Open Panels

Activism, Communication and Locality

Convener:

Ferenc Hammer
Department of Media and Communication Studies, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary

Description:

Social media revolution in activism has been a widely discussed topic in media research in recent years. One might have the impression that social media have become the par excellence environment for activism, and that “hashtag solidarity” has replaced civilian action. This panel aims to focus on local variations of communication strategies, media usage and appropriation of physical spaces applied by Central-European activists to offer a more complex perspective on the contemporary interrelations of activism and media. It invites speakers with a background in activism and/or academia to describe and analyse media and spatial strategies of political activism in the unstable democracies of the region. Topics to be discussed include the evaluation of the effectivity of social media campaigns; the use and reinterpretation of “old” media by today’s activists (e.g. photo-activism, verbatim theatre); documentation for activist purposes and of activist actions (e.g. the online trajectory of videos recording police brutality or protests against eviction); the appropriation of physical space as commemoration, local re-enaction and original political act (e.g. local versions of occupy-movements at universities and public spaces); the conceptual transformation of local features into larger structures of identity; and the changing understanding of virtuality and performativity in the ever-converging online and offline time-spaces.

Possible contributions also include theoretical or critical explorations of social media activism as a narrative of the transformations of Eastern-European identity shaped by local authoritarian ambitions, fuelled by the institutional and social crisis of the European Union. Inter-generational relationships — whether conflicted or supportive — are of particular interest for exploring how pre-transition activist strategies are mobilized, modified, and abandoned in the post-socialist context. In this respect, irony as a frequently used tool for ridiculing governmental institutions and actors can be examined in the dual framework of its specifically Eastern-European cultural tradition and of a broader contemporary media culture of collage, quotations and memes. The panel will present an opportunity to examine how social activism is redefined through new media usage and how local media usage patterns influence the penetration of activists’ messages.

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De-Politicised Spaces of Everyday Life – State-Socialism vs. Liberal Democracy

Convener:

Dalma Kékesdi-Boldog
Budapest Business School, Department for Media and Communication, Hungary

Description:

In the Soviet Communist media system, the party state used a great variety of techniques and means to influence the press and media. Even though there was no official censorship, the press and media were controlled via an extensive institutional system and party nomenklatura. Besides direct methods such as permanent supervision by the state security organisations, the main device was state monopoly in a variety of fields, including the distribution of information, printing paper and facilities, system of privileges offered to collaborating journalists. Media were considered the transmission belt of the party state, and mass communication was used as a propaganda instrument.

After the political transformations in 1989–91, Central/Eastern European media landscapes underwent far-reaching changes in terms of policy, ownership, technology and supply, as well as journalistic standards and practices. Most spaces of everyday life such as the school for example were largely de-politicised. of Some researchers suggest that, despite the obvious historical changes, the methods of state-socialist press and media control re-emerged, including in the fields of the distribution of intelligence, political control over outlets, and a new nomenklatura system, especially in post-2010 Hungary and post-2015 Poland, including the re-politicisation of some of the everyday spaces such as the school.

This section takes a look at propaganda methods in a comparative perspective in the pre-1990 and post-2010 eras with a focus on the de-politicisation of public and private communicative spaces. It aims at uncovering how indirect control worked then and now and what impact it had on people’s everyday lives.

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Digital Literacy, Participation and Inclusion

Convener:

Rozália Klára Bakó and István Zsigmond
Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania, Romania

Description:

Digital inequality is a prominent form of the new social inequalities (Robinson et al., 2015). As smart devices are part of everyday routines, our digital literacy enable social participation for both work and play. How about those left behind? The “digital underclass” of vulnerable groups (Helsper & Reisdorf, 2016: 2) is marked by age (the elderly), education (high school and below), and disability (Hargittai & Dobransky, 2017). While digital empowerment and social inclusion are usually approached separately, recent inquiries suggest the need for exploring good practices of treating them together. For example, educators may develop digital literacy by strengthening ties between school and family (Arrow & Finch, 2013; Blau & Hameiri, 2016). We expect papers dealing with assessment and development of digital literacy, with special interest in including different age- and social groups.

