Panellists reflect on the relationship between a healthy information space and resilient democracies. Are the challenges facing journalism creating a crisis of democracy?

Independent professional journalism is a cornerstone of good governance and democratic societies. Despite this critical function, public interest media is in chronic decline.

While accelerated digitalization has given rise to new means of publishing news and opinion, the fourth estate has found itself facing a number of challenges to fulfilling its role as both a trusted source of information and a watchdog. In recent years, billions of dollars of advertising have moved from offline to online and the financial sustainability, and by extension the survival, of independent news reporting is in real question.

The emergence of digital media platforms has also seemingly distributed power to users and external actors who can engage directly with mass audiences and exercise degrees of influence over democratic practices. The rise of algorithms and clickbait content has polarized public debate, disinformation and misinformation are increasingly potent and public trust in traditional and social media alike is eroding.

Are the challenges facing journalism creating a crisis of democracy? What are the roles of government, funders and others in helping rejuvenate a struggling media landscape? And what are the new coalitions needed to coordinate international and regional responses to the information crisis?

Chatham House is hosting this event in partnership with Luminate.

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Rana Ayyub, Journalist and Writer; Global Opinions Writer, Washington Post
Emily Bell, Founding Director, Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia Journalism School
His Excellency John Kufuor, President of Ghana (2001-09); Chairperson, African Union (2007-08)
Nishant Lalwani, Managing Director, Luminate
Alan Rusbridger, Principal, Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford; Member, Facebook Oversight Committee; Editor-in-Chief, The Guardian (1995-2015)
Chair: Dr Julie Posetti, Global Director of Research, International Center for Journalists