Lib Dem warns democracy is at risk

The digital, culture, media, and sport (DCMS) committee has spent 18 months conducting an investigation from disinformation to the influence of social networks to targeted adverts during the Brexit referendum that played on people fears and prejudices. MPs rightly point out that this abuse is a threat to democracy.

The DCMS committee report is based on 20 oral evidence sessions, during which 3,500 questions were asked of 61 witnesses, and included a trip to Washington DC. The committee received more than 150 written submissions and numerous pieces of background evidence.

Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine has warned “democracy is at risk” if the report by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee into disinformation and fake news is ignored.

Ms Jardine said:

“This report is a watershed moment for our democracy. Evidence of disinformation and voter suppression – particularly during the EU referendum – is deeply disturbing.

“We must demand better. People deserve an open, tolerant and transparent politics. The digital age should aid that, not harm it.

“Our democracy is at risk if the recommendations of this report are ignored. There is also now a legitimate case for a judge-led inquiry into what has gone on, and those who have been found of breaking the electoral law must face repercussions.

“Meanwhile, given the evidence uncovered, the people must be given the final say on Brexit and an opportunity to remain in the EU.”

 

 

* Tahir Maher is the Wednesday editor and a member of the LDV editorial team

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4 Comments

  • Steve Trevethan 1st Aug '18 - 12:25pm

    Do the big and few donors to parties, individuals and “think tanks” harm democracy?
    Does the same appliy to much of the MSM/ Main Stream Media for much of the time?
    The deception/lack of quality investigation leading to the Iraq War 2 etc. is but one example. Have the Skripals incidents been objectively investigated and reported?
    For all its serious faults, might the NMSM/Not Mainstream Media provide an information choice which competes with the oligarchy/plutarchy managed MSM?
    Does democracy need a free/open market in information?

  • Innocent Bystander 1st Aug '18 - 1:06pm

    I am sure politicians are the right ones to protect us all from wicked people who tell us lies. They are experts.
    The first I remember was a certain Prime Minister devaluing sterling by 15% and then telling me that this did not “affect the pound in my pocket”. My close association with the Civil Service taught me that the government systematically misleads the people usually to “sell” some money grabbing pitch on behalf of the lobbyists who surround, infest and manipulate politicians and civil servants alike.
    So I find it rich that our politicians don’t want us be hoodwinked (by anyone else but them).

  • Peter Hirst 2nd Aug '18 - 9:55am

    I think a major issue is our electoral system. It generally favours confrontational politics with the winner takes all. In a more consensus and coalition politics, there would be less motivation to take risks to win. Also, in a preferential voting system such as STV, you would lose seats if you played just to your base.

  • Sue Sutherland 2nd Aug '18 - 1:40pm

    I think this committee has done excellent work in pointing out the way in which the powerful use underhand means to influence votes and that we as a party should support attempts to change the system which the committee makes. The Chair is a Conservative which means he is making a stand against others in the party who are influenced by these powerful people and he should be supported.
    The Internet was meant to be a gift to humanity but unfortunately has been used by people with money to influence the way the rest of us think and the choices we make. It’s much more insidious than politicians putting a spin on things.

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