The president of the Catalunya Europa Foundation, Josep Maria Vallès, spoke of the manifesto "Improving the public debate is to strengthen the quality of democracy" in an interview on the program "Més 324" by Xavier Graset of Televisió de Catalunya on June 28 of 2022.
Josep Maria Vallès is one of the promoters of the manifesto together with the Rafael Campalans Foundation, the Josep Irla Foundation, the Nous Horitzons Foundation, the Sentit Comú Foundation and the Cipriano Garcia-CCOO Foundation.
The president of the Catalunya Europa Foundation has explained that the manifesto arose out of concern to see "how the public debate has been degraded, with many lies and with very aggressive language". For this reason, he appealed to the responsibility of everyone, not just politicians or the media, to improve the quality of public debate.
These are some of the reflections he made in the conversation with Xavier Grasset:
"Public opinion must not waver in the face of the anti-democratic drift we are experiencing. Democracy is very fragile and is often more threatened by the lack of defense of its supporters than by the attacks of its enemies."
"Democracy is never a final destination, nor is it a place that is conquered and that's it. If we don't strengthen it, it advances or recedes, and currently there is a drift that can set us back, especially if, from within, we resign in the effort of its defense. Currently, due to several factors, we live in more worrying times than 20 or 25 years ago."
"What is the factor that weakens democracies the most? It is surely social inequalities because these generate political and social mistrust, and without sufficient trust between each other it is difficult to prosper collectively. It is very difficult to incorporate into the public arena people in a vulnerable situation or concerned about their survival".
"There are two elements that have greatly damaged the quality of public debate: strategies that spread lies, falsehoods or half-truths, and social inequalities that generate distrust."
"On many occasions, we see how that maxim is applied that says that if you repeat a lie a thousand times, it ends up being credible. This is one of the main reasons for the degradation of democratic debate. Another, as Professor Eva Anduiza said, is the lack of civility, the use of aggressive, disqualifying and sarcastic language that wants to hurt the other. You can have disagreements without the need to resort to disqualifying attacks. It must be understood that not everything is black or white, the solutions to conflicts often lie in the gray areas and in constructive dialogue."
"On the other hand, the misuse of social networks has very important toxic effects on public debate. If declarative journalism was criticized before, based on the attacks of one and the other, now this has moved to Twitter. They are simplified messages, without reflection or the ability to argue. You only attack or seek to ridicule the other. There are no elaborate or leisurely arguments."