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Digitalization and Politics

Convener:

Csaba Fazekas
University of Miskolc Faculty of Arts Institute of Applied Social Sciences, Hungary

Description:

Obama’s campaign used the Facebook successfully, Trump makes the policy of the United States in 200-character Twitter messages, and we can continue a lot of well known examples which show: the digital space became the most important field of the politics in the first half of the 21th century. It is not questionable that the digitalization resulted fundamental and worldwide changes in every field of communication: everyday conversations, official communications and documentations etc. This panel waits and welcomes papers concerned the connections between the digitalization and the formulation of political events and activities: e.g. factual examples of campaigns, strategies of political parties from different countries, relations between political systems and the digital media, social network sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.), the future of the old communication tools (printed papers, television and radio, street posters), the spreading of the digitalization tools in the process of elections, public surveys etc. We are interested in the theoretical funds and principles of this topic, the comparative approaches, the challenges of the present and the next future of the connections between the digitalization and world of politics.

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Governance without Government

Convener:

Edit Soós
University of Szeged, Faculty of Law, Dept. of Political Science, Hungary

Description:

The panel analyses the spatial logics of EU border externalisation practices. What is meant by cross-border space? The purpose of the panel is to apply the concept of space to cross-border relations and to acquire novel interpretations.

Cross-border cooperation, as part of a process of de-bordering has been supported by EU funds and programmes and territorial cooperation emerges as the third pillar of the Cohesion Policy. Cohesion policy addresses the ‘distribution of authority’, and decision-making powers across member states, thereby referring to multilevel governance. The concept of multilevel governance – the coordinated action by the European Union, the member states, and local and regional authorities, based on partnership and aimed at drawing up and implementing EU policies – presupposes a European Political Space. The development of the European Political Space refers to the distinct but interconnected dimension of cross-border space.

In recent decades the institutions of cross-border space have been building new forms of cooperation, strategies that have led to the evolution of cooperation at all governmental levels, building regional, municipal and urban partnerships. All these practices were reinforced through various public policies of territorial cooperation in order to build a more cohesive European space.

Multilevel governance is characterized by a proliferation of multi-purpose governments with variable and flexible spatial scales in complex institutional settings, breaking with established administrative structures, boundaries, planning tools, and formal spaces of sub-national governance, which are coming together ‘bottom up’, and facilitate efficient institutionalisation

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EGTCs are genuine laboratories of multi-level governance, exercising public authority in cross-border space. The legal framework of EGTC can promote cross-border institutionalisation, thus the development of cross-sectoral policy integration. The panel seeks to draw an overview whether the European Union provided a stable institutional framework for the application of a new, non-national, state space concept in the border areas. May EGTCs facilitate shaping the border areas?

Since cross-border cooperation has been growing, it has been mainly developed at an institutional level. Little has been said about the possible influence of informal relations and communication technologies which has brought forward new spatial experiences. In this context the panel examines the nature of border networks and how they are interconnected with the institutional cross-border cooperation.

The panel addresses the question to what extent cross-border governance still follows the logic of ‘spaces of place’, or ‘spaces of flows’, emerging as complementary logics of community and institution building.

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Innovative Methods in Measuring Political Polarization in the Age of Hybrid Media

Convener:

Gabriella Szabó
Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary

Svetlana S. Bodrunova
Department of Mass Media Management, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia

Description:

Polarization in politics has recently acquired great importance as a subject of discussion in Central and Eastern Europe. The panel aims to bring media and communication scholars together and examine the application of new analytical tools in measuring political polarization in the media spaces. Inspired by the thesis of hybridity (Chadwick, 2013) and the networked publics (boyd, 2010), we create forum for academic dispute in which we recognise the media sphere (incl. social media) as spatial imagination of representations and narratives on politics that carry the potential to make the invisible publicly visible and maintain connection between the key communicators. It is argued that today’s media ecosystem is more than a convergence of offline and online spaces: it is the transcendence into a new form of interactions by allowing for a rapid conversation on politics across multiple platforms with virtual proximities and distances between the actors.

