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The Economist is positioning itself as a bulwark against a rising tide of populism and authoritarianism around the world with the launch of its ‘Open Future’ initiative and restating its founding principles.

Focused on five key themes, the initiative will focus on diversity and human rights, migration, the economy, free speech and technology by way of content sourced from the magazine’s own editorial staff and outside contributors.

Zanny Minton Beddoes, editor-in-chief of The Economist, said: “Although the world has changed dramatically since James Wilson founded The Economist to fight against the Corn Laws, the liberalism we have championed since 1843 is as important and relevant as ever.

“Yet the core tenets of that liberalism – faith in free markets and open societies – face greater resistance today than they have for many years. From globalisation to free speech, basic elements of the liberal credo are assailed from right and left.”

Beddoes has penned a special report on the future of liberalism to appear in the  175 anniversary edition of the paper to be published on 15 September, coinciding with the Open Future Festival to be staged simultaneously in Hong Kong, London and New York.

The Economist has held out longer than most against a universal fall in ad revenues for print publications – but reported an 11% fall in profits last year as a result of declining ad revenues.