Javnost - The Public, Vol. 20 - 2013, No. 3
The Critical Linkage between Online and Offline Media: An Approach to Researching the Conditions of Issue Spill-over
In this article we argue that it is pressing to study the “hybrid media system” at the intersection of online and offline communication and its potential for agenda building. The topic is relevant because it is argued that the internet offers new opportunities of public influence for challengers without access to political decision making. Except for single case studies, little is known about the conditions under which these actors succeed. Informed by the research on agenda building we tackle with the mechanisms of online-offline media agenda building and the conditions under which challengers succeed to produce issue spill-over into conventional mass media. We develop a theoretical framework for investigating the linkage between online communication and traditional mass media and discuss how our model translates into empirical research. We conclude that the nature of online networks is critical for spill-over, but also the issue itself and the structure of the political system.
Remote, Elitist, or Non-existent?: The European Public Sphere in the Debates of British Political Elites
This paper looks at how British political elites discuss the European public sphere and citizens’ participation within it. Drawing on 41 in-depth interviews with political elites – including politicians at national and European levels, journalists, political activists, and think-tank professionals – the paper explores interviewees’ understandings of the European public sphere, and their perceptions about its vitality. Our research reveals a great deal of scepticism about the idea of a European public sphere, in part rooted in conventional British Euro-sceptic approaches, and in part fostered by a perception of the remoteness and democratic deficit of the European Union.
Microsoft is the most socially responsible company in the world, followed by Google on rank 2 and The Walt Disney Company on rank 3 – at least according to the perceptions of 47,000 people from 15 countries that participated in a survey conducted by the consultancy firm Reputation Institute. In this paper I take a critical look at Corporate Social Responsibility in media and communication industries. Within the debate on CSR media are often only discussed in regard to their role of raising awareness and enabling public debate about corporate social responsibility. What is missing are theoretical and empirical studies about the corporate social (ir)responsibility of media and communication companies themselves. This paper contributes to overcoming this blind spot. First I systematically describe four different ways of relating profit goals and social gaols of media and communication companies. I argue for a dialectical perspective that considers how profit interests and social responsibilities mutually shape each other. Such a perspective can draw on a critical political economy of media and communication. Based on this approach I take a closer look at Microsoft, Google and The Walt Disney Company and show that their actual practices do not correspond to their reputation. This analysis points at flaws in the concept CSR. I argue that despite these limitations CSR still contains a rational element that can however only be realised by going beyond CSR. I therefore suggest a new concept that turns CSR off its head and places it upon its feet.
This study aims to develop insight into the new media’s struggle against the Mafia in Italy using the Libera Informazione, an anti-Mafia civil society organisation established in 2007, as a case study. The article argues that the endeavours of the Libera Informazione are aimed at creating a public sphere for anti-Mafia entries in the media and subsequently renewing public culture through channels in the constructed public sphere. During this process, communication strategies aim to inform the public at the local and national levels to increase consciousness about the political-criminal nexus and activities of the Mafia groups. Drawing on anthropological, moral, and reformist models of journalism, the author asserts that such a struggle is attainable in the long run, as it requires a consistent effort and inspiration, which already exist in the struggle of anti-Mafia media establishments against the Mafia in Italy.
The True Finns Identity Politics and Populist Leadership on the Threshold of The Party’s Electoral Triumph
In the Finnish general elections of 2011 the nationalist-populist True Finns Party gained a ground-breaking victory: its parliamentary group of 5 members grew to 39 members. This article examines the party’s leader and co-founder Timo Soini’s populist leadership in the context of the Nordic consensual multiparty system. The focus is on the direct communication Soini targeted to the party’s (possible) supporters in his Internet blog and columns in the party’s paper. Applying populist strategies in the circumstances of a Finnish political reality called for balance on several fronts. First, Soini’s rhetoric balanced the dynamics of rousing the troops to the frontlines on the one hand, and integrating them to follow a certain set of behavioural norms and rules for party activities on the other. Although the separation of ‘us’ and ‘them’, typical for populist political strategy, was also substantial in Soini’s argumentation, the ‘other’ was mainly not immigrants but various domestic and European elites. In his leadership, Soini balanced between two central questions. How, on the one hand, could the party be unique and gripping enough to attract support from both formerly passive voters and those who tended to vote for traditional parties? How, on the other hand, to remain respectable enough to suit the taste of the traditionally somewhat moderate Nordic voter?
What James Curran calls the liberal meta-narrative of media history is the standard framework employed in describing the trajectory of the Dutch media. Yet much evidence indicates that throughout the twentieth century the Dutch media have more commonly served elite interests than the public interest. Initially the media were subservient to politics, later the market became dominant. This paper criticises the liberal reading of Dutch media history and argues for the viability of a radical reading. After a review of historiographical issues, a critical history of the Dutch media from the thirties onwards is presented, with a focus on the period since the sixties.