Kialo requires cookies to work correctly.
Should Referendums Be Abolished?
Referendums give more political influence to the media, actors who lack the legitimacy of elected representatives.
More influence for the media gives more potential to influence the public discourse to a very small group of companies and individuals that control large parts of the media in most countries.
In referendums, media can directly influence a particular political decision by influencing the electorate. Elections only allow the media to influence the public concerning a nominee or a political party.
In regular political decision-making, the effects of media bubbles are mitigated by representatives that must cross party lines to pass laws. If decisions are made by voters directly, this bipartisan process is bypassed and the influence of the media is heightened.
The media is considered to be a powerful political actor without accountability - and therefore at times referred to as the '
If referendums establish themselves as a democratic institution and take place repeatedly, this expands the opportunities for the media to influence people's opinions (and thereby political outcomes).
In democratic states, political legitimacy is based on
. Hence, the media's influence can be seen as legitimate when people read and share their content, i.e. pay a lot of attention to them - this widespread attention is the closest proxy for democratic approval that exists for media.
Given that the media is already undergoing a crisis of legitimacy, any added influence they gain is likely going to be marginal.
Citizens are free to ignore the media.
The media is already extremely influential in modern democracies. Introducing referendums will not add much to that.
The media is supposed to play an integral role in democracies.