Freedom of the press, is the freedom of 200 rich people to express their opinions.
Paul Sethe, 1965, founding editor of the F.A.Z. in a letter to DER SPIEGEL
Today, press freedom is the freedom of about three billion people with Internet access to spread their opinions online.
Armin Wolf, 2018, Anchorman of the ORF
Our public spheres have become a bit more democratic, since the digital change has opened the door for more people to be part of the democratic discourse. However, this rapid change comes with numerous structural, economic and content-related dark sides, which in turn influence the functioning of democracy: the old gatekeepers of journalism are losing their importance and thus also their resources; there is a lack of digital business models for news; the supremacy of digital platforms determines the diversity of opinion with their algorithms; public broadcasting loses legitimacy due to the parts of society it no longer represents; people are increasingly withdrawing from news offerings ("news avoidance"), Populists and extremists produce their own news and disseminate disinformation, the information ecosystem seems increasingly rushed and vulnerable due to its foreshortening and speed, people do not have the skills needed today for information and news competence to be able to inform themselves, and last but not least, our digital discourses are partially decomposed by hate and agitation.
This structural change in the public sphere touches on two fundamental core questions: How do we as a society want to keep ourselves informed at all in the 21st century? How must journalism, politics, media houses, publishers, platforms, public institutions and citizens change so that we can accompany this structural change in such a way that we can develop a pluralistic, free, civilized and high-quality public sphere?
All these questions need three things in order to be answered:
- an open and unprejudiced discourse in which new and good ideas are tested and developed together
- a platform that initiates, moderates, prepares and carries this discourse into society, and
- the right set of methods and tools to fulfill these tasks.
futur eins – a think & do tank
futur eins sees itself as an organization that reflects this triad and, as a non-profit think & do tank, develops ideas and leads the way in their implementation. We work holistically at the interface between politics, media, science and civil society to create time and space for journalism and the informed society. Because we will only succeed in transforming ourselves into a knowledge society if we think in terms of the public good.