International conference: #CommRightsHelsinki

The rights-based perspective on ethical and political questions presented by the new digital media has recently regained attention in academic and political debates. This conference will address the interplay of national and global (universal and specific) characteristics of communication rights: What are some definitions of communication rights? Who are the policy and other actors defining these rights? What are current core issues or cases that pertain to communication rights?

The international conference, Communication Rights in the Digital Age (#CommRightsHelsinki) 24-25 October 2019, was organized by the Helsinki Media Policy Research Group, the University of Helsinki, the ECREA Communication Law and Policy Section and the Euromedia Research Group, and supported by the IAMCR Communication Policy & Technology Section. Six of the group’s researchers presented their work in the conference.

The opening panel asked: What rights, whose rights, and who cares?

Communication rights as concept has no fixed meaning. The notion can refer not only to existing legally binding norms but also more broadly to normative principles against which real-world developments are assessed. There is no consensus on what kinds of institutions are needed to uphold and enforce communication rights in the non-territorial, regulation-averse, and rapidly changing media environment. Besides the actions of states, the realisation of communication rights is now increasingly impacted by the actions of global multinational corporations, activists, and users themselves.

It’s time to ask: what and whose rights – and who wants to promote and safeguard them? This theme of the opening panel of the conference was first highlighted by the organizing committee: Karen Donders, Vrije Universiteit Brussel; Marko Milosavljević, University of Ljubljana; Hannu Nieminen, University of Helsinki; Amit Schejter, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel and the Pennsylvania State University, and Josef Trappel, University of Salzburg. A lively debate with the audience on definitions and foci ensued.

The keynote speaker Phil Napoli from Duke University spoke about User Data as Public Resource: A New Approach to Data Property Rights and Social Media Regulation:

HMRG members Kari Karppinen and Minna Horowitz presented their conceptual analysis Dialogical rights as digital rights: Old foundations, new issues,  Marko Ala-Fossi on Net neutrality debate in Finland; and Katja Lehtisaari, with Anette Alén-Savikko, Minna Horowitz & Hannu Nieminen, on Communication for everyone: Communication rights and their differing contexts.

Please find the conference report here and the related podcasts here.

250 Symposium: Right to Know

To mark the 250th anniversary of the 1766 Freedom of Information Act, the University of Helsinki hosts a symposium to discuss the meaning and realization of citizens’ information rights, transparency and openness in contemporary public life.

The Nordic countries are often seen as pioneers in government openness, not only in terms of historical legacy but also contemporary policies, such as open data initiatives. The existing norms and practices of publicity, however, are constantly challenged by social and technological changes. With new media platforms and data leaks, but also new global trends towards secrecy, security and surveillance, tensions around citizens’ information rights keep emerging in public. In science policy, promotion of open science and publishing are also crucial issues today. What does “the right to know” mean, where did it come from, and what are its main threats today?

The keynote speaker of the symposium is Professor Michael Schudson (Columbia University), whose most recent book, The Rise of the Right to Know discusses the emergence of norms and practices associated with openness and transparency in American politics and culture after 1945. Other speakers at the symposium discuss both historical and current interpretations of freedom of thought, publicity and transparency from global, European and Finnish perspectives.

The symposium is organized by the discipline of Media and Communication Studies together with the Open University, University of Helsinki. The symposium is part of the lecture courses “Media structures and policies” and “Introduction to Global Media and Communication”. The language of the symposium is English, except for the final panel discussion, which is in Finnish.

See the program and register at:


Median ja viestinnän tutkimuksen päivät 2016

Helsinki Media Policy Research Group järjestää Median ja viestinnän tutkimuksen päivillä Viestintäpolitiikan ja mediatalouden työryhmän. MEVI2016 järjestetään 8. – 9.4.2016 ammattikorkeakoulu Arcadassa Helsingissä. Päivien teemana on Luottamus – Förtroende.

Työryhmässä käsiteltäviä teemoja ovat muun muassa viestintäpolitiikan vaikutus median kehitykseen, liiketoimintamallien muutokset sekä yleisösuhteen muutosten tuomat uudistustarpeet. Työryhmässä pohditaan esimerkiksi, mikä on valtion ja viestintäpolitiikan rooli suhteessa media-alan tulevaisuuteen ja haasteisiin. Ryhmässä tarkastellaan myös viestintäpolitiikan sekä yleisen talous- ja kilpailupolitiikan vuorovaikutusta kansallisella tasolla sekä toisaalta kansallisen viestintäpolitiikan rajallisuutta nykyisessä mediamaailmassa.

Kenen etuja kansallinen viestintäpolitiikka edistää – ja ovatko sen tavoitteet ja painotukset muuttumassa? Mikä on luottamuksen rooli viestintäpolitiikassa? Entä miten media puhuu viestintäpolitiikasta ja alan taloudesta? Millaisia muutoksia mediasisältöjen tuotannon, jakelun ja kulutuksen digitalisoituminen merkitsee mediayhtiöiden liiketoimintamalleille? Miten verkossa voi tehdä tulosta journalismilla? Miten mainonta muuttuu?

Sekä suomalaisia että kansainvälisiä viestintäpolitiikan ja mediatalouden kysymyksiä käsittelevät esitykset, tapaustutkimuksista teoreettisiin puheenvuoroihin, ovat tervetulleita. Työryhmän vetäjinä toimivat yliopistonlehtori ja dosentti Marko Ala-Fossi Tampereen yliopistosta ja tutkijatohtori Katja Lehtisaari Helsingin yliopistosta.

Haluatko pitää esitelmän Median ja viestinnän tutkimuksen päivillä 8.–9.4. 2016? Lähetä otsikoitu, noin 250 sanan abstrakti 20. tammikuuta 2016 mennessä Marko Ala-Fossille (Marko.Ala-Fossi(at) ja Katja Lehtisaarelle (katja.lehtisaari(at)

Ks. lisää

ECREA 2016 Pre-conference

Together with the Euromedia Research Group, HMRG is organizing a preconference Cleaning the House: Testing Critical Concepts on Communication and Society. The event will take place before the 2016 ECREA conference in Prague on November 8-9.

The aim of the preconference is to critically scrutinize contemporary key concepts and fashionable terms in communication research. This could involve identifying these concepts and their status, assessing their usefulness to theoretical development and empirical work, and/or critiquing the theoretical/normative assumptions they carry. The themes will be explored in more detail in the forthcoming Call for Papers, to be published  on February 1, 2016.