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  • Date and time: Saturday 19 June 2021, 2pm to 3.15pm
  • Location: Online only
  • Admission: Free admission, booking required

Event details

Could the Covid crisis mark a new beginning for politicians and journalists to work together for the benefit of our democracy? How should the mainstream media respond to the ever more prevalent environment of ‘fake news’ online?

Our speakers, including keynote speaker Dorothy Byrne, former Head of News and Current Affairs at Channel 4 News, examine the future of the media, discussing issues including impartiality, funding, populism and speaking truth to power.

Our panel also includes Mark Laity, who has been involved in the media, information and strategic communication for more than four decades, both as a journalist, mostly with the BBC, and then in a variety of senior posts in NATO. We also welcome Lina Attalah, the Co-founder and Chief Editor of Mada Masr, a Cairo-based news website which is fighting to keep press freedom alive in Egypt, and Sebastian Turner, an entrepreneur and publisher from Germany.

Why not join in the conversation with our panel of experts through our Q&As?

Presented in collaboration with the Morrell Centre for Legal and Political Philosophy


This event is hosted live on Zoom Webinar. You’ll receive a link to join a couple of days before the event takes place and a reminder an hour before. During the event, you can ask questions via a Q&A function but audience cameras and microphones will remain muted throughout.

News, Fake News and Calling It Out is part of a series of events on Saturday 19 June presented under the theme of ‘Democracy, Debate and Disagreement’ with the support of the Morrell Centre for Legal and Political Philosophy. You may also enjoy The Tyranny of Merit and The Future of Liberalism.


Book sales

You can buy copies of many of our speakers’ books from Fox Lane Books, a local independent bookseller and Festival partner.  In some cases, author signed bookplates are available too.  

About the speakers

Lina Attalah is co-founder and Chief Editor of Mada Masr, an award-winning Cairo-based news website that attempts to secure a house for a dislocated practice of journalism that did not survive in mainstream organisations and their associated political and economic conditions. Before, Lina wrote for Cairo Times, the Daily Star, the Christian Science Monitor and occasionally published in the Guardian and the New York Times. She was also the Editor of Egypt Independent, before moving on to Mada Masr. In 2005, she worked as a radio producer with the BBC World Service Trust in Darfur, Sudan. Lina also managed a number of research-based projects with multimedia outputs around the themes of space, mobility, technology and intellectual history.

Dorothy Byrne is the President Elect of Murray Edwards College at Cambridge University and also makes television documentaries. Until May 1, she was Editor at Large for Channel 4 News. Until 2020, she led Channel 4’s multi-award-winning news and current affairs output as Head of News and Current Affairs for over 15 years. One of the longest-serving heads of commissioning in the television industry, Dorothy has been responsible for news and current affairs programmes that have had global and national impact, winning her numerous international Emmy, BAFTA and RTS Awards. She was made a Fellow of The Royal Television Society for her ‘outstanding contribution to television’ and received the Outstanding Contribution Award at the RTS Journalism Awards in 2018. She also received a BAFTA Scotland award for her services to television and was awarded the Argonon Contribution to the Medium by Women in Film & Television. In addition she is Chair of the Ethical Journalism Network which supports the development of ethical codes in journalistic organisations across the globe.

As a former World In Action producer and editor of ITV’s The Big Story she became Channel 4’s head of News and Current Affairs in 2003, having previously edited Dispatches as well as producing arts and history series for the channel. She is a Visiting Professor at De Montfort University, where Channel 4 supports an MA in Investigative Journalism. 

Mark Laity is a widely respected expert on strategic communications and security, and one of the leaders in its development within NATO. He has been involved with the media, information and strategic communication for more than four decades, both as a journalist, mostly with the BBC, and then in a variety of senior posts in NATO. He retired in December 2020 as Director of the Communications Division at SHAPE. Previously, from 2007 until 2017 he was the Chief Strategic Communications (StratCom) at SHAPE, the first holder of the post, created in response to the growing importance of information campaigns in military operations. In his various jobs he has played an influential role in developing StratCom as a key element within today’s changing security environment.

His StratCom post followed nine months in Afghanistan in 2006-7 as the NATO Spokesman in Kabul and Media Adviser to the ISAF Commander, the first of three ISAF tours. For his service he was awarded NATO’s Meritorious Service Medal. He joined NATO as Special Adviser to the Secretary General of NATO, Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, and also the Alliance’s Deputy Spokesman. This followed 22 years in journalism, mostly in the BBC. This included, from 1989, 11 years as the BBC's Defence Correspondent where he reported from the frontlines of most major conflicts of the nineties. He has BA(Hons) & MA degrees from the University of York, UK. He is an Associate Fellow at the King’s Centre for Strategic Communications, Kings College London. In 2020, the University of York, UK, in recognition of his work in journalism and StratCom, awarded him an honorary doctorate.

Matt Matravers is Director of the Morrell Centre fore for Legal and Political Philosophy. Matt joined York Law School in 2015 as Professor of Law having been at the University of York, UK, since 1995 serving as Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, and Professor in the Department of Politics. He is on the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Peer Review College and is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. He is also Head of York’s Goodricke College. Matt works on contemporary legal and political philosophy. His books include Justice and Punishment and Responsibility and Justice. In addition, he is the editor of six edited collections and the author of numerous papers in legal and political philosophy.

Sebastian Turner started his professional life in the media business as a founder: In 1985 he launched Medium, today Germany’s leading magazine for journalists. As CEO he turned the international communications agency Scholz & Friends, into the largest independent agency network in Europe. He initiated the leading global science conference Falling Walls. During his tenure as publisher and shareholder Tagesspiegel established a vertical digital eco system and became Germany’s leading capital news organisation, moving from rank four to rank one with the best circulation performance of all German dailies. As founder of the media tech holding Trafo he ventures into the growing field of media tech and content tech. Sebastian holds a degree of the Graduate School of Duke University, USA, and serves as a honorary professor at the University of the Arts in Berlin.


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