Past eventMembersChatham House Forum

Chatham House Forum: Is Transparency Good for Democracy?

5 June 2017 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm

Chatham House, London


Ivan Krastev, Chair, Center for Liberal Strategies Sofia; Author, In Mistrust We Trust: Can Democracy Survive When We Don't Trust Our Leaders?



It is often treated as fact that transparency is a good thing for democracy - the more transparent a country’s government and public institutions, the more readily they are subjected to public scrutiny, and so the more trust a population will place in its democratic systems. Yet, in the age of social media, Freedom of Information Acts, broadcasting of legislative debates, independent media and WikiLeaks, public trust in political institutions is in decline.

Ivan Krastev will challenge the idea that increasing transparency improves public trust in democracy, arguing that, in reality, knowing more about those who govern us means that mistrust becomes rife and democratic actions, such as voting, decrease. He will end by making the case that as total transparency is unachievable and any claim of absolute transparency should be treated with suspicion.

About Chatham House Forum

Primarily aimed at younger members but open to our entire membership, each Chatham House Forum considers a question around an important contemporary debate in international affairs.

An expert speaker will offer a polemic in response - providing their answer to this question and outlining the key arguments that have convinced them of their position. The audience then have the chance to query and challenge the speaker’s views in a Q&A session during the second half of the event.

Each event will be followed by a reception with the speaker, allowing attendees to continue the conversation.