What are your research topics?
I am currently investigating questions of responsibility and power associated with the media, digital media platforms (such as Facebook and YouTube) in particular. I study how media companies have assumed responsibility for phenomena such as hate speech or false information, and how different operators in different countries have sought to hold these companies accountable.
Where and how does the topic of your research have an impact?
Media outlets play a key role in promoting or hindering democratic participation. The coronavirus pandemic has reminded us how detrimental false or manipulated information can be, even in terms of health. Disinformation and hate speech are used to shape opinions. They are used to influence voting, silence journalists, researchers and activists, as well as to stoke suspicion and hate against minorities.
What is particularly inspiring in your field right now?
There is no single solution to disinformation, which is why it is important to explore a range of strategies to defend against it. Of interest right now is how the responsibility of media platforms is defined in the public discussion in various cultural contexts, and how decision-makers and parties involved in civil society have, in different countries, sought to hold these platforms accountable for the content disseminated through them.
Mervi Pantti is a professor of media and communication studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences.
Watch Mervi Pantti’s inaugural lecture as a new professor on 28.5.2021 on YouTube.