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Session Overview
RN18_07a_IC_RT_2: ROUNDTABLE: Media in Society and Politics
Thursday, 31/Aug/2017:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Thomas Allmer, University of Stirling
Location: Intercontinental - Aphrodite II
Athenaeum Intercontinental Hotel Syngrou Avenue 89-93 Athens, Greece Floor: Lobby Level

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Online Opposition to Immigration: how extremism are challenging the European Public Sphere

Dario Lucchesi

University of Padua, Italy

An outcome of Refugee Crisis is the deterioration of the quality of the public sphere and a weakening of control over misinformation and populism. This is especially true considering social media as spaces of protest and discrimination against refugees and asylum seekers. Social Network Sites (SNS) represent specific spaces of public opinion, called third places, which are necessary for the construction and diffusion of public discourses. The contemporary debate defined cyberghettos (Dahlgren 2005; Papacharissi 2004) those closed cyberspaces where some processes of destabilization of political discourse are characterized by conflict and hate. In this ambit, SNS play a central role into the construction of migrants’ representation and increased forms of discriminations and hostility.

This contribution presents an analysis of 3 Italian Facebook pages where users post comments towards migrants to identify the main forms of communication and discursive genres that are employed in constructing representations of the Refugee Crisis. A critical Discourse Analysis of comments will be carried out to examine the role of users in disseminating intolerance and racism focusing on the relationship between user-generated contents and arguments, rhetorics and political discourses of the new and old populism in the online public sphere.

Forced migrations have led to 3 different tensions: an internal one against migrants, one directed to how Italy is handling migrant emergency and a third one destined to change the shape of EU. These tensions are analyzed within daily comments: the outcome could be a closed public sphere that strengthens consensus towards policies that support closing borders and spread the hate speech online.

The viralization of politics: Investigating the link between candidates’ Facebook performance and electoral success

Marton Bene

MTA TK, Hungary

This study investigates whether the number of average shares of posts on SMD candidates’ Facebook pages during election campaign influences the personal vote they gain. Politicians’ contents on Facebook can achieve the wider Facebook public only if they are shared by their followers. The distribution logic of networked media logic is virality (see, Klinger – Svensson, 2014): being widely shared is a requisite for being successful on social media. However, one can raise the question of whether wider visibility of politicians’ message on Facebook can have actual political effect on candidates’ performance. The database contains all Facebook posts of three most voted candidates owing Facebook pages from all single-member districts posted during the last two weeks of Hungarian parliamentary election campaign of 2014. The results show that the average number of shares per posts on candidates’ Facebook pages is positively associated with the shares of votes after controlling for the vote share of the candidate’ party on list in the districts as well as the age, gender, local political position and party leadership position of candidates.

Indicators of Efectiveness, Impact and Return in Online Campaingns for Traffic Institution Social Media

Alberto Fernandez, Igor Sadaba, Angel Gordo, Sergio D'Antonio, Cesar Rendueles

Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

Online campaigns allow and ease access to certain aggregates or risk groups that are not easily attainable through analogical or conventional means. Also, these new social media ease the use of certain techniques such as digital marketing gamification, segmentation of audiences or impact measures for such campaigns. Through a social network analysis of the two main channels of DGT (Traffic Public Institution) on Facebook and Twitter have been mapped and diagnosed those types of communities (influencers and bridge communities) that accompany and heed publications from mentioned institution in social networks. As a result from a series of in-depth interviews, at first to community managers (expert programmers of social networks and writers of online campaigns) and, then to a particular group of risk (repeat offenders). A series of digital strategic lines of communication intervention was proposed. Documentary and empirical analyses performed allow for complex design specific targets at lower cost and more effective campaigns. After obtaining some basic ideas for campaigns online awareness on road safety (DGT), it has been chosen to developing a specific model of online campaign that takes account of all the technological and methodological innovations that social networks currently allow.

The popular meaning-making of media in a political crisis: the Ukraine crisis and Baltic Russian-speakers

Jānis Juzefovičs, Triin Vihalemm

University of Tartu, Estonia

Transnationalism is conceptualised as a condition where people´s norms and interactions are configured by multiple socio–political and economic systems. This paper analyses transnationalism as a media-related phenomenon, based on the example of Russian-speaking audiences in Estonia and Latvia. Baltic Russian-speaking audiences have a geo-politically plural media repertoire, and due to extensive Russian media following, they live mentally in two societies. On the base of focus-group studies, the authors analyse Russian-speakers’ understandings of the media system and news interpretation strategies to unravel the geopolitical and channel-specific systemic bias during the Ukraine crisis. The authors use the approach of the conceptualisation of first- and second-order observers introduced by Niklas Luhmann. The audience members taking the position of first-order observers (i.e. assuming news messages to be transparent reflections of an external “real world”) used authenticity and territorialisation (i.e. messengers’ physical proximity) as meaning-making strategies. The search for authenticity motivates them to maintain a plural media repertoire. The audience members who held to the ideal of neutral, arbitrary journalism practices for the sake of public interests took the position of second-order observers (i.e. conceiving news texts as journalistic constructions). These audience members were more confused as media consumers and demotivated in keeping the plural media repertoire in the context of the political crisis. The implications of the long-term media war on transnational (civic) identities will be discussed.

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