Arun Sudhaman

Working the angles around media, comms and marketing.

Is the Internet the saviour or corruptor of democracy?

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That was the title of last night’s debate at Parliament, held by the Henry Jackson Society and public affairs firm Delib. They roped in some pretty good speakers too: Guido Fawkes, YouGov chief Peter Kellner, Tory MP Grant Shapps and journos Michael White and Nick Robinson.

There was plenty of back-and-forth, particularly between Guido and the journos as to who can really expose political misdeeds better: bloggers or traditional journalists. It got a little bit vicious. Robinson referred to Guido as a ‘student political hack’ at one point. Guido, for his part, accused the journos of being ‘part of the Westminster system’. Both the lobby journos questioned Guido’s responsibility and accountability.

I think it missed the point a bit – ignoring the internet’s broader abilities (or not) to enhance direct democracy – engagement, open access to data, public organisiation and so forth. Guardian blogger Kevin Anderson, and a few of the crowd, tried to get the panellists to consider these themes but – inevitably I guess – it tended to return towards who could justify their roles best.

Also made it the second panel in a week (after Biz Stone) that included questions via Twitter. And the second panel in a week where this process added nothing to the debate.

Fun to watch if not massively informative. Some pics are here and Delib director Chris Quigley has uploaded the best moments on video here and here.

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Written by Arun Sudhaman

July 1, 2009 at 3:57 pm

Posted in Politics, PR

Tagged with , ,

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