The latest Journalism Talk focuses on the distrust permeating democracy and journalism

Edwy Plenel, journalist and founder of Médiapart, was at IHECS on Friday 15 December for the second Journalism Talk of the academic year. The theme of this conference: "the distrust permeating democracy and journalism"

Signs of the decline of democracy are everywhere, and the public arena is shrinking. What role should journalism play in a democracy? How can the trust of citizens be regained? What are the factors that contribute to distrust of the elites?

Edwy Plenel answered these three questions in his introduction, emphasising that distrust and disinformation are gaining ground, and that polarisation is undermining democratic institutions. Now is the time for citizens to engage in the democratic process and make their voices heard, despite attempts to silence journalists, whether through verbal attacks, online surveillance, legal harassment or acts committed in particular against female journalists. This represents a decline in press freedom that has been widely documented in recent studies.

Discussions continued around technological developments and social networks, which are bringing about profound changes for the profession. These developments are an opportunity for the younger generations, provided that the economic models and management of media groups do not escape the control of information players, to the benefit of various industrialists and other billionaires on the lookout to peddle their influence. To illustrate this hypothesis, Edwy Plenel presented Mediapart's creation and development strategy, its business model, its internal organization, its investigations and its biases. And let's not forget the hot topic of the moment: the journalist's responsibility in the face of war in Ukraine and Gaza.

The question-and-answer session with the students gave rise to lucid and pertinent exchanges, demonstrating the extent to which democracy and journalism are two sides of the same coin.

Text by Nordine Nabili, Head of the Department of Journalism