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Authoritarian populism and media freedom | LSE Festival

Hosted by LSE Festival: Power and Politics

In-person and online public event (Sheikh Zayed Theatre, Cheng Kin Ku Building)


Alan Rusbridger

Alan Rusbridger

Dr Damian Tambini

Dr Damian Tambini

Dr Kate Wright

Dr Kate Wright


Professor Bart Cammaerts

Professor Bart Cammaerts

How did the Trump administration capture one of the world’s most important public service news networks, The Voice of America? How did the BBC, an exemplary public service broadcaster, end up being accused of bias towards the privileged and the ruling elites?  

Join our expert speakers to examine the disconcerting dynamic between authoritarian populism and public service media - from the politicisation of public service media, beginning with Trump's presidency in the US and Boris Johnson's government in the UK, to the unremitting threats of democratic backsliding facing journalists today.  

Meet our speakers and chair

Alan Rusbridger (@arusbridger) is editor of Prospect Magazine and Chair of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, having been Editor in Chief of the Guardian from 1995-2015. Until 2021 he was Principal of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. During his time at the Guardian, both he and the paper won numerous awards, including the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service Journalism. The Guardian grew from a printed paper with a circulation of 400,000 to a leading digital news organisation with 150m browsers a month around the world. He is a member of the Facebook Oversight Board. His latest book, News and How to Use it, was published in 2020. 

Damian Tambini (@damiantambini) is a distinguished policy fellow in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE. He is an expert in media and communications regulation and policy, and active in policymaking as well as academic research. He was inaugural Director of the Media Policy Project at LSE. He is frequently called to give evidence to parliamentary committees and provide formal and informal policy advice to government. From 2014-2015 he served on the UK Government Expert Panel advising on the value of electromagnetic spectrum. He was called to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry in 2012, and from 2009-2010 he served on the Communications Consumer Panel, a non-executive role at the communications regulator Ofcom. His books include Media Freedom

Kate Wright (@newsprof1 is Associate Professor in Media and Communications at the School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh. She studies how international news journalists negotiate tensions between their normative values and the changing political, economic and technological factors shaping their work. Her interest in these issues is informed by her background as an award-winning BBC journalist working on Scottish, UK, and international news flagships. She is author, with Martin Scott and Mel Bunce, of Capturing News, Capturing Democracy: Trump and the Voice of America

Bart Cammaerts is Professor of Politics and Communication and Head of the Department of Media and Communications at LSE. He is the former chair of the Communication and Democracy Section of the European Communication and Research Association (ECREA). His most recent publication is The Circulation of Anti-Austerity Protest.  

More about this event

This event is part of the LSE Festival: Power and Politics running from Monday 10 to Saturday 15 June 2024, with a series of events exploring how power and politics shape our world. Booking for all Festival events will open on Monday 13 May.  

The Department of Media and Communications (@MediaLSE) is a world-leading centre for education and research in communication and media studies at the heart of LSE’s academic community in central London. The Department is ranked #1 in the UK and #3 globally in the field of media and communications (2021 QS World University Rankings).

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