(from our correspondent in Strasbourg) “Can democracy withstand the ‘impact’ of the Internet? Yes, provided that institutions and democratic processes are solid and transparent and that citizens are involved and engaged”. This is according to the Council of Europe Secretary General, Marija Pejčinović Burić (pictured, speaking), who took the floor at the World Forum for Democracy that is taking place in Strasbourg. Her remarks focused on the profile of modern democracies, enticed and “challenged” by the new opportunities offered by the Internet. Many speakers are scheduled to contribute to the panel discussions during the three-day Forum. The programme also features labs, side events and exhibitions. In the spotlight will be the opportunities offered by the new communications media and the challenges they pose. “The Internet – Ms Burić emphasised – has opened up huge spaces for freedom. Borders fall”, the horizon of knowledge widens, personal friendships are created between one continent and another, and news can be disseminated more easily… But then the issue of the “quality” of information (anyone can circulate news, real or fake, on the Internet) comes up again – in almost all contributions -, together with the importance of training journalists, the broader challenge of popular culture, the pressures towards disinformation (fake news) driven by political or financial interests. Burić invited to look forward: “Will what is being created now in our societies in the field of information still be useful and constructive in a decade? Or will it be outdated?”. The rapid changes in this area give rise to further questions.