The body of scientific thinking depicts polarization as the divergence of politics, which highlights the creation and stabilization of political blocs, separate political communities. Speculations began to rise that there has been no such thing called mainstream media sphere in CEE countries, but distinctive group of media outlets have evolved to create ideological ‘bubbles’. In this ‘bubble’, the lines between audiences, journalists and politicians are blurring: instead of being neutral carrier of messages, media have become a focal point of politically relevant communities. Nowadays, the key question to be addressed is whether the fragmented and heavily partisan media sphere is inclusive enough for connecting divergent journalistic opinions or there has been a gradual emergence of political polarization because of the media instrumentalisation of political agents.

There is however pressing need for refreshing the methodological apparatus for innovative examinations of political polarization in media. With this in mind, we invite empirical contributions to investigate the different aspects of the widened and widening discursive gap between media outlets having left and right, or liberal and conservative political orientations. The panel promotes the relational approach to study polarization meaning that architecture of the media space can be defined through the relations among the media platforms. Qualitative and quantitative researches, single case studies and cross-case comparisons form the body of this panel. We pay special attention to the use of mixed methods such as the combination of content-oriented examinations and network analysis. Particular attention will be devoted to the cross-country comparability of the datasets and to the regional specificities, therefore the contributors are encouraged to discuss the potential common framework for the analysis of the forthcoming 2019 European Parliamentary election campaign during the panel.

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Journalism Under Pressure – Case Studies from Hungary and Poland

Convener:

Dalma Kékesdi-Boldog
Budapest Business School, Department for Media and Communication, Hungary

Description:

In Hungary, a Soviet-based but more flexible information policy was gradually emerging as the Kádár Regime was unfolding. Journalists had to observe a differentiated information policy managed by Minister of Culture György Aczél, listing authors and works into ‘tolerated,’ ‘prohibited’ and ‘supported’ categories without, however, offering clear classification criteria. In sharp contrast, political propaganda was more marked in Poland. Yet in both countries journalists were considered ‘the party’s soldiers.’ However, as there was no single system of norms hence journalists interpreted their roles differently. Some of them were loyal to the regime, others tried to find equilibrium, and yet others were seeking alternative ways to express themselves.

After the political transformations in 1989–91, Central/Eastern European media landscapes underwent far-reaching changes, including a change in the standards of journalism, an in particular the rise of ‘collaborative journalism.’ This section, involving both media scholars and active journalists, looks into the various interpretations and role models of professional journalism in pre-1990 and post-2010 Central/Eastern Europe.

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Media Freedom and Pluralism as Values of the European Union: Can/Should it be Enforced by Policy Tools within the EU?

Convener:

Judit Bayer
Budapest Business School, Department for Media and Communication, Hungary

Description:

The level of media pluralism is insufficient in all EU countries, according to studies organised by the EU. It is threatened by several factors: not only private ownership concentration, but also state interference and influence. In some countries this reaches a level which provokes a systemic failure of the media market and entails the dysfunction of democracy.
Besides effective pluralism in the media, the transparency of ownership relationships and funding would also be needed in order to give information about the actual status.

While no explicit competences to regulate media pluralism are conferred on the EU, it has certain other competences to use in this regard. The EU can attach consequences to not respecting the EU values enshrined in Article 2 TEU, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. There are also some positive competences enabling the EU to adopt measures on fundamental rights, state aid and the internal market.
However, political consensus appears to be missing among EU member states to launch a legislative action in this field.

In the internet age, the media has gone global, but media regulation has remained national.

The European Union has strived to create more than just a common economic area: also a common cultural and to a certain aspect, political community. In the process of building a democratic community having free, plural and common public sphere would be inevitable. The ultimate question is this: should the EU endeavour towards a deeper integration through policy actions in order to create a plural, and vibrant common public sphere, or not?

