collection as a source of revenue?

The limits of the ad-based revenue model are starting to show. Should we worry about online publishers getting involved in personal data collection in order to maintain income?

Turkey: from “role model” to “illiberal democracy”

If the west sees Turkey as a dumping ground for refugees, ignoring its transformation into an authoritarian regime allegedly assisting jihadist groups, an even more chaotic Middle East will ensue. 

Mourning Paris, Beirut and Kabul

Most western commentators describe ‘the events’ in Paris as entirely different, an attack on our way of life. Which ‘way of life’ is under attack in Kabul and Beirut? 

Paris and Beirut: journalism’s selective compassion

Is it editors, journalists or audiences to blame?

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.

After Paris: live news should challenge narratives, not recreate them

After the Paris attacks there is a desperate desire on the part of major news organizations to create and drive the narrative of terror attacks, when what they should be doing is questioning and interrogating narratives.

Confession of a Russian internet provider


A firsthand account of how the internet is monitored, regulated and blocked in the Russian Federation.


Fast tech, slow citizens

As we hurtle through an age of immense digital development, there are too many possibilities to lose a grip on our privacy, self-determination and democratic dignity.

Did Murdoch win?

Four years ago Rupert Murdoch was on the brink. Now he’s resurgent. Martin Hickman, co-author of Dial M for Murdoch, asks whether the phone hacking scandal changed anything.

Smooth censorship in Russia

Everybody understands everything, everybody knows everything, and no one says anything aloud.

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.

Life and death in the Sun newsroom

Britain’s best-selling daily paper sells 1.8 million copies a day. What happens there matters – for staff, journalism and society. So what does happen there?

Part of our series on the latest Sun trials.

Choke points for the preservation of our liberty

Press freedom is only where we should start as activists, not where we should stop.

What can social media platforms do for human rights?

Policy decisions by companies like Facebook and Twitter affect freedom of expression globally. Civil society has constructive solutions to this problem – tech firms must continue to listen and work with us.

How can we build a democratic media?

Ahead of the Media Democracy Festival, what can we all be doing to emulate in the rest of the UK the democratic media taking hold in Scotland?

The new journalism outfit that is shaking up Hong Kong’s establishment media

Launched in the wake of the city’s Occupy protests, Hong Kong Free Press aims to “shine a light in dark places”.

Time to fight for the BBC

George Osborne and his neoliberal backers are not just attacking the BBC. They're launching a concerted assault on Britain’s democratic public culture.

The press campaign so far - the 'coup' gathers pace

The groundwork continues to be laid for what amounts to overturning the constitution on May 8th.

Doctors of the World: how we discovered GCHQ was spying on us

Why do intelligence agencies think it's acceptable to identify our humanitarian doctors, nurses and midwives as a threat to national security?

Nine questions for the Telegraph and HSBC

A month after explosive allegations about advertisers' influence over the UK Telegraph's editorial decisions, the paper has still failed to answer serious questions.

Our dirty little secrets

Peter Oborne’s revelations about the Telegraph and HSBC must be the beginning, not the end. Time for us all to come clean. I’ll start.



On the accuracy of our Oborne story

The Telegraph accuse us of publishing "inaccuracy and innuendo", but they haven't pointed to any specific errors in Peter Oborne's piece.

Why I have resigned from the Telegraph

The coverage of HSBC in Britain's Telegraph is a fraud on its readers. If major newspapers allow corporations to influence their content for fear of losing advertising revenue, democracy itself is in peril.

Charlie Hebdo [insert 'offence' here]

Why did hundreds of media outlets across the world publish the most offensive images of all? (And I'm not talking about cartoons...)

Charlie Hebdo tragedy: free speech and its broader contexts

This was a specific attack designed to sow division. We musn't let it.

Charlie Hebdo: how journalism needs to respond to this unconscionable attack

The killings at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo highlight the threat to media workers in a world where free expression faces many violent threats. But they provide no excuse for hateful rejoinders.

Say what you want, think what you like

This week's 'interview' with the Turkish PM is deeply problematic, sometimes enraging. It lets large tracts of propaganda go unchallenged. Here's why we published it anyway.

Beyond Al Jazeera: Egypt’s chilling verdict on media freedom

The draconian treatment of three Al Jazeera journalists who have been sent to jail by a Cairo court amidst worldwide condemnation is a sharp reminder to aspiring democrats in Egypt that the Arab Spring in the media is close to collapse.

The Snowden saga begins

This essay is a shortened and adapted version of Chapter 1 of Glenn Greenwald’s new book, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Security State, and appears at with the kind permission of Metropolitan Books. It is republished here with that site's permission.

No more sources

Revelations by Edward Snowden, National Security Agency dissident, have grave implications for the role of journalists in the ‘Fourth Estate’ and the primary duty of source protection in the era of mass-surveillance.

The path to hell…. an investigative journalist’s view of Leveson

The Leveson inquiry and demands for tighter regulation have already led to a chilling effect in the British media. The law of unintended consequences may lead to well-meaning measures undermining "serious" investigative journalism and democracy.

BBC bias? Reporting on Israel and the Palestinians

When it comes to the Israel-Palestine conflict, both lobbies claim that the Corporation is 'on the other side'. Is there any truth in it?

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