At least five major principles should structure a policy of democratization of communication activities: the training of key actors in the stakes of communication, the public transparency of influence activities, the supervision of products, practices and contents, the regulation of contents, and the redistribution of the means of production and diffusion of narratives.
Training in communication issues must evolve, by transforming the curricula of future professionals so as to focus on the political stakes of today's communication, and by accompanying the capacity building of civil society on the strategic and ethical stakes of communication; this last element should facilitate the adoption of communication standards by NGOs that are both efficient for the accomplishment of their social purpose, politically coherent and ethically ambitious.
In order to make the communication activities of legal entities transparent, the details of the expenses incurred in the various media must be made publicly available and easily accessible, and be subject to specific reporting obligations when it comes to political influence communication activities;
The supervision of communication activities aims to put an end to their main abuses, such as intrusive, hidden or polluting advertising media and marketing techniques, the promotion of products whose mass consumption has harmful consequences for the environment or public health, or hidden astroturfing and political influence strategies and initiatives;
Be it commercial, CSR or corporate messages, corporate narratives must be subject to independent regulation by public authorities in the general interest. It is a question of controlling, in mass communication, the presence of useful, verifiable and complete information, and preventing semiotic strategies leading to marketing obsolescence, image whitewashing and concealed political influence on public debate.
In the longer term, the transformation of the economic and cultural model requires a redistribution of access to the means of communication. In a perspective of cultural battle, public policies must intervene, particularly on economic issues, in order to limit the capacities of advertising diffusion by big companies, to support the independence and the plurality of the media, and to facilitate the access of the civil society to the means of communication. Civil society organizations defending causes must be able to benefit from a privileged access to the means of communication as well as spaces in the appropriate media so as to facilitate the expression of the diversity of citizen narratives.
The organization intends to articulate its struggle for the regulation of the communication activities of large corporations with the ongoing struggles for the accountability of parent companies with respect to the consequences of their industrial and financial activities, and for the transparency and regulation of their institutional lobbying activities. It will support the evolution of standards around corporate social responsibility insofar as they do not substitute for the weaknesses of public intervention. It will frame its work on the issues of regulation of communication activities within the broader issues of environmental and consumer protection, democratic media reform, and the development of a free and user-friendly internet and digital technology..
Just as democracy is a process to be constantly protected and deepened, the mission of “Communication and Democracy» should be structured on a permanent basis, and will undoubtedly diversify and evolve with the changing historical context. Nevertheless, the first constitutive elements of the communication society we are calling for could emerge relatively quickly.
Our medium-term objective is that the action of Communication and Democracy will have contributed to the fact that people in general, and political decision-makers in particular, are no longer subjected to the most aggressive influence devices, and that they are only exposed to a reasonable communicational pressure, respectful of their psychic integrity and of their daily attention time; the organization will have contributed to the fact that individuals are better able to establish a critical distance towards persuasive communication; that it has contributed to the fact that the media can mainly put at the disposal of the people informational and cultural contents independent of external influence strategies; that it has acted so that the citizens, gathered in movements and associations, are better equipped to emit political messages in the public debate, and that they are better accompanied in this by media that have become at the same time more independent, and incited by the public authorities to offer to the civil society appropriate conditions of distribution of citizens' narratives.