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Mediatisation and/or Self-mediatisation in the Era of Social Media

Convener:

Norbert Merkovity
Department ofPolitical Science, University of Szeged, Hungary

Description:

Examining the relationship between politicians and media has been the object of scientific research for long. Daniel Boorstin was one of the first researchers to analyse this relationship in the age of the television. He argued that media produces pseudo-events for the audience to which the politicians adapt. They recognize how the media builds up the reality and how they can use this knowledge in their actions (Boorstin, 1992 [1961]). Boorstin has highlighted the unspoken mediatisation of politicians, but this expression did not take on its final meaning in political communication. Some researchers consider it as an all-encompassing, collective term (Deacon and Stanyer, 2014), while others interpret it as an ‘incomplete and still unfolding historical project’ (Livingstone, 2009: 7). However, Jesper Strömbäck states that mediatisation is a process where the independence of politics from media can be analysed (Strömbäck, 2008).

Mediatisation is working differently on social networks. It is not linear but a multi-directional and multidimensional process, where its impacts include strategic adaptation; this concept is not normative, and consequences do not depend on normative aspects (Strömbäck and Esser, 2014: 251–2). Politicians have professionalized the art of news management in order to control the consequences of free publicity on social media. Furthermore, they use mediatisation to frame and pack the events (Brants et al., 2010: 29; see also Negrine et al., 2007). This brings us to self-mediatisation of politics (Esser, 2013; Meyer, 2002). This means that focus is shifted from the parties to the politicians, and mediatisation can be interpreted as their communicative representation (Mansbridge, 2009), but it can also refer to ‘spin doctors’ (Esser, 2008), although, in each case, ends at self-representation and ‘self-initiated stage-management’ (Esser, 2013: 162). Research shows that politicians use social networks for communication in a press conference-manner, typically not exploiting the opportunities of two-way communication, and that has to do with controlling attention (see Aharony, 2012; Merkovity, 2016). According to this, politicians typically use online communication means as one-way channels, just like they use traditional media.

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Platforms and Digital Journalism – Mapping the Connections between Technology, Culture and Policy

Convener:

Judit Bayer
Budapest Business School, Department for Media and Communication, Hungary

Description:

Platforms – particularly Facebook and Google – have become dominant in shaping how digital media and journalism functions in the contemporary media ecosystem. As more and more users consume news and various other types of content through the newsfeeds and algorithms of platforms, the more power platforms have over influencing or even controlling the means of distributing, ways of consuming and scope of creating and sharing digital media content (Bell-Taylor 2017, Helberger-Trilling 2016, Pew 2014, Kalogeropoulos-Newman 2017, Tremayne 2017). The ubiquitous presence of platforms alters editorial decisions and journalistic practices, also users’ perception of news, thus affects deeply how traditional online media companies are able to reach their audiences and monetize their reach. We wish to organize an open, interdisciplinary panel, with 5-6 participants, including talks on the most important relations between either the cultural, policy, journalistic and technological aspects regarding the intertwined nature of platforms and digital journalism. We would particularly welcome presentations on the following aspects: country- or region specific, data-based analyses on the role of platforms in local media markets; changing journalistic roles, strategies and practices in the newsfeed-ecosystem; news consumption habits and trends. Researchers with diverse disciplinary and methodological backgrounds are welcome.

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Political Correctness – the Contemporary Form of Free Speech Censorship?

Convener:

Bartosz Wiśniewski
Ateneum-University, Gdańsk, Poland

Description:

In today’s society, we are faced with groups that are easily offended by simple statements that are not harmful in their nature. Liberal media does applause those groups and they force the language of political correctness upon the mainstream viewers, listeners and readers. Such behavior is slowly but steadily creating a whole list of subjects, topics and words that are deemed unacceptable for public discussion. This is becoming more and more visible and is forcing the right wing media on the offensive those creating a potent ground for real hateful speech to sprout. So we need to ask ourselves the question is political correctness just a new form of censorship or is it a righteous tool that some groups are just taking advantage of?

