Javnost - The Public, Vol. 17 - 2010, No. 1
Information Policy and the Public Sphere EU Communications and the Promises of Dialogue and Transparency
Taking EU communications as a case study this article deals with the relationship between communication activities of public authorities and the public sphere. Traditional theories of the public sphere regard government communications as an unwelcome intervention that distorts free and open debates. This article argues that public relations activities of governments should be analysed as being part of the implementation of an information policy that also comprises citizen’s rights of access to documents and information. Whether information policy distorts or supports free deliberation is an empirical question that is answered by looking at the information policy of the European Commission since the year 2000. In response to the challenge of communicating Europe to largely disinterested audiences, the European Commission has reformed its communications in order to foster a European public sphere through enhancing the transparency of European governance and starting a dialogue with the citizens. The study shows that the EU fails on its promise of dialogue and that transparency could still be improved. The information policy of the Commission aims at normatively acceptable goals while using ineffective means. Information policy does not turn out to be propagandistic but ineffective. Focussing on media relations could make PR more effective in reaching out to the wider public. If journalism functions as its neces- sary corrective and citizens are empowered through strong rights of access to information, than information policy could contribute to a vivid transnational public sphere.
A Theoretical and Analytical Framework Toward Networked Communities: A Case of the Electronic Community Information Commons
The essay builds a theoretical framework toward the electronic information commons that can bridge virtually and physically networked communities. Relying on Habermas’ theory of communicative action, first, the essay maps out community as a unit of democracy in a civil society context through which it provides a meta theoretical framework to understand a conceptual framework of the electronic community information commons from such theoretical perspectives as the public sphere, social capital, and networked communities. Then, the essay proposes an analytical framework that enables scholars and researchers alike to examine how community computer networks or virtual communities contribute to physical communities and vice versa through potential research agenda and questions. Theoretical, methodological, and practical issues are discussed.
As the digital switchover is the result of the dynamic interplay between economic, social and political interests, this article reflects on the role of all stakeholders involved in the switch to digital television services. It aims to discuss the trade-off between public and private policy interests focussing on strategies for preparing the transition process and the digital take-off as well as on future opportunities that become available in the spectrum (digital dividend). Based on a comparative study amongst three European countries, it is demonstrated that government has played an important role in the development of the digital television landscape in the past, and it is argued why policy makers should continue to do this in the future. Instead of a solely market-driven approach, a strong plea is made for a better understanding of stakeholders’ expectations in deploying public policies and business strategies concerning the digitised media landscape.
Critical Interpretation of Hybridisation in Korean Cinema: Does the Local Film Industry Create “The Third Space”?
This paper examines the fundamental assumptions of the concept of cultural hybridity in understanding the swift growth of Korean popular culture, especially films. It investigates whether hybridity, as a cultural globalization perspective, has generated new possible cultures, which are free from western dominance, by analyzing the hybridised Korean fi lms. Unlike previous studies emphasising the crucial role of hybridisation in creating the third space, this paper empirically argues that the hybridisation process of the local popular culture is heavily infl uenced by Western norms and formats, and newly created local cultural products are rather representing Western culture, instead of unique local culture. It fi nally discusses the reasons why hybridity cannot adequately explain local cultures and identify some issues we have to consider in employing hybridity in interpreting globalisation.
Journalists working in Brussels are commonly perceived as different from traditional foreign correspondents. However, their isolation from their home offices also renders them distinct from domestic political journalists. Consequently, studies of Brussels correspondents have come up with their own viable types of “political journalism in Brussels.” With the ongoing enlargement of the European Union – and a growing number of post-communist new member states – we need to re-define current typologies of Brussels journalism. Prior findings indicate that post-communist journalists have not yet evolved a fixed set of professional roles, norms and values. Thus, their work in Brussels may be characterised by a different approach towards correspondent journalism. As part of a study on Brussels correspondents, role conceptions of correspondents from post-communist new member states were examined. In-depth, semi-structured interviews with 14 journalists from different new member states show that explicative, objective and rapid information-gathering are the most important constituents of political journalism in Brussels. As a consequence of the highly-complex subject matter of EU reporting and declining support from home offices, journalists see it as their highest goal to explain the EU and make the EU decision-making process in Brussels better understood. Along this line, other forms of political journalism, such as investigative and critical reporting, are neglected.