It is in our common interest as democratic citizens that the public discussions that we have with one another are informed, and that everyone can participate. That is the essence of democratic conversation. 

The authorities' communication has a significant impact on both.

Reality is a complex thing, statistics can be manipulated and definitive facts and objective truths rarely exist outside closed systems. But that does not mean that all knowledge is equally valid. Far from it. Some information is more valid and accurate. Credible information of good quality from the authorities, with uncertainties included, is a prerequisite for an informed debate.  

In addition, it is crucial for our democracy that we strive to give everyone the opportunity to have a say in the discussions that matter to them. Not everyone is actually heard and has a voice in the debate. Here too, authorities play an important role in getting everyone involved - regardless of educational background and socio-economic status.

With that in mind, ProPublica works with three principles for what citizens should expect from the communication coming from their authorities. It must be relevant, fair and democratic.

  • Relevant
    All communication from public authorities must give citizens easy access to data and knowledge that is relevant to them and easy to understand.
  • Impartial
    The authorities must counter misinformation in the public debate. The communication from the authorities must be fact based and neutral in a way where both advantages and disadvantages in cases stand out clearly. 
  • Democratic
    Authorities must promote debates on important issues, and the individual citizen must be able to make choices and form attitudes on an informed basis, regardless of educational background and social and economic status.