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Populism

Convener:

Gergő Hajzer
University of Szeged, Faculty of Law and Political Sciences, Hungary

Description:

The economic difficulties that Europe had to face have created a general dissatisfaction among the citizens. With the help of the mass media, populism interprets politics into a simple and easily understandable language thus reducing the need for an intellectual and critical potential. Mostly accompanied by radicalism, populist parties and movements, are gaining more and more space in the political sphere of many liberal democracies across Europe and in North America. This Panel is open to papers that discuss the increasing social support and thus the emergence of political power of populist and extremist parties and groups by exploring the causes, patterns, interaction and consequences of the phenomena. The Panel aims to address populism by focusing on the interactions between and the impact on other actors (mainstream political actors, state institutions, civil society) within the political system. Therefore, the Panel also welcomes papers discussing the consequences of developments on the democratic quality of the political system (e.g. radicalization of the political mainstream, convergence of radical, populist and extremist views on the left and right, the polarization of party systems), governance, policy-making and political discourse. The Panel gladly receives different theoretical and conceptual approaches, whether novel or well-established, quantitative or qualitative, in order to improve our understanding about how various actors and forms of populism operate in and impact contemporary democracies. The Panel is suitable to paper proposals from various sub-disciplines, with different methodological and empirical approaches and with scopes ranging from single case studies to comparative papers.

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Secular and / or Sacred Public Spheres

Convener:

Ákos Lázár Kovács
Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Hungary

Description:

The public sphere is without doubt a central feature of modern society. The majority of references to public sphere theory in the media studies focus on Habermas’s normative theory. Our viewpoint about it is similar to Jacobson, who wrote: “… one the most significant revision in Habermas’s recent thinking concerns the role of religion in modern society. A number of trends have promoted a rethinking of relationship between religion and secular society” (Jacobson, 2017 Trending theory of the public sphere. In.: Annuals of the International Communication Association Vol. 41. Issue 1. 70-82). The social scientific background of this panels is given by Charles Taylor’s theory about public sphere. The Canadian philosopher embedded his public sphere conception into the cultural theory of modernity and wrote “Modernity involves the coming to be of new kinds of public space, which cannot be accounted for in terms of changes in explicit views, either of factual belief or of normative principle”. (Taylor: Modernity and the Rise of the Public Sphere. Stanford University, 1992 p. 21.) Taylor describes the public sphere as a common space in which the members of society are deemed to meet through a variety of media to discuss different topics of common interest. But the circulations of print materials are not its sufficient condition. It is also partly constituted by common understandings. This understanding can arise not in the realm of explicit beliefs, but through shifts in background understanding and the social imaginary. (Taylor ibid 28-29.) In his crucial essay Taylor differentiates two types of public (common) spaces, one of them is the topical common space (physically existing spaces) and the other is the metatopical common space (imaginary existing spaces). Taylor leads us trough this distinction to the definition of the public sphere: public sphere is an extrapolitical and secular metatopical space. (Taylor ibid 54.) Extrapolitical status means that the modern public sphere is a space of discussion which is outside the state. „… the second facet of the newness of the public sphere has to be defined as its radical secularity. Where the constituting factor is nothing other than such common action— whether the founding acts have already occurred in the past or are now coming about is immaterial – we have secularity” (Taylor ibid 42). We would like to extend the scientific horizon of this panel with some crucial theories about secularization (Jose Casanova, Hans Joas and David Martin).

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Social Media Watch of the Hungarian General Elections in 2018

Convener:

Kornél Németh
University of Szeged, Faculty of Law and Political Sciences, Hungary

Description:

Today’s political communication’s unavoidable appliance is the Internet, mostly social media. For this reason the use of Facebook, Twitter, etc. in political campaigns became a standard part of political strategies. Social media is a spectacular scene for communication with the voters and rivalry with the other political parties, not to mention that it is relatively easy to follow and to analyze.

In the last few years, Hungarian politicians have also discovered the opportunities in social media.

The most characteristic social media platform used by the actors of the Hungarian political scene for interaction and communication is Facebook. The mentioned political scene consists of political parties, politicians, journalists, opinion leaders, non-governmental organizations and citizens.

This panel’s goal is to monitor the political activities of the members of the Hungarian political scene during the campaign season of the country’s general elections in 2018. Under these terms, we mean activity, interaction between each other, emergence, usage and frequency of campaign topics, furthermore, the way and standard of communication with the potential voters.

