Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Truth and Balance in the Media

It is a concern that the media can skew the political debate with dishonest or unbalanced output: Truth and balance are essential ingredients for democracy and are especially important for Interactive Democracy (ID).

The Libel Laws are sometimes employed by individuals against the media, but Truth, in the type of Interactive political debate I am advocating, may have no champion to defend her. I suggest that the law should be tightened in this matter by appointing a Truth Commission, with legal powers, to investigate complaints against the media and politicians.

It is difficult, perhaps impossible, to ensure entirely balanced reporting as media pundits have their own opinions to express and it is impossible to present every shade of opinion in any one output. The wide diversity of media types (Print, TV, Radio, Internet) will help. But it is important to ensure that media power does not lie with a small oligarchy: the Monopolies Commission should always be keeping an eye on the large media companies.

Another way of ensuring balance is for the ID system to list arguments for and against each proposal. These should be generated by MPs and, separately, by the public adding their comments to the site. It would not be difficult to do using tools developed for the Internet. The advantage of this system would be its accessibility on the user interface that is used to cast your vote. It thus supercedes media generated opinion by its immediacy, authority and egalitarianism.

No comments: