New media, democracy and politics

On 20th February 2012 I gave the annual Leicester Mercury lecture at the Leicester Literary and Philosophical Society. The topic of my speech was the implications of new and social media for democracy and the political process.

I argued that social media is having a real impact on the way we all communicate, including as politicians. People can express their views by the click of a mouse and put issues on the political agenda, and pressure on the political process, in ways unimaginable even a decade ago. Yet on its own, social media won’t deliver the real political, economic and societal changes we need. And it will never substitute for the face to face contact, and engagement that my constituents want and deserve.

I also raised the crucial issue of the impact that new media is having on local newspapers.  Fewer people are buying newspapers, particularly young people, and instead getting their news from a variety of sources, including online. The future of many of our local newspapers is at risk because they aren’t making the money they used to. As a result, some experts warn that half of all local and regional papers could shut by 2015.

But it is hugely important that we retain a strong, and vibrant local media. People want to know what is happening in their local area. Local newspapers and radio help shape our sense of community and identity, and are a vital counter point to the London-centric nature of many of our national media outlets.

You can read the full text of my speech by clicking here:

Liz Kendall MP’s speech to Leicestershire Literary and Philosophical Society 20th Feb 2012