This Panel welcomes papers that are analyzing and evaluating the results of their social media watch with qualitative and quantitative methods.

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Spaces of the Nation: Communicative Construction and Symbolic Struggles from Sites of Memory to Places of Tourism

Convener:

Bertalan Pusztai
University of Szeged, Depratment of Communication and Media Studies, Hungary

Description:

Beside modern mass media, the ‘long 19th century’ gave birth to at least two other cultural systems which have rather strong imaginations about space: modern nationalism and tourism. Both played important roles in the social construction of space, i.e. turning space into places. As it aimed to construct an unprecedentedly vast community, the communicative construction of modern nations meant the construction of symbols, the hand-picking of elements of historical memory, the writing of canonic national histories, and the elevation or forgetting of national heroes. All these processes are finely represented in the politics of space. How did the sacred places of the nation form? What was the role of modern mass media in this procedure? How are these places used in their contemporary medial and ritual context? What was and is the role of tourism in the construction of national sacred places? What symbolic identity struggles can be identified in the space in the course of the 19-20th centuries? What kind of developments could be recorded in late modernity? How did the discourses of heritage connect to these developments and how is this represented in contemporary media discourses? What imaginary national places are organised in the contemporary mass and social media?

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The Genealogy of Mediatized Spaces: the Case of Big Cities in the Late 19th Century

Convener:

Benedek Tóth
University of Szeged, Department of Communication and Media Studies, Hungary

Description:

In the late 19th century big cities had been realized and described (by Georg Simmel for instance) as new frames and structures of the human experience (or lifeworld). The urban mass functioned as prefiguration or modell of mass society. The patterns of urban communication and interpretation of real and imaginary urban spaces were highly influenced by narrative structures and agenda setting of the contemporary mass media. This way medial/imaginary and real urban spaces defined each other mutually in the case of late 19th century big cities (as C. E. Schorske demonstrates it in his famous work „Fin-de-siecle Vienna: Politics and Culture). The conference panel discusses the relationship between imaginary and „real” urban environment in the late 19th century. How they defined each other? What role mass media did play in that process? How the relation of metropolitan way of experience / observation and „modernity” can be interpreted?

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The Liability of Platform Providers for Third Party Content

Convener:

Judit Bayer
Budapest Business School, Department for Media and Communication, Hungary

Description:

In the age of the web2.0, an overwhelming part of internet content is user-generated content, being transmitted by the so-called platform providers, whether they transmit text, pictures, videos or other.

The European Directive on E-Commerce (2000) does not provide answer to the burning questions of liability, and the national and international courts give contradicting judgements (e.g. Delfi v. Estonia, MTE and Index v. Hungary by ECtHR, L’Oreal v. Ebay by ECJ). Europe lacks at the moment a Good Samaritan rule which would exempt those “diligent” service providers from liability, who try to monitor their services and filter out illegal content, but did not succeed in this effort.

While the E-Commerce Directive explicitly declares the lack of obligation to monitor (Article 15), its scope does not clearly extend to platform providers.

In sum, there is no clearly foreseeable legal regulation in Europe to this problem, and this creates in practice much legal uncertainty.

For lay persons it often appears justified to demand giant service providers such as YouTube, and Facebook, to act responsibly, and to serve as a safe and secure zone of a variety of content. However, the envisaged level of responsibility makes these actors into private censors of the internet. An elevated level of responsibility for third party’s content would entail that the user-generated content is treated like their own “edited” content, and altered or erased according to their own will, which raises concerns regarding the freedom of expression of the users. Should we regard these actors as common carriers? In other words: do users have an individual right to express their legal content through these platforms? In case a platform provider finds anything “inappropriate” or illegal, should users have a right to appeal against such decision?

These hubs serve today as gatekeepers of user content distribution. Besides laying significant power over independent user content in their hands, imposing on them editorial responsibility also indirectly discriminates against small-budget independent platform providers, further increasing the monopoly situation of the internet giants.

