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Democracy Forum

Democracy Forum on WERU FM Community Radio

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February 15 - The Free Press and a Functioning Democracy

2018 Radio News Award: WERUThe League of Women Voters-Downeast in cooperation with WERU FM produces a monthly radio program on topics in participatory democracy. It's called the Democracy Forum.

Broadcasts may be heard live from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. on the third Friday of the month at WERU Community Radio, 89.9 FM Blue Hill, 99.9 FM Bangor. Listen live on the Web at WERU FM.

In September, 2018, the Democracy Forum won top honors from the Maine Association of Broadcasting for public affairs radio.

Here is information about our upcoming broadcast.

February 15 - The Free Press and a Functioning Democracy

"Were it left to me to decide whether we should have government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every [one] should receive those papers & be capable of reading them." -- Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Edward Carrington, 1787

We'll talk about democracy, journalism, the state of play in American news. Can fact-based journalism survive? Can democracy survive otherwise? We'll take listener questions by email at with "Democracy Forum" in the subject line. This program is being produced with support from the Maine Humanities Council.

In case you missed it live, you can listen to this show from the archive at

Special Guests:

  • Earl Brechlin was the founding editor of the award-winning weekly newspaper, the Mount Desert Islander, and former editor of the Bar Harbor Times.

  • Burt Neuborne is the Norman Dorsen Professor of Civil Liberties and founding Legal Director of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School.

  • Judy Woodruff is the anchor and managing editor of the PBS Newshour.

Key Topics:

  • What was the founders' conception of the first amendment? Why did they put it first? And why was it important to protect the free press?
  • What business, cultural, and technological changes are altering the journalistic landscape in the 21st century?
  • Disinformation campaigns and yellow journalism go back to the founding of democracy. Is it different now or more dangerous?
  • What can ordinary citizens do?

To learn more, follow these links to related content:

Read about and listen to past programs from the League archive.

Recent Topics in this Series

CYBER ATTACKS ON DEMOCRACY: Social Media, Fake News, and Voter Responsibility

ELECTION 2018: What Happened and What Does It Mean?

POLLITICAL POLLs: Can We Ever Trust Them Again?

ELECTIONS IN MAINE: Where the Rubber Meets the Road

DISTRUST IN GOVERNMENT: A Necessary Evil or a Weapon of Destruction?

STATE PRE-EMPTION: Who's Got the Power?

IMMIGRATION: Can We Live Without It?

RANKED CHOICE VOTING: How Will It Work in Maine?

GERRYMANDERING: What's the Big Deal?

PRIMARY ELECTIONS: What Are They Good For?

Read about and listen to past programs from the League archive.