The year 2016 witnessed the UK vote to leave the European Union and the election of Donald F Trump as President of the United States of America, two seismic events in the history of these democracies.
Both events brought to the fore significant debate regarding the nature and quality of information available to the voting public.In particular, the Internet and social media were regarded as key emerging battle grounds. The debate honed in on two discrete topics: how information is accessed and shared in an Internet society; and the nature of the information disseminated, especially an increased focus on ‘false’ information. Such was the prevalence of the debate that the Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year for 2016 was ‘post-truth’.
We looked in depth at the challenges of living in a post-truth information age. Are our democratic processes under threat? Is there a danger of giving free rein to extremism and further destabilising society? Or is this the predictable response of the establishment as alternative viewpoints and information become a greater part of mainstream debate? Either way, society faces significant challenges. What are the responsibilities of citizens, governments, business and the media in this swiftly evolving landscape?
The full report from the Consultation can be read here.