In certain cases, legal solutions have worked out the notice-and-notice regimes (Defamation Act UK §5, Copyright Act of Canada). Is there a reason why this could not be applied to all sorts of legal violations?

The Audiovisual Media Service (AVMS) Directive now offers a proposed regulation for video-sharing platform providers (proposed Articles 28a-b). It would make self-regulation – which is already done by most platform-providers – compulsory, and also open the door for national regulation in the cases of hate speech and protection of children. Should this become an area of national regulation, while the AVMS directive already puts down certain minimum principles for traditional media? AVMS directive has been very distinctive in regulating only television-like services. Is platform-providing such a service? Should it be regulated by AVMS directive, or rather by the E-Commerce Directive? By providing for video-sharing platforms in the AVMS directive, what is the message conveyed for other platform providers, such as auction sites, blogger-sites, social networks?

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The Political Space of Entertainment

Convener:

Norbert Merkovity
Department ofPolitical Science, University of Szeged, Hungary

Description:

Over the past several years political actors have find routes to the cultural public sphere, where the logic of popular culture prevails. However, if we make distinction between the cultural and political public sphere as Gripsrud et al. (2010) propose then we have to accept that actors of cultural public sphere can have political issues, too. We know that if politician acts as a product of cultural industry then the final result could end in a celebrity politician, who a) was celebrity before its political career and it will use this status to build reputation among the electorate (see for instance the career of Ronald Reagan, Donald Trump in the US or Beppe Grillo in Europe), or b) the politician will use the spotlight of other celebrities to benefit something from their popularity (see Barack Obama in US or Tony Blair, David Cameron in Europe). Elements of popular culture will appear in both cases (Street 2004: 437–438). However, many non-political actors will have their own intention to share their view regarding the political issues. This panel will discuss these actors. Non-political actors could be famous persons, who will 1) express their political views beside their usual activity (e.g. Hollywood actors during US Presidential Elections), or 2) show their political standpoints in their usual activity (e.g. musicians and/or singers in their songs). There is a third option, and it will open the ‘space’ even more for this topic, the politics and political affair could appear in sci-fi, somewhere “…in a galaxy far, far away…”. This last option gives the opportunity to ‘build’ new political relations and to test the basics of consensus and war between real and fictional species.

Anyhow, the political space of entertainment is not widely recognised by European scholars, but it has relevance, because masses of people get basic (and not so basic) knowledge of the political events, the party systems, the state and democracy, the international relations, etc. from these interviews, lyrics or fictional universes.

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The Politics of (No)Space: (Re)Mediatizing Solidarity Politics

Convener:

Robert Imre
University of Tampere, Finnland

Description:

Inclusive of Favelas, far-right populist discourses, and demands of emerging ‘policy communities’ (such as education, environment, health, social welfare advocates) the initial detachment from physical space by movements for socio-political change have had a dramatic effect on how these movements enact their various politics. One of the great mistakes analysts make regarding many media-induced social movements is the assumption that there needs to be a spatial attachment. For example, far-right groups can be attached to a space in the physical world about which they seek to argue and contest physical spaces, but before that happens, there needs to be a process of (re)mediatizing: that is, delivering a mediated argument about that real space. This immediately raises a meta-theoretical question about the sign and signifier in the same way that Baudrillard famously sought to raise the question about the 1992 Iraq War. Countering this negative example, we can also raise the issue of attempting to create productive cooperation in physical spaces like Favelas and the media activism used to (re)mediatize that particular space. What is the experience/definition/ set of needs, and so on for dwellers in this particular space, and how can all of this be answered without generating a non-physical media(tized) answer to these questions (Custódio, 2017). This is now in to an era of hyper-representation and moves beyond questioning ‘journalistic professionalism’ or ‘citizen journalism’ dichotomies (Ahva 2016). Some of the main questions here revolve around how solidarity is created, positively, negatively, or even ambiguously, by using the digital space to define the physical space in a kind of philosophical a priori thinking. Is it no longer possible to have organically developed solidarity without a digital presence? Must we define the various ways we live in physical spaces through digital medium first? And as such is this the advent of a totalized mediatization of solidarity politics?

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