#rp20 Speaker Ruprecht Polenz — Fighting Filter Bubbles with Quality Journalism

#rp20-Speaker Ruprecht Polenz

Photo Credit: Oliver Tjaden

The politician and former chairman of the German Bundestag’s Committee on Foreign Relations, Ruprecht Polenz is a prominent figure on Twitter advocating for an open society by discussing non-governmental strategies. He is also known as the most active politician on Facebook back in his time as Member of the Bundestag. 

His recent topics include the increasing threat to democracies by filter bubbles and fake news as well as their impact on journalism. At re:publica 20 he will be discussing the role of quality journalism and public-service broadcasting as well as mechanisms of political objection and the communication on Twitter in our open society in this context.

Find Ruprecht Polenz on Twitter here or check out his interview with Tilo Jung on YouTube.

ASAP—Ruprecht Polenz on the most pressing issues

We asked Ruprecht Polenz about his keynote at #rp20 and the most pressing issues for him at the moment.

“Social order only exists as long as people believe in it. That was true for when people believed in the idea that kings and princes were given their power from god and it was true for the belief one could create a class-less paradise by following the directive of the communist party. It’s also true for our liberal democracy and our ideas of an open and pluralistic society which are being challenged worldwide by authoritarian states and movements. 

What we believe in is dependent on what ideas and facts we receive. Digitisation and social media change the way we seek information dramatically. How do we know what we can (still) believe in?

Filter bubbles and fake news make the problem even worse. With their accusations of “Lügenpresse” (N.B.: “fake news”) the extreme right is aiming at the brain of our democracy. 

Quality journalism has become more important than ever in this situation—for classifying purposes, for fact-checking as well as for indicative evaluation (by pluralistic measures, of course). 

At the moment only public-service broadcasting has the means for future-proof funding of quality journalism. It’s no coincidence that the völkisch-nationalistic party AfD wants to get rid of public-service broadcasting in Germany.

The issue on my mind at the moment is: how can quality journalism be financed online in a robust and sustainable way in order for it to gain influence—not as a gatekeeper (those times are over) but as a voice that is being heard, read and seen in all the shuffle of information online.”