Improving discourse during election and referendum campaigns
This project seeks to understand how the quality of information and public discussion during election and referendum campaigns can be improved. By examining existing practice in the UK and around....
23 July 2019
Quality political discourse is an essential part of democracy. But recent events – notably during the UK’s 2016 EU referendum campaign and the 2016 US presidential election campaign – have led many people of all political persuasions to worry that the quality of discourse is currently too low. Particular concerns focus on the need for balanced and reliable information and on the dangers posed by the easy availability of seductive misinformation.
This project therefore seeks to understand how the quality of information and public discussion during election and referendum campaigns can be improved. By examining existing practice in the UK and around the world, as well as proposals for innovative reforms, the project aims to offer proposals as to whether and how the conduct of election and referendum campaigns might be reformed with a view to improving the quality of campaign discourse. In particular, the project will examine the application of three types of mechanisms for improving discourse during election and referendum campaigns: first, directly banning false or misleading statements; second, fact-checking and countering misleading or false statements; third, promoting the availability of impartial and high-quality information.