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Public panel: Diminishing borders between private and public spheres in the Internet World

How shall newsrooms deal with social online networks professionally? Do we need “online reputation management” as a new subject in schools? Along these questions, researchers from the MediaAcT project discussed different perspectives on the effects that Internet and new communication technologies (might) have on private and public spheres. The public panel discussion was organised by the Institute of Journalism and Communication of Tartu University and took place in Domus Dorpatensis, one of the oldest houses in the centre of Tartu (Estonia), on 9 June 2010.

According to David Domingo (Finland), the boundaries between private and public spheres are becoming increasingly blurred, because the Internet makes private communication much more public than ever before. That those developments also pose new challenges for journalists and audiences alike was pointed out by Harmen Groenhart (The Netherlands). He expounded that private and professional roles of journalists increasingly mingle in the digital age. Halliki Harro-Loit (Estonia) emphasized the importance of media literacy in order to make informed choices while using the Internet.

After giving their statements, the experts opened up the roundtable for the audience, which showed special interest in discussing whether people make informed choices regarding privacy issues on the Internet, for example with regard to facebook, and whether there are any differences between facebook and twitter. Overall, it became apparent that there still seems to be a long way to go until all people will be aware of the potentials and dangers of Internet and new communication technologies, all citizens literate in online “reputation management”, and all journalists capable of making informed and responsible use of online social media.

Thus, the MediaAcT researchers, who will analyze innovative online forms of media accountability in the following months, will certainly face many interesting cases and questions.

MediaAct News – June 17, 2010

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About MediaAcT

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

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Funded by the EC

Project funded under the Socio-economic Sciences and Humanties

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