Do Britain and America Have the Journalism They Need for Democracy?
Drawing on his new (2016) book Free Speech: Ten Principles For a Connected World (Yale University Press), Timothy Garton Ash looks at two leading democracies which have media pluralism, uncensored journalism and a plethora of new online sources. Using the examples of the Brexit referendum campaign and the current US presidential campaign, he will argue that both countries seem nonetheless to be getting farther away from, rather than closer to, the ideal of a public sphere in which free speech enables informed political choice and self-government. Why is it that polarization prevails over impartiality, narrative over fact? Has an echo chamber effect spread from the internet to more conventional media?
Timothy Garton Ash is Professor of European Studies in the University of Oxford, Isaiah Berlin Professorial Fellow at St Antony’s College, Oxford, and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is the author of nine books of political writing or ‘history of the present’ including The Magic Lantern: The Revolution of ’89 Witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin, & Prague, The File: A Personal History, In Europe’s Name and Facts are Subversive. He writes a column on international affairs in the Guardian, which is widely syndicated, and is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, amongst other journals. He leads the 13 language Oxford University research project Freespeechdebate.com. Awards he has received for his writing include the George Orwell Prize. His book Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World was published in spring 2016.