CfP: International workshop ‘Media Systems under Pressure’ 18 May 2018, University of Amsterdam

Media Systems under Pressure: Recent Developments in Media Freedom in Central and Eastern Europe

18 May 2018, University of Amsterdam

Organisers: Sudha Rajagopalan, University of Amsterdam; Mariëlle Wijermars, University of Helsinki

Abstract deadline: 18 March 2018

Across Central and Eastern Europe, media systems are increasingly under pressure. The developments that place restrictions on the freedom of media, or threaten to do so in the near future, take various forms. On the one hand, (semi-)authoritarian regimes in, e.g., Russia strengthen their hold over media industries. Promoted under the banner of protecting national values and political stability, neoconservative tendencies are also being translated into strict media regulation in EU members states, such as Hungary and Poland. On the other hand, the reliability of news and information providers has been significantly compromised in recent years as a result of fake news and Russian disinformation campaigns. At the same time, European responses to these threats equally place pressure on the protection of fundamental human rights, such as the right to information, media freedom and privacy. To some extent, freedom of speech and information is perceived as a potential threat to national security (e.g., spread of extremist ideology, terrorism) or societal values (e.g., information concerning abortion, LGBT rights, pornography)

The workshop aims to bring together international scholars and media professionals to discuss the following questions: How can we formulate effective responses to these manifold challenges that media systems in Central and Eastern Europe face today? To what extent are these developments country or region specific, or should they be seen as part of wider European and global trends? What is the role of governments, media, NGOs, and activists in shaping media and information spheres in the region (in both a negative and positive sense)?

We invite contributions from academics and media professionals that explore, among others, the following topics:

  • Neoconservatism and media regulation
  • Policy responses to fake news, disinformation, ‘information warfare’
  • The impact of anti-terrorism measures on media freedom and privacy
  • Conservative activism
  • Progressive activism

To apply, please send a 300 word abstract and brief biographical statement to Mariëlle Wijermars (marielle.wijermars[at] by 18 March 2018. The organisers intend to publish revised versions of selected papers as part of a special issue.

This workshop is organized by ARTES research group ‘Participatory Cultures: Post-Socialist New Media Practices’ (University of Amsterdam), the Center for Ukrainian Cultural Studies (University of Amsterdam) and the ‘Russian Media Lab: Freedom of Speech and Critical Journalism in Russia’ project (Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki).

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