A robust information space is a crucial part of democracy’s immune system, writes Dean Jackson of the NED’s International Forum for Democratic Studies. When high-quality, fact-based journalism thrives and informed citizens can freely deliberate, democracy can flourish. When the information space weakens, however, opportunistic infections set in, he writes in Sickness and Health in the Information Space: Reflections from the First 10 Months of COVID-19, the lead essay in the latest of the Forum’s “Global Insights” series.
The product of six workshops held during the spring and summer of 2020, these workshops—which gathered civil society representatives, journalists, academics, researchers, donor organizations, and policymakers—aimed to assess the likely challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic would pose to the democratic health and integrity of the “information space,” or the broad public square in which societies exchange information and debate ideas. The analyses span a range of topics—media sustainability, authoritarian influence, fact-checking, research partnerships, data privacy—affecting regions like Europe, North and South America, and Africa.
Read the full essay collection: COVID-19 and the Information Space: Boosting the Democratic Response.