Science Debates: The Estonian experience and the need for an international deliberative network

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Presentation at the 8th World Conference of Science Journalists WCSJ2013 in Helsinki, Finland, on 25 June 2013, on the session "Debate-driven journalism: science debates as a tool and opportunity for science journalists".

http://wcsj2013.org/debate-driven-journalism-science-debates-tool-opportunity-science-journalists/

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Science Debates: The Estonian experience and the need for an international deliberative network

  1. 1. The Estonian Science Debate and the need to be international Priit Ennet Science Journalist, Estonian Public Broadcasting President, Estonian Association of Science Journalists Board Member, European Union of Science Journalists' Associations
  2. 2. The path to the debate ESOF 2010 in Turin: the American and German experience From initial inertia to small committed team 'Hijacked' a popular weekly event with many regular attendees Devised questions by consulting with scientists
  3. 3. The debate itself Four candidates debated for two hours Attended by about 60 people Web streamed to several hundred
  4. 4. Conclusion from the debate It can be done with a near- zero budget and a little help from one's friends.
  5. 5. Part of a wider trend ● Internationally ● Conceptually
  6. 6. Deliberative democracy Deliberative democracy or discursive democracy is a form of democracy in which deliberation is central to decision making. Deliberative democracy holds that, for a democratic decision to be legitimate, it must be preceded by authentic deliberation, not merely the aggregation of preferences that occurs in voting. Wikipedia
  7. 7. Network-related phenomena
  8. 8. Deliberative network ● Deliberative sessions ● Evolving texts ● Shared information space ● Common protocol ● Emergent goals
  9. 9. a permanent, distributed, low intensity conference In essence:
  10. 10. A good deliberative network is: ● Well argued ● Continuous, interdependent ● Transparent, open, inclusive ● Decentralised, non-hierarchical ● Diverse, variabile, flexible ● Friendly, non-hostile ● Voluntary
  11. 11. Objections to the deliberative network idea Deliberative networks already exist; there is nothing fundamentally new to the idea. Deliberative networks are fancy utopian science fiction; the idea is unrealistic.
  12. 12. Next: An international deliberative network of science debate advocates.

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