Discussion Paper

Countering Populism in Public Space: Non-governmental organisations

2018 | Fröhlich, Niggemeier, Prinz

In cooperation with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), Das Progressive Zentrum developed specific guidelines for a confident and conscious approach towards anti-democratic populism in public space. The project “Countering Populism in Public Space” benefited from the experiences of the dedicated participants and prepared the results for media use.

Over the past few years, civil society organisations have been faced with greater challenges posed by anti-democratic populism. Organisers of political discussion events often find themselves confronted with a worldview that is diametrically opposed to their own and struggle with finding ways to confidently deal with provocations. Some civil society organisers, however, have in recent years found ways to meet the challenge. The project team of “Countering Populism in Public Space” under the lead of project manager Paulina Fröhlich has invited them to workshops to exchange their experiences. The best strategies and most controversial aspects made it into our Guideline.

The Guideline for Promoting a Democratic Culture of Debate answers, among others, the following questions:

  • How to react if someone from the audience disturbs the discussion?
  • What to look out for when inviting panelists?
  • Which qualifications does the moderation need?
  • Why are some discussion formats not suited for controversial topics?

About Countering Populism in Public Space

The project “Countering Populism in Public Space” was sponsored by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) and was supported in terms of content by the main partners Amadeu Antonio Stiftung and Neue Deutsche Medienmacher.

Further projects against populism

„Countering Populism in Public Space“ is one of many projects of Das Progressive Zentrum which deals with the topic “populism“. The research project in Spring 2018 investigated the role of traditional media in legitimising and discrediting populist parties in Germany and Great Britain „Mediating Populism“ in Spring 2018 investigated the role of traditional media in legitimising and discrediting populist parties in Germany and Great Britain.

Furthermore, a comparative policy brief with partners from Terra Nova (Paris) and Volta (Mailand) analysed the state of populist parties in France, Germany, and Italy. The Thinking Lab on Populism „Dialogue on Europe“ even brings together six national perspectives from Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, and Germany. With the fact-checking project „TruLies“ as well as the policy brief on dealing with populists in the German Bundestag (see articles in Die Zeit, Berliner Zeitung, Frankfurter Rundschau), Das Progressive Zentrum developed a more specific focus on the situation in Germany.



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