Panel discussion: Conventional media have failed us – the case for and against

I’ve pitched this panel discussion idea to the Global Editors Network 2013 News Summit, to be held from 19 to 21 June 2013 in Paris.

Cat’s chance in hell is the expression that comes to mind. Well miaou!

The case for:
Conventional media have woefully failed to dissect the lack of any true, public accountability in all layers of modern western government, from local to global levels.

This collective failure plays out across all major areas of government. It encompasses the vast bulk of reporting on governments’ economic and fiscal thinking, their responses to serial financial crises and pitiful efforts at regulation of global banks and finance. The problem extends to the superficial news treatment of political inaction over growing poverty and inequality, accelerating climate change and species and habitat loss.

Media literacy concerning the realities of representative democracy, versus politicians’ rhetoric, is spectacularly inadequate. That makes existing media part of the governance problem, not the solution.

Patrick Chalmers, an ex-Reuters reporter himself and author of Fraudcast News, will dissect the media’s failure to highlight people’s powerlessness. He will argue that journalists and their employers, far from being popular watchdogs, suffer the same problems of elite capture as politicians and governments themselves.

Yet he remains a dogged optimist, suggesting there are alternatives. They include mass training of ordinary citizens to help them revolutionise their democracies by revolutionising journalism, building from the grassroots upwards.

The case against: I’m sure you can find someone!