The Russian Media Lab project, funded by the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation, is organising its concluding conference within the framework of this year’s Aleksanteri Conference. For this thematic stream, entitled "Media Innovation, Horizontal Networks and Digital Entrepreneurship in Russia and Beyond: Avenues for Strengthening Freedom of Speech and Journalistic Practices?", we invite submissions of panels and individual papers that explore emerging (digital) media practices in relation to the question of freedom of expression and independent journalism. In addition to studies of Russia, we look forward to receiving proposals examining Central and Eastern Europe, as well as comparative studies.
Digital services are one of the most flourishing areas of Russia’s media economy, creating opportunities for new entrepreneurial and creative networks to emerge. As seen from the viewpoint of the latest media developments, many Russian regions are invigorated in the communication sphere through innovative online publishing, and hyper- and trans-local new media practices of social engagement and urban culture. At the same time, the Russian government continues to tighten its grip on online communications, as well as on the traditional media sphere.
With these processes in mind, we invite proposals that examine to what extent novel digital practices enable new areas for freedom of expression and independent journalism to emerge? To what extent is Russia (dis)similar to other countries, including many Western democracies, currently experiencing shifts in the organization of their media landscapes, where creative initiatives and critical thinking find new forms of expression through multifaceted networks of grass-roots activism and creativity combined with collaborative media and small scale entrepreneurship? How can these emerging practices be safeguarded from the tightening grip of the state’s regulation of the online sphere?
To be considered for inclusion in the Russian Media Lab thematic stream, please indicate this on the application form. Expressing your interest to be included in this stream will not affect the chances of your paper or panel proposal being accepted for the Aleksanteri Conference.
The best contributions will be invited to submit revised versions of their paper for publication as part of a special issue.