Analysis & Opinions - The Huffington Post

Televised Debates are Bad for Democracy

| June 11, 2010

There seems to be a consensus that the UK's first televised debates that everyone was so excited about were good for our democracy. I would hesitate before making such a hasty judgment.

I concede that they got people talking about the election — although that was always likely to happen in an election which resulted in a hung parliament where no party had a clear majority. It's also certainly true that voter registration was up, turnout was also slightly up, and these developments are not to be sniffed at. But I really wonder whether these aren't short-term gains at the expense of long-term damage. Most of the arguments in their favor have a whiff of the 'all publicity is good publicity' about them.

Firstly, there is the damage they did to the rest of the campaign. They had rendered it a sideshow. The agenda for the whole of the rest of the parties' campaigning was subsequently led by the debates...."

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For Academic Citation: Ibrahim, Azeem.“Televised Debates are Bad for Democracy.” The Huffington Post, June 11, 2010.