This week sees Independent Voices launch with Evgeny Lebedev claiming he wants to reignite debate in our society and put an end politicians playing it safe by focussing short-term popular opinion. He makes a bold promise in this launch:
“In the months to come, you’ll see arguments and opinions there that offend plenty of people — but for the right reasons. If you log on and make your voice heard there too, you have my word: even when I disagree with what you say, I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”
Whilst this is healthy challenge to the growing number of opinion and comment sites in this country it might be down to Lebedev envying the success of the launch of Huffington Post in the UK last summer. With Huffington Post in the UK now claiming over 3 million monthly unique users and the Guardian’s Comment is Free also recognised for its broad reach and high profile commentators, there is clearly an appetite in the UK to not just read about the news but understand and debate it.
The question for me with this launch is whether this will actually raise the quality of the debate in the UK or if the shock factor will be all that counts in this increasingly competitive marketplace.
In order to stand out will social commentators, politicians and others feel the pressure to take a more extreme view? Does it devalue popular opinion in our society? Will this lead to opinion and debate in the UK getting more Jeremy Kyle than Question Time? Or will this provide new audiences and groups with a place to be heard? Regardless of the great promises made at time launch it will be interesting to see how this shapes our debate in the UK….
|Emma Noble, Director, Corporate and Financial, Edelman
Emma is a Director within the London Corporate and Financial team. Her clients include, Aviva, Diageo and TripAdvisor. She specialises in corporate reputation for consumer-facing brands with past clients including Coca-Cola GB, Sky, Starbucks and Post Office Ltd.