Building: (Building C) Faculty of Law, Administration & Economics Floor: 4th floor Room: 401
Hybridity is a concept that is applied to political regimes as well as the contemporary media. Media hybridity has three dimensions. It pertains to 1) structural factors such as ownership and market characteristics; 2) journalistic practices and 3) technological aspects of the media. The papers in this panel explore how hybridity affects political communication and regime dynamics, drawing on data from non-Western contexts. The combined effect of political upheavals and technology-driven media transformations has put social and political cohesion under pressure around the globe. Both democracies and non-democracies have faced new challenges. This panel focuses on the implication of media hybridity in semi-authoritarian political regimes. Media outlets in hybrid regimes experience a considerable degree of editorial freedom, but they are not at liberty to cover every issue in whichever way they want. The state authorities or powerful lobbies are prone to intervene in direct or indirect ways, using censorship, coercion or “soft power” such as advertising money to influence the substance and tone of media coverage. At the receiving end of such interventions are journalists, who must find ways of navigating the political arena while holding on to their professional integrity and trustworthiness vis-à-vis the public. The journalistic role is however also in flux as in democratic political systems, where market forces and political polarization combine to change the journalistic profession in several ways. In all these developments, technological development is of immense importance. The rise of social media has challenged the traditional media as a “marketplace for ideas” while simultaneously being a powerful tool for disinformation by authoritarian political elites. Drawing on data from Chile, Russia, Lebanon and Tunisia, the papers in this panel explore how journalists and powerholders handle the possibilities and constraints produced by the new media hybridity.