conference, symposium

Conference Media against Democracy?

time: 24.04.2014. - 26.04.2014.
place: Zagreb, Croatia
organiser: Kurziv, Kulturtreger, Mama
Conference Media against Democracy? - The Commercialization of Internet and the Crisis of Media is taking place in Goethe Institut, Zagreb, April 24-26.

The public media, journalism and communications are undergoing a turbulent and painful period of restructuring. The joint forces of disruptive technological innovation and economic crisis have pulled the rug under the ailing print and broadcasting media and their production models. Journalism is being undercut by concomittant processes of deskilling and lay-offs. Media reporting is increasingly becoming uniform and reduced to opinionated journalism, agency news and press releases. However, these roots of this process of economic rationalization are not of recent making. Although internet is frequently blamed for undermining the business models, it has in a way only percipitated the fundamental problems of media in contemporary capitalist democracies that have been set in motion with growing concentration of media ownership and commodfication of media content in the decades that predate the internet.

At the same time, the early democratizing promise of the internet to allow everyone to access the broadest public seems to have been eviscerated. In many ways its success proved to be its failure. As it transformed our communication, our everyday, our economies, it failed to displace the dominant operations of social and global power. As the recent revelations of blanket surveillance of citizens had shown, it made everything that has become more democratic become more fragile in the face of power. And we could claim that the same economic forces of concentration, commodification and monopoly that drove the print and broadcasting media into a crisis spiral decades ago are now driving the internet into a similar crisis. The growing economic streamlining the media is foreclosing their democratic premise.

Thus, conference proposes to look at the process of commercialization of internet over the last two decades and the co-extensive and structurally related crisis of media and journalism. On the analytical side the conference proposes to approach the problematic from the framework of political economy of communication, while on the practical side it wants look closer at the future media transformation and media reform in Croatia. To discuss this it will bring together prominent scholars, media professionals, political activists and policy makers.

Thursday, April 24
17:00 - 18:45 :: Surveying the Croatian Media Landscape
Milan Žiković, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia
Nada Švob-Đokić, Institute for International Relations and Development
Helena Popović, Faculty of Political Science, Unversity of Zagreb
19:00 :: evening lecture :: Commodification of Internet
Des Freedman, Goldsmiths, University of London

Friday, April 25
11:00 - 12:45 :: Economic Transformation of the Global Internet
Marisol Sandoval, City University of London
Marcell Mars, Multimedia Institute
13:00 - 14:45 :: Control of the Infospace - Democratic Failures of the
Social Media
Sebastian Savignani, University of Jena
Rasmus Fleischer
lunch break
17:00 - 18:45 :: Reforming the Media
Des Freedman, Goldsmiths, University of London
Mirjana Rakić (TBC), Croatian Council for Electronic Media
Andrea Zlatar Violić (TBC), Minister of Culture
19:00 :: evening lecture: Communication, Feminism, Labor
Leopoldina Fortunati, University of Udine

Saturday, April 26
11:00 - 12:45 :: Transformations of Traditional Media (session in Croatian with English interpretation)
Rüdiger Rossig, independent journalist
Ladislav Tomičić, journalist and editor
Vladimir Matijanić (TBC), journalist
13:00 - 14:45 :: The Future of Media Work
Leopoldina Fortunati, University of Udine
Slavica Lukić (TBC), journalist
Brankica Petković, Peace Institute
lunch break
17:00 - 18:45 :: The Future of Research Journalism
Sebastian Mondial, Offshore leaks
Drago Hedl, journalist

19:00 :: evening lecture: Media, Internet, Democracy
Robert McChesney (via Skype), University of Illinois - Urbana
The conference is organized by Multimedia Institute, Kurziv and Kulturtreger, with the help of Berliner Gazette.
It is organized within the series of events "Media of Subjection, Media of Emancipation" of the platform Aesthetic Education Expanded, a collaborative platform of Berliner Gazette, Kontrapunkt,, Multimedia Institute and Mute and is supprted by programme Culture 2007-2013 of the European Union.

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(D.H., 21.04.2014)