Media Accountability Goes Online: Researchers present MediaAcT Findings in Prague

MediaAcT researchers from Finland, France, Germany and Poland presented empirical and theoretical findings of their research in a panel on ECREA's Central and Eastern European Network Conference in Prague, April 27 to 28, 2012. The panel "Media accountability goes online" focused on the question whether and how the implementation of online instruments fostering media accountability is proceeding in different parts of the world.

The digital environment operated by the protocols of World Wide Web and social media provide an sample of opportunities for media organizations and their critics to live up the norms of media accountability. The presentations in Prague were based on a MediaAcT work package, which discussed these opportunities in a comparative perspective of fourteen news cultures; eight in Western and Central-Eastern Europe, four in the Arab World, and the USA.

Theoretically, the panel discussed varying definitions of media accountability and their potential operationalizations in the online environment. In addition, the panel aimed to contribute to the theoretical and methodological reflexivity pertaining to comparative analysis in journalism research by applying Bourdieu’s field theory as a framework for empirical research. The empirical aspect of the panel focused on two sets of developments of media accountability practices: those initiated by news organizations on the one hand, and those deriving from outside media organizations on the other. The analysis aimed not merely to describe what sort of practices can be found but also attempted to understand what are the factors either fostering or undermining the adoption of online media accountability practices. In addition, Bissera Zankowa (Bulgaria), a non MediaAcT-researcher reflected on the MediaAcT findings by applying a policy perspective. She focused on media accountability online practices in Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and Turkey and thus, further enlarged the geographical scope of the MediaAcT research.The panel composition was as follows:

Media Accountability Goes Online: A Transnational Study on Emerging Practices and Innovations

Chair: Heikki Heikkila (University of Tampere, Finland)

1. Flickering Transparency: Background for Studying Media Accountability Online (Heikki Heikkila, University of Tampere, Finland)

2. In the journalistic fields: The Dynamics of Developing Media Accountability Online (Olivier Baisnee Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Toulouse, France and Michal Glowacki, University of Warsaw, Poland)

3. Media Accountability Online: Contributions of the Newsrooms (Michal Kus, University of Warsaw, Poland)

4.“Eye on the Media”: Online Accountability Practices from Outside Media Organizations (Judith Pies, TU Dortmund University, Germany)

5. Media Accountability in the Era of Internet: Some Reflections on the Media Accountability Systems in Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and Turkey (Bissera Zankova, Bulgaria)

The conference was the annual meeting of ECREA's Central and East-European Network organized by the Institute of Communication Studies and Journalism at Charles University in Prague this year. The main conference theme was "Media, Power, Empowerment" with a particular focus on Central and Eastern Europe. For more information on the conference see here.

Text: Judith Pies, Photo: Jakub Plíhal

MediaAct News – May 08, 2012


About MediaAcT

MediaAcT is a comparative research project on media accountability systems in EU member states as indicators for media pluralism in Europe.


Funded by the EC

Project funded under the Socio-economic Sciences and Humanties


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