Category Archives: Yleinen

Doubly precarious labour of journalists in Russia – Interview with Alexandra Barmina

by Janne Suutarinen & Olga Dovbysh

Young scholars and early career researchers have less opportunities than more experienced ones to talk about their research to general public. Our blog aims to improve this inequality: today we present new format “Interview with young scholar” where we give voice to BA, MA and PhD students. They will talk about their research and ponder about media freedom and independence in Russia.

Alexandra Barmina a sociologist, holding an MA degree from the Central European University. Her work is placed on the intersection of such research fields as labor studies, political sociology, economic sociology, state theory and cultural studies.

In October 2018, Barmina presented her study “Labor of Independent Journalists in Russia: Doubly Precarious Employment?” in the annual Aleksanteri Conference.

What are the main findings of your research?

Basically, the finding of this research is that the labour of independent journalists in Russia is precarious – not only in terms of the formal foundations of their employment as it is usually discussed in theory but also because of the political system and regime that exists in Russia, which puts some constraints on their work.

The political dimension of precarity, which I introduce, is identified by journalists as the dominant kind of insecurity they face during their daily work. Whereas the economic dimension of precarity, which in theory is generally considered the most important one, tends to be acknowledge and the political precarity neglected. It is possible that I’m not aware of this theory.

The thing is that labour relations are mostly investigated by Marxist scholars who aim to see how the neoliberal economic regime impacts employment and workers. As far as I know, in labour studies there are not many voices taking into consideration the political dimension and the regime’s impact on individual workers. Journalists as cultural or creative workers are in the Western academia largely investigated in the material perspective.

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CfP – ‘Media Control as a Source of Political Power in Central and Eastern Europe’

                           

Workshop at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki organized by the Russian Media Lab in collaboration with the Research Centre for East European Studies at the University of Bremen

Helsinki, 02 – 03 September 2019

We invite proposals for papers to be discussed at an intensive two-day workshop on “Media control as source of political power in Central and Eastern Europe” at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki on 02 – 03 September 2019. The workshop will involve around 15 scholars, and early-career researchers are especially encouraged to apply. Travel expenses and accommodation costs of invited participants will be covered by the organisers.

The workshop aims to bring together approaches from political science, media studies and other relevant academic disciplines to get a more comprehensive picture of the role of media control in consolidating and expanding political power in authoritarian regimes and in “backsliding” democracies. The focus of the workshop will equally be on the interplay of media and political actors and on the effect of this relationship on regime dynamics.

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New issue for Studies in Russian, Eurasian and Central European New Media

Russian Media Lab proudly announces the publication of new issue for Studies in Russian, Eurasian and Central European New Media (www.digitalicons.org). The issue is guest edited by RML’s researchers Saara Ratilainen and Mariëlle Wijermars and by Justin Wilmes.

Issue 19: ‘Women and Tech in the Post-socialist Context: Intelligence, Creativity, Transgression’

Since October 2017, the #MeToo campaign has raised awareness of sexual discrimination against women all over the world and showed that participation on digital platforms can and will drive change.

This special issue, in part inspired by the #MeToo movement, is devoted entirely to a feminist perspective on digital media and communication technologies. It wishes to develop our understanding of (hyper)mediated feminisms in post-socialist spaces and to re-connect with gender studies and feminist theory as productive methodological frameworks of digital media studies. Employing a gender and feminist studies approach will also help to reframe and update the current understanding of Russian, Eurasian and Central European new media within the global context of digital information flows and technological development. The question of gender equality is not specific to any country, culture, or geographical context. However, the ways in which gender is discussed and the degree to which gender equality is a political, social or theoretical concern offers an important window to understanding geographically and culturally localized processes.

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Call for papers “Politics of e-Heritage: Production and regulation of digital memory in Eastern Europe and Russia”

                

Second joint workshop between the Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe, the Aleksanteri Institute – University of Helsinki and CEES University of Glasgow
Venue: Marburg, Germany
Time: 3-4 June 2019

In the last decade, there has been increasing interest in digital technologies and their influence on the production of memory, history and heritage not only within academic research, but also in politics, especially in Eastern Europe and Russia. The tendency toward selective history, heritage and memory politics in the region manifests itself more and more in the digital sphere. Politicians decide on what will be remembered and how. These decisions also influence the decision on what will be digitised and how. Whose heritage will be secured by digitisation and whose will not? Simultaneously, these decisions also aim to regulate the accessibility of digitised heritage. Which materials or collections will be accessible, and which will not? Moreover, the types of users are regulated through these politics.

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New legislation on ‘fake news’ on the Internet can be adopted in Russia – Scholar’s comment from Jussi Lassila

by Janne Suutarinen & Olga Dovbysh

On 24 January 2019 The State Duma approved after the first reading two legislation bills to toughen penalties for disseminating certain information on the Internet. New legislation on banning false news and insulting authorities on the Internet, so-called “Klishas bills” (after the name of Andrey Klishas, author of the initiative), has already been called “scandalous” since they suggest monetary penalties and even imprisonment for the manifestation of “disrespect toward the authorities” on the Internet.

