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Online political discussion forum launched by daily

A regional daily has launched an online debate platform allowing readers to share ideas and issues surrounding the country’s politics.

The Belfast Telegraph founded DebateNI as a forum for discussion, describing it as “the home of Northern Ireland politics” and welcoming “the ideas and the critiques, the disagreements and the brain-storming that is the foundation stone of any democracy.”

It features blogs, breaking political news, and a ‘data centre’ reporting election results, poll statistics, and other stats-related stories, and actively encourages readers to comment.

It also contains profiles on each of the Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) of Northern Ireland.

DebateNI’s motif, by BelTel cartoonist Stevie Lee, is based on a 17th century coffee shop debate and is designed to illustrate the “rich and vigorous debate” that characterises Northern Ireland’s political history.

An introductory piece on the site states: “DebateNI is more than just debate – it’s an information provider, a data bank, a source of inspiration, and an echo chamber of local politics.  “e hope it will be, in short, the ideas lab of our civic life.

“As a newspaper with a long and proud tradition of being at the centre of political debate in Northern Ireland, we feel we are uniquely positioned to host this forum.

“Our political coverage of the Province is second to none, and our reputation as the challenger of sectarian orthodoxies and stimulator of intelligent conversations is unrivalled.

“DebateNI will grow in coming months, but from the start we have added features we believe will enhance the quality of civic life:  breaking news, opinion, blogs, live information feeds, coverage of Stormont proceedings, data tools, archive and much, much more.”