openDemocracy is a United Kingdom-based political website. Founded in 2001, openDemocracy claims that through reporting and analysis of social and political issues, they seek to "challenge power and encourage democratic debate" across the world. The website has attracted around 8 million hits a year. The founders of the website have been involved with established media and political activism. It has been funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation among other organisations including the Open Society Foundation the National Endowment for Democracy, the Ford Foundation and Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.[1]

openDemocracy logo.png
Available inEnglish
OwneropenDemocracy Foundation for the Advancement of Global Education
Created byAnthony Barnett, David Hayes, Susan Richards and Paul Hilder
EditorMary Fitzgerald
LaunchedMay 2001; 19 years ago (2001-05)
Current statusActive


openDemocracy was founded in 2000 by Anthony Barnett, David Hayes, Susan Richards and Paul Hilder. Publishing started in May 2001.[2]

Prominent contributors have included Noam Chomsky, Yanis Varoufakis, Caroline Lucas MP, Peter Oborne, Paul Mason, Owen Jones, John Berger, Chantal Mouffe, Étienne Balibar, Chuka Umunna, Kofi Annan, George Soros, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Shirin Ebadi, Sidney Blumenthal, Peter Hain, Pierre Bourdieu, Manuel Castells, Fred Halliday, and David Blunkett.

openDemocracy's mission statement asserts: "With human rights as our central guiding focus, we ask tough questions about freedom, justice and democracy. We give those fighting for their rights the agency to make their case and to inspire action.”[3]

openDemocracy is owned and published through a non-profit foundation. It has been funded by a number of philanthropic organisations, including George Soros' Open Society Initiative for Europe, the Mott Foundation, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, Ford Foundation, David and Elaine Potter Foundation, Lush, Andrew Wainwright Trust and the Network for Social Change.[4]

Founder Anthony Barnett, Charter 88 organiser and political campaigner, was the first editor (2001–2005) and Isabel Hilton was editor from 2005–2007. She was succeeded by Rosemary Bechler who has been editor since 2010. In 2012 the editor-in-chief was Magnus Nome who was then succeeded by Mary Fitzgerald from 2014.

In May 2017, openDemocracy helped sponsor The Convention on Brexit.


  1. ^ "openDemocracy's Supporters". openDemocracy. 2014-10-01. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
  2. ^ Tony Bennett (Autumn/Winter 2005-06). "Opening up democracy, interview with the founder of Anthony Barnett" (PDF). Society Matters (8): 15. Retrieved 2017-01-26.
  3. ^ "About openDemocracy". openDemocracy.
  4. ^ "Our supporters". openDemocracy.

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