Heather Brooke gives low-down on media propaganda at UEA lecture

The award-winning journalist who blew the lid on the MPs’ expenses scandal is giving a talk in London’s East End tonight (Weds) on propaganda and the press.

Heather Brooke opens her lecture at the University of East Anglia’s campus in Aldgate, on the dangers of public susceptibility to propaganda by the deluge of data in the Information Age.

It comes two days after the Leveson Report into the media.

“People’s concerns about the press are more timely now than ever,” she says. “They should understand the inter-action between the press, public and those in power in light of the Leveson report.”

But there is a wider issue with growing social media and the “deluge of data on a daily basis” with the public becoming more susceptible to propaganda, Heather points out.

“Most people aren’t equipped to wade through all this information, test it and choose what to use,” she explained.

“It is becoming more important with the rise of social media to think critically about the information we are presented with and to know how to judge it.

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“Just because we have more information doesn’t mean it’s true or has any quality above rumour.”

Heather’s investigation and legal action against Parliament for disclosure of MPs’ expenses was the catalyst of the 2009 expenses controversy.

She is a Freedom of Information campaigner as well as journalist and visiting lecturer in contemporary history at UEA and a professor of journalism at City University.

Her lecture tonight is the first in a new public series from the UEA’s ‘Thought Out’ project on the importance of critical thinking in the digital age, beginning at 6.30pm at its London campus at 102 Middlesex Street, Aldgate. Free tickets can be reserved by email to s.hoffman-heap@uea.ac.uk, or online at www.thoughtoutproject.com/events.