Monthly Archives: February 2018

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).

CfP Russian Media Lab stream at the 18th Annual Aleksanteri Conference, 24-26 October 2018

Media Innovation, Horizontal Networks and Digital Entrepreneurship in Russia and Beyond: Avenues for Strengthening Freedom of Speech and Journalistic Practices?

Deadline: 14 May 2018

The Russian Media Lab is organising its concluding conference within the framework of this year’s Aleksanteri Conference. For this thematic stream, entitled “Media Innovation, Horizontal Networks and Digital Entrepreneurship in Russia and Beyond: Avenues for Strengthening Freedom of Speech and Journalistic Practices?”, we invite submissions of panels, roundtables and individual papers that explore emerging (digital) media practices in relation to the question of freedom of expression and independent journalism. In addition to studies of Russia, we look forward to receiving proposals examining Central and Eastern Europe, as well as comparative studies.

Digital services are one of the most flourishing areas of Russia’s media economy, creating opportunities for new entrepreneurial and creative networks to emerge. As seen from the viewpoint of the latest media developments, many Russian regions are invigorated in the communication sphere through innovative online publishing, and hyper- and trans-local new media practices of social engagement and urban culture. At the same time, the Russian government continues to tighten its grip on online communications, as well as on the traditional media sphere.

With these processes in mind, we invite proposals that examine to what extent novel digital practices enable new areas for freedom of expression and independent journalism to emerge? To what extent is Russia (dis)similar to other countries, including many Western democracies, currently experiencing shifts in the organization of their media landscapes, where creative initiatives and critical thinking find new forms of expression through multifaceted networks of grass-roots activism and creativity combined with collaborative media and small scale entrepreneurship? How can these emerging practices be safeguarded from the tightening grip of the state’s regulation of the online sphere?

To submit a proposal, please use the general Aleksanteri Conference submission form and indicate you would like to be considered for inclusion in the Russian Media Lab thematic stream. Expressing your interest to be included in the stream will not affect the chances of your paper or panel proposal being accepted for the Aleksanteri Conference.

The best contributions will be invited to submit revised versions of their paper for publication as part of a special issue.