Russian Media Lab’s researcher Dr. Jussi Lassila thinks that the second and the third readings will probably make only cosmetic changes unless Putin wants to turn the tables. Below he gives his opinion on this initiative.  Continue reading

International Mobility through Media Lab’s Network

by Saara Ratilainen

Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies (Jomec) hosted one of Russian Media Lab researchers, Dr. Saara Ratilainen, as a visiting academic from September to December 2018. This is her account of international exchange facilitated through the Russian Media Lab’s network.

My visit took place at an exciting time, as in the start of the academic year Jomec moved from an early 20th century neoclassical building located at the university campus off the city centre into a shiny new building by the Cardiff central railway station. From the outset, the state-of-the-art glass and steel high-rise, built as part of the city center’s development, was designed for new overlaps between industry and academic worlds. The students, teachers and researchers at Jomec are to work alongside and share facilities with the media broadcaster BBC Cumry/Wales.

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Serious journalism is far from self-evident – Interview with prof. Elena Vartanova

“The freedom of press as an ideological construct is an ideal which accountable media should pursue.”

by Katja Lehtisaari & Janne Suutarinen

Elena Vartanova is Full Professor, Dean and Chair in Media Theory and Economics at the Faculty of Journalism, in Lomosonov Moscow State University. Her extensive research focuses on Russian media system, media economics, media theory and journalism in Russia.

Russian Media Lab’s researcher, Doctor of Social Sciences Katja Lehtisaari interviewed professor Vartanova in October 2017. This piece has not been published before, and it has been afterwards completed with more recent viewpoints and provides comparisons to the situation with Russian media one year ago.

How would you describe the greatest challenges and problems at the moment in the Russian media industry?

Vartanova thinks the problems of the Russian media industry, as a particular branch of economy, are similar to what exist also outside of Russia. The cash flows and new investments are getting fewer, and the changing market is still very unstable.

“The distribution of advertising is changing and the internet as a platform is challenging the traditional distribution of advertising. The newspapers’ income for advertising has dramatically decreased in recent years. This is relevant not only for the national press, but also for the regional press.”

The transform in media markets has struck also for example magazines, as well as produced shifts in the overall habbits of media consumers. The general monthly audience of Yandex, Russia’s most popular internet search engine, topped the numbers of ‘Pervyi kanal’ (Channel 1), the leader of the country’s top three main television channels in 2012.To Vartanova, this is an indicator of the growing importance of advertising.

The second challenge of Russian media industry would be legislative one, Vartanova says. Continue reading

Lassila’s brief report on the 50th ASEEES Convention in Boston

by Jussi Lassila

“All in all, Boston was definitely worth visiting this year.”

The annual ASEEES (Association for Slavic, East European & Eurasian Studies) Convention was held this year in Boston on 6–9 December. This was the 50th convention that has been organised while ASEEES celebrated its 70th anniversary. More than 650 panels, roundtables and group meetings on all disciplines related to the field within four days resulted as approximately 45 parallel sessions throughout the convention. Yet, all these events with hundreds of participants found their place almost without notice in the huge Marriot Copley conference hotel in the center of Boston. For an individual participant it was, of course, rather difficult to choose an interesting one from the number of compelling panel descriptions even with a relatively strict thematic focus. I picked up those that discussed Russiaʼs political development, the regimeʼs survival strategies, civil society prospects, political communication and propaganda as well as foreign policy.

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Media and Religion: fighting for power or seeking common good? – Interview with Victor Khroul

by Janne Suutarinen

“Unfortunately, ‘zone of accordance’ or ‘zone of tolerance’ in the terms of religion dialogue in Russia seems to be moving away more and more from the present time.”

Associate professor Victor Khroul (Moscow State University, Journalism Faculty) has extensively studied media and religion in Russia. He is the author of the book Religion and Media in Russia: Functional and Ethical Perspectives (2012) and currently he is researching religious factor in mass communication with focus on religious content in the texts in the net.

Why did this topic spark your interest?

Religion belongs to maybe the deepest level of personal understanding of the world and personal convictions. For many, it is the core of identity. Therefore, I found interesting to study the role of media in the formation of religious identity in religious practice.

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Russian Media Lab researchers at two local media events in St. Petersburg

by Olga Dovbysh

Russian Media Lab researcher Olga Dovbysh together with RML’s partner Kamilla Nigmatullina moderated a roundtable “Local media as strategic resource of authorities” at St. Petersburg State University on 23 November.

Dovbysh shared her observations on how authorities in Russia’s towns use local groups on social network sites to communicate with citizens, get information on local events and control local media. Vladimir Kozlov, professor from South Federal University (Rostov-on-Don), mentioned that today both local media and authorities are forced to go digital and communicate in digital space.

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