The Brexit debate continues unabated in the UK with growing global interest over its implications.
And, with October 31st, the next cut-off or EU departure date rapidly approaching, the debate is intensifying.
Every aspect of the implications of whether the UK leaves with or without a deal - the so-called ‘no-deal Brexit - is being poured over under the closest scrutiny.
Not only is it an intense debate generating much ‘heat’, importantly it’s also generating a lot of ‘light’.
Light in this context in terms of the depth and breadth of the arguments on either side of the issue and from both ends of the spectrum.
At the forefront of this, driving and directing it, is the media, especially the British media.
There’s is a thought that had the process of the 2016 referendum focused more on the dissemination and debating of information rather than the emphasis on campaigning to sway public opinion to a 'leave' or 'remain’ choice, the public would have been better informed.
Whether or not that might have impacted or swayed the outcome of the referendum is itself debatable.
Surveys have shown that the British public are now more infinitely knowledgeable and informed about the European Union and the UK's involvement in and with it, than they did at the time of the 2016 referendum.
On a stark choice of 'leave' or 'remain', the Leave vote won, albeit by a fairly narrow margin.
It could be argued that with reality now replacing rhetoric, minds are being focused.
This is due to the sheer volume of information being circulated and debated. The lynchpin for that to a large degree is the British media and how it’s being utilised as a forum for informed discussion.
Opinions are divergent, intelligent (for the most part), passionate and knowledge-based.
Up and down the country, and overseas - as Brexit is an issue of international proportions and repercussions - the press is at the forefront of the discourse.
The tone of coverage varies. The British press, including the state-funded BBC, is famous for declaring its editorial independence.
But it’s also known for sharing editorial and ideological platforms, identifiable, if not declared, with particular political parties or ideologies. Readers, listeners and viewers tend to be quite discerning of these alignments.
From straight reportage to the ‘commentariat’ (editorials, opinion columns and panels - and there are many), the perceived and proven pros and cons of Brexit, especially the implications of a 'no-deal Brexit', are being thoroughly examined.
Audience engagement is at the core of this.
From mainstream media, the national, regional and local press, radio, television, online via the various facets of social media, and community forums (which generally expand their audiences via social media streaming), the role of the media in this discourse is critical and proving its necessity.
The three core pillars of the media are listed as; to educate, inform and entertain and there is no question that the British press is living up to this is an exemplary manner as facilitator of this critical process.
Whatever direction the UK chooses from this point onwards post-Brexit, this time it clearly won’t be for a lack of information and scrutiny compared to one of the main criticisms of the 2016 referendum campaign.