Skip to: Navigation | Content | Footer


1984 and all that

James Evelegh's editorial from today's edition of InPubWeekly.

James Evelegh

Posted on: 19 October 2017


Around the world, the media is under attack, and not just in the obvious places. In democracies like the US, Poland, Hungary and India, populist leaders and would-be dictators seek to delegitimise the press to shore up their own positions.

One of the most interesting sessions at last week’s FIPP World Congress was ‘Navigating politically turbulent times’.

Part of the challenge for the press is to understand the context they operate in and the mindset and modus operandi of those who attack them. The populist’s playbook has four main tactics: lie big, not matter how verifiable the reality; repeat the lies (and slanders) incessantly; promise it all, no matter the inherent contradictions; make it all about ‘me’: I alone can fix it!

How should the media respond? For a start, resist the temptation to fight fire with fire. Be balanced and objective, not polemical. As Politico’s Kate Day said, “our role is to report, explain, set in context: call people out, not bring people down”. For India Today’s Aroon Purie, constant exposure will eventually show people that the “emperor has no clothes”.

The Berlusconi-era approach of some in the Italian press (“report what he does, not what he says”) was given short shrift by Polityka’s Jerzy Baczynski, because “words matter”; lies must be constantly challenged, lest they settle.

One of the recurring themes of the congress was the breakdown of trust. For me, the key takeaway from this and other sessions, was that the only way to win it back was for serious minded media to always report truth, expose lies and eschew advocacy.

This session included two book recommendations; Aroon Purie suggested we all read 'On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century', by Timothy Snyder, whilst moderator Juan Senor thought George Orwell’s 1984 might be worth another look.

About James Evelegh
(Details last updated: 27 January 2017)

James Evelegh is the editor of InPublishing. Previous roles have included circulation consultant, group circulation manager at Centaur Media and circulation manager at DMG Trinity.

Tel: 01322 865 984

Email: Send a message to this author


Twitter: @InPublishing

comments powered by Disqus

Most read on InPublishing

These are the most read stories on the InPublishing website over the last 14 days, in order from the top.


My Publishing Life – John Bardsley

John Bardsley
Posted on: 14 March 2018

Maximising Up-sell and Cross-sell Opportunities

Dan Heffernan
Posted on: 2 February 2018

Opportunities & Threats: B2B Media

Colin Morrison
Posted on: 2 February 2018

Embrace Your Mobile Audience

Hutch Hicken
Posted on: 2 February 2018

It’s all about the customer

James Evelegh
Posted on: 1 February 2018

Podcasts are clearly a thing, so what’s your strategy?

Peter Houston
Posted on: 1 February 2018

Opportunities & Threats: Consumer Media

David Hepworth
Posted on: 2 February 2018

Opportunities & Threats: Customer Publishing

Nicola Murphy
Posted on: 2 February 2018

Beyond the world of print: how publishing is evolving

Adam Sherman
Posted on: 2 February 2018

Opportunities & Threats: Regional Press

Steve Dyson
Posted on: 2 February 2018

This list is based on data from Google Analytics, and is refreshed every 24 hours. (Last updated: 16/03/2018 06:08)

Editor's Pick of Recent News Stories

Posted on: 13 March 2018
Posted on: 13 March 2018
Posted on: 13 March 2018
Posted on: 12 March 2018
Posted on: 9 March 2018
Posted on: 7 March 2018

Find out more about

Featured job

Head of Publisher Services
Salary: Competitive
Canary Wharf, London

Featured in InPublishing Jobs

InPub Weekly: Sign-up

Click here to sign up for our free weekly email newsletter:

Sign up now!

Magazine registration

Publishing Partners Guide