Demanding Democracy: The Case for a Scottish Media

In recent decades, just as Scottish democracy was experiencing revival, the Scottish media saw a period of steep decline. How can this glaring anomaly be resolved?

Scotland is a place of diverse economies, varied landscapes, distinct cultures and big ideas. Its stories can grab the attention of global audiences and move millions. Yet all too often the output of Scotland’s media is narrow, clichéd and incapable of reflecting the realities of a complex society in a changing world.

With the Scottish independence referendum causing the role of media to become the subject of fiercely contested debate, this book takes a broader view of the issues in hand and calls for a wide-ranging discussion about the media Scotland wants and needs.

It looks at major global trends currently redefining broadcasting and journalism while also examining the distinctive character and remarkable stories behind the development of media in Scotland. Premised on the idea that a nation is defined by how it talks to itself: this book argues that, without major structural change, the future of a distinctive Scottish public sphere is far from secure.

Featuring interviews and insights from leading journalists, commentators, experts and thinkers, Demanding Democracy offers a compelling and intelligent case for the renewal of a vital component in Scotland’s public life.

Christopher SilverCHRISTOPHER SILVER was raised in Shetland and now lives in Edinburgh. He has contributed words to Prospect, Open Democracy, Bella Caledonia, and Scotland on Sunday amongst others. In 2014 he edited a collection of art and writing, Inspired by Independence, and produced a feature length documentary on grass-roots politics in the referendum campaign, Scotland Yet. His first play, Forsaken, toured in April 2015. He is also the producer of Two Minute Manifesto, a monthly podcast and live show about politics, culture and ideas.

With a few notable exceptions, the Scottish mainstream media has not been able to rise to the challenge presented by the growing self-determination movement. When it isn’t hopelessly biased towards a status quo that will never thank it for its efforts, it is cowed, apologetic and sinking rapidly in its own irrelevance. It needs a radical overhaul. This book not only reiterates why this has to happen, but also shows us how it might come to pass. – Irvine Welsh

Writer and activist Christopher Silver proposes that a new Scottish media is necessary to the greater demands for political control over national affairs, and in his excellent and timely book he exemplifies one of the key precepts of the Yes movement: ‘Be the change that you want to see. – Dr Scott Lyall, Edinburgh Napier University


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