ECREA 2012 Pre-Conference

Imposing Freedoms:  The role of copyright, privacy and censorship governance in the re/definition of rights in digital media

Istanbul, October 23, 2012


This event was co-organised by the Media Governance and Industries Research Lab of the Department of Communication at the University of Vienna with the:

  • ECREA Communication Law and Policy Section

  • IAMCR Communication Policy and Technology (CP&T) and Law Sections
ICA Communication Law and Policy Division

It was hosted by the Plato College of Higher Education, Istanbul.

Final Conference Programme (PDF)

Pre-Conference Location

Plato College of Higher Education
Ayvansaray Caddesi No 33 
Balat, Istanbul

Plato College of Higher Education has campuses in Balat and in Taksim. Both campuses are located in areas of Istanbul which stand out in terms of their cultural and social richness. 

Plato College of Higher Education is spreading its roots and becoming more institutionalised in the “street campus” which it is developing in one of the oldest areas of settlement of the historical peninsula: Balat. 

Participants can easily reach all central locations of Istanbul by public transportation which runs from just outside the entrance of the campus. Beyoglu/Taksim, which is Istanbul’s most dynamic location in terms of the cultural, arts and entertainment scene, is only 10 minutes away from the Balat Campus.  

The Pre-Conference venue on Google Maps.

Call for Papers

In the era of digital, global, around-the-clock communications, changes in the practices and principles in the production, distribution and consumption of the media raise pressing questions for media governance. Established values in communication regulation – from individual liberties to the public interest, and from state security to the free market – continue to coexist, but often stand in conflict with each other, undergoing new interpretations, often in the company of emerging principles. Tactics of control are used by governments, corporations, communities, and citizens. These deal with different subjects and have varying aims and degrees of success, but all influence the ways in which the governance of communicative action develops.

To a great extent, media governance values derive from the Enlightenment project, regulating (or regularising) actions by citizens, states, communities, and/or corporations. Liberty and freedom of expression, self-governance and legitimacy, the rule of law, equality, and universality of rights are understood to provide the underpinnings of national regulatory and legal frameworks. Experience with the effects of legal efforts to operationalise such concepts in the digital environment, however, changed the way in which these values are understood. Individual freedom appears fragile in the context of contemporary control and surveillance methods used by both public and private sector entities.  Existing freedoms as provided by, for example, the right to access information appear to be viewed as imposing inconveniences that must be dealt with through new tactics of control. In many contexts, freedom is increasingly being treated as a ‘transitive’ condition that is ‘imposed’ on societies without reference to actual needs or concomitant attention to justice as understood by those upon whom control practices are being imposed and with selective attention to international standards. Digital media governance models are called to deal with the contemporary conflict between powerful intentions and fragile conditions, individual freedoms and transnational influences, the political enmeshment of the public and the private, and the effects of networks on the structures of power. Drawing upon contemporary theories, governance is understood as the formal and informal practices of institutions and private and public sector actors. In the realm of digital media, this kind of governance explicitly and/or implicitly frames social relations and vice versa. This means that emerging forms of governance have implications for our understanding of agency, democracy and citizenship.

This symposium invites theoretical, methodological and empirical papers with a specific focus on actual or possible new values, doctrinal principles, and/or implementation practices of media governance as they redefine, reinterpret, operationalise, or abandon freedom as traditionally understood, from the perspective of governments, corporations, communities, and also citizens. Some suggested directions for enquiry include:

  • What kinds of new or revived values are informing media governance? Which models of governance are being promoted, and which are being sidelined?

  • What experiences with alleged freedom, or alternative modes of conceptualising freedom, test the validity, appropriateness, and efficacy of current media governance practices worldwide?

  • To what extent are governments applying new tactics and reconfiguring regulatory values to maintain control over digital and physical spaces?

  • How is globalization of the law affecting media governance at the national level?
-Will the anti-terrorism and crisis ‘state of exception’ used by most governments to justify significant changes in the treatment of free speech and access to information endure?  If so, what are the implications of this development for media governance in the future?

  • In which ways are global corporations involved in the shaping of media governance and what are the implications of these developments in policymaking for the reconceptualisation of certain freedoms and rights (e.g., in the areas of privacy, expression, and copyright)?

  • To what extent and in which ways are the practices by citizens and communities following, opposing and/or negotiating media (technology) governance, and what are the consequences for agency, empowerment and freedom of media users (e.g. in design/domestication of media, tactics/strategies by public, democratic rationalisation)?

  • Which models of media governance may be particularly fruitful for those seeking guarantees of the legal, material and symbolic aspects of individual and communal freedoms and identities? What new tactics of control and resistance are enabled by such models?

  • In what ways can media regulation be responsible for the encroachment of certain individual freedoms and rights despite appearing to try to preserve those same freedoms and rights?

We are interested in dynamic panel debates and dialogue, and the development of research agendas as an outcome of the event. For this reason there will be a limited number of participants.

Confirmed speakers (last updated: October 22, 2012)

  • Adilson Cabral (Fluminence Federal University, Brazil)
  • Aline Carvalho (Paris 8 University, France)
  • Anna-Laura Markkanen (University of Helsinki, Finland)
  • Arne Hintz (McGill University, Canada)
  • Asli Tunc (Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey)
  • Cornelia Wallner (Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Germany)
  • Dalal Al-Budaiwi (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, US)
  • Dimitris Tsapogas (University of Vienna, Austria)
  • Elif Kuzeci (Bahcesehir University, Turkey)
  • Eva Lievens (KU Leuven, Belgium)
  • Evangelia Psychogiopoulou (ELIAMEP, Greece)
  • Giota Alevizou (The Open University, UK)
  • Hannu Nieminen (University of Helsinki, Finland)
  • Ilkin Mehrabov (Karlstad University, Sweden)
  • Isik Baris Fidaner (Alternative Informatics Association, Turkey)
  • Jo Pierson (Free University of Brussels, Belgium)
  • Joan Barata (Blanquerna / Ramon Llull University, Spain)
  • Jonas Andersson (Södertörn University, Sweden)
  • Karen Markin (University of Rhode Island, US)
  • Katharine Sarikakis (University of Vienna, Austria)
  • Kirsten Gollatz (Alexander von Humboldt Institute, Germany)
  • Krämer Benjamin (Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Germany)
  • Landry Normand (Université du Québec, Canada)
  • Laura Stein (University of Texas, US)
  • Lemi Baruh (University of Pennsylvania, US)
  • Loreto Corredoira (Complutense University, Spain)
  • Lucas Logan (Texas A&M University, US)
  • Mihaela Popescu (California State University, US)
  • Ozgur Uckan (Alternative Informatics Association, Turkey)
  • Robin Hoecker (Northwestern University, US)
  • Sal Humphreys (University of Adelaide, Australia)
  • Sandra Braman (University of Wisconsin, US)