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Javnost - The Public, Vol. 18 - 2011, No. 2

, pages: 5-18

It was a loss for Western democracies that wireless transmission technologies, which were discovered and invented from around 1900, became broadcasting and not something more democratic. Transmission acquired a centralised structure, an expert-oriented journalistic ethics, and a relatively passive domestic culture of reception. This was good, but not good enough. In strictly technical terms, the new transmission technologies could have been constructed as a participatory public platform. Transmission could have become an everyday realisation of John Dewey’s democratic vision, but it ended up as one-way media in the spirit of Walter Lippmann. Much has happened in radio and television since then; there has been a slow and determined increase in audience activity and user-generated content from the 1990s, and television has been rejuvenated with reality TV and talent shows, and other things. However, transmission still does not support participatory communication to the extent that it could technically have done. This article critiques the Western broadcast media industry and its scholars for being too complacent about radical change in a participatory direction. By appealing to the political energies of the “Lippmann-Dewey debate,” the article pits the dominant paradigm of broadcasting against a participatory communication ethics that has not yet had a chance to prove itself technologically and socially. It deals with three interrelated problems of the broadcast public: (1) an elitist rationale for the construction of a oneway technological infrastructure, (2) a lack of social equality between professionals and amateurs, and (3) a commercial rhetoric of the media empowered citizen. If these three problems were solved or at least countered more robustly by a participatory communication ethics, the live transmission of sounds and images might fi nally realise their public potential.

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, , pages: 19-36

Although participatory journalism involves publishing content created by users, editorial influence is an important aspect of participatory online media. Editors shape the conditions under which user generated content is produced, the context of publication and the perceived prominence of the content. It is still unclear how this influence manifests itself, and how it can be related to the discussion about participatory media’s potential for revitalising democracy. In this paper, three online news media in Sweden are analysed comparatively: Sourze – the first Swedish participatory newspaper; Newsmill – a social media focusing on news and debate; and DN – the online version of the largest Swedish morning paper Dagens Nyheter. The question is how participation is affected by editorial influence. The findings suggest that participatory arenas are constrained by the logic of their context of production. People from different categories in society participate on different terms. Furthermore, editors influence the agenda by suggesting topics, and by rewarding articles that follow their suggestions. These fi ndings do not challenge assumptions about participatory newspapers as more accessible channels for citizens and therefore interesting as possible means of allowing a more democratically involved citizenry, but it challenges assumptions about freedom from constraints related to traditional mass media, such as agenda setting, gate-keeping and media logic.

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, , pages: 37-52

The article analyses formative texts of public journalism, written in the USA in the 1990s, by constructing comparisons to adult education. The article initially introduces the rationale of paralleling public journalism with adult education by discussing the congruence of aims, methods, and definitions of professional roles between public journalism and American pragmatist adult education. The authors use the methods of intellectual history to analyse the intervention in the public conduct of citizens, which the leading early proponents of public journalism, Jay Rosen and Davis Merritt, constructed. The article demonstrates that Rosen and Merritt’s idea of intervention consists of two distinct elements. First, Rosen and Merritt urge journalists to animate social association and thus create prerequisites for citizens to recognise their public and political agency. Second, they suggest journalists to promote inclusive and solution-oriented public discussion among the citizenry. Adult education recognises both elements, yet the purpose Rosen and Merritt articulate for intervention is abstract and instrumental, compared to adult educational purposes, and their view on citizen empowerment is more restricted. The abstract ideal of public life, as opposed to the emancipation of persons, is at the centre of Rosen and Merritt’s argument.

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, pages: 53-76

This paper analyses the main features and power factors of the initial stage of television globalisation in mainland China. Based on document researches in three Chinese television stations of different administrative levels and in-depth interviews with television managers, producers and scholars, it argues that China’s television was internationalised between 1978 and 1991. Television internationalisation was defined as a process driven by the partystate of adopting and reinventing the television cultural forms that were spreading internationally in order to build up national media and dominant ideologies in China. The argument is in three parts. I show first how the party-state relaxed its extreme anti-foreign stance in Chinese television as part of the national modernisation project within a modified party control system. Secondly, I show how these policies introduced international television flows and the transformation of some key aspects of television activities, in particular management practices, production values and program content. Thirdly, I show how the party state and its relations with Western states and international organisations were the primary influence on Chinese television, despite the rising influence of technologies, market forces and liberal intellectuals during the 1980s.

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, pages: 77-86

As noted elsewhere (Babe 2009, 161-73), information is inherently dialectical. Reflection upon the seminal work of physicist Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, however, reveals that information is doubly dialectical. The first part of this article explains and justifies this claim. The second part of the article catalogues various reductionist (non-dialectical) stances toward information, and draws out some of their implications. Confusions, and indeed grievous errors, result from such incompleteness. Finally, the communication theories of Harold Innis and Marshall McLuhan are reviewed briefly as exemplars in ways of forwarding information’s double dialectic.

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, pages: 87 - 100

This article examines U.S. policy shaping of personal information flow in its historical trajectory. The analysis newly draws on the notion of the marketplace ideal in privacy debate and analyses a regulatory continuum that an online information protection regime is the product of active formulation of a policy principle. Proxy regulation that attributes the function of privacy protection to discrete commercial domains is analysed in analogy with the diversity principle of broadcasting. Alternative Internet policy models are discussed beyond the oversimplified dichotomy between market and government. In a critique of the Federal Trade Commission’s latest proposal of “Do Not Track List,” a thesis is advanced to encourage a simplified user interface with a forceful measure that can intervene in the marketplace.

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