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Impartial Journalism in a Polarised World

Polarised politics, cacophanous culture wars and the advent of unchecked, unchallenged news at the click of a digital button. Can impartial journalism survive?

Polarised politics, cacophanous culture wars and the advent of unchecked, unchallenged news at the click of a button. Can impartial journalism win out in a world of alternative facts and the re-tweet echo chamber of Twitter? If it doesn't, what becomes of democracy?

When radio arrived, it gave politicians the means of mass propaganda. Television brought us the politics of the soundbite and the twenty-four hour news cycle. But the digital age - unmediated opinion, unchecked sources - has put old-fashioned, impartial news itself under the spotlight. Are we - the BBC and others - any longer believed? Are we trusted? And what happens when we aren't? Do democracy and digital sit comfortably together or is one currently winning at the expense of the other?

James Harding was editor of The Times and then took the helm at BBC News. After 2016, the Brexit referendum and the election of Donald Trump, he started to think that a different approach was needed, focused on slow news and opening up journalism. He set up Tortoise. In this noisy discussion, James and other journalists grapple with all of these matters, and attempt to navigate a digital future without losing our democratic past.

He's joined by the political editor of ITN, Robert Peston; staff writer on The Atlantic, Helen Lewis; presenter of BBC Radio 4's The World this Weekend, Mark Mardell; Talk Radio host, Julia Hartley-Brewer; and Gavin Haynes, editor-at-large of Vice UK.

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42 minutes

Last on

Thu 12 Sep 2019 21:00