Through 5 case studies (Malawi, Mexico, Ohio USA, Ireland, Oregon USA), Matasick examines how deliberative democracy practices can be employed in both media development and democracy assistance efforts, particularly in the Global South. “Deliberative democracy initiatives have thus far been primarily used in more stable democracies, though their benefits are just as relevant—if not more so—in countries that are in transition and are in the process of building democratic traditions, institutions, and norms.”
Deliberative democracy approaches represent a subset of broader efforts to foster collective, public participation in policymaking. They are characterized by two defining features: deliberation (via open/informed discussions/evaluations) and representativeness (plurality). In sum, deliberative democracy is a citizen engagement framework that also assists media development, particularly in independent media environments. Given the essential role of an independent and pluralistic media sector in establishing and maintaining democratic rights and freedoms, expanding and applying deliberative approaches to media development can support democracy more broadly.
“At a time when disinformation runs rampant, it is more important than ever to strengthen public demand for credible information, reduce political polarization, and prevent media capture.”