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  • 29.12.2017 23:59 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In spring 2017, ECREA issued a public statement of concern with the legislation proposed by the Hungarian government that endangered the existence of Central European University (CEU) in Budapest. ECREA addressed a letter of protest to the Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán and Minister of Human Rights Balog on 5th April 2017.

    Here, we bring you an update from the CEU on the current situation written for the ECREA Newsletter by Adri Bruckner, Director of Communication at CEU on 8th September 2017.

    Regarding Hungarian legislation threatening Central European University and academic freedom:

    The situation in Hungary regarding amendments to higher education legislation, which threaten the operations and institutional independence of Central European University, took a turn in June, when the Hungarian government entered into negotiations with the State of New York, where CEU is registered. The Hungarian government has already signed agreements with the state of Maryland, and with other countries that are home to universities operating in Hungary, but these universities did not express significant objections to the legislation and were not specifically targeted by the legislation – CEU and other observers and analysts saw the legislation as targeting CEU.

    The negotiations between New York and Hungary aim to find a resolution that enables CEU to continue operations in Hungary. Recent statements by government spokespeople, including State Secretary for Higher Education László Palkovics, indicate an expectation that an agreement will be signed in the near future. In terms of timing, the legislation allows currently enrolled students to complete their studies, but prohibits the acceptance of new students from 1st January 2018 if CEU does not comply with the legislation. CEU’s position is that while the university is not at the negotiating table, it understands that the negotiations are being conducted in a constructive atmosphere, and is therefore hopeful that an agreement will be signed that enables the university to remain in Budapest, its home for over two decades, with its institutional integrity and operations intact.

    Separately, the European Commission expressed its objection to the legislation known as lex CEU, citing restrictions to academic freedom and possible violations of the freedom of movement of goods and services. It initiated infringement proceedings against Hungary as a result. According to press reports, the Hungarian government, in its response last month, refused to amend the legislation, and maintains that the European Union holds no jurisdiction in the matter. The Commission may now take the issue to court.

    The legislation was also taken to Hungary’s Constitutional Court by opposition parties in Parliament contesting its constitutionality. There is no deadline for the court to rule on the matter.

  • 29.12.2017 23:44 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On 18th February 2017 ECREA issued a public statement, expressing deep concerns about the continuing suppression of academic freedom and mounting pressures on the autonomy of universities in Turkey.

    The report below presents an update about the current situation regarding academic freedom in Turkey.

    An intensified crackdown on press and academic freedoms in Turkey

    One year after the coup attempt in Turkey, the harsh crackdown on academic freedom and freedom of speech continues with the dismissal, detention and arrest of thousands of academics and journalists, intensifying the climate of fear in the country.

    The coup attempt in July 2016 that was followed by the declaration of a state of emergency, gave the AKP government the authority to issue statutory decrees without any judicial control. These decree laws have been used to carry out a massive crackdown on academics, state officials and journalists since last year.

    So far, the government has issued 8 statutory decrees which caused the dismissal of 5,717 academics since September 2016, with only 140 of them being allowed to return to their duties (Turkish Official Gazette; Öztürk, 2017; Bianet, 2017). At least 380 were the signatories of the “Peace Petition” in 2016, which criticized the heavy military operations in the predominantly Kurdish-populated southeastern Turkey (Bianet, 2017). In its attempt to eliminate dissident voices in academia, the Turkish government has kept the proceedings of investigations nontransparent and unclear, benefiting from the state of emergency.

    Academics were also affected by other decrees that led to the closure of universities and staff reductions. Taking them into account, BBC Turkish reported that more than 8400 academics lost their jobs because of such reasons and all these processes adversely affected 65,000 students (Öztürk, 2017).

    Most of the academics who are fired, detained or arrested are primarily accused of making terrorist propaganda and of having links with Fethullah Gülen, the U.S.-based Islamic preacher, whom the Turkish government accused of being the mastermind of the failed coup. Among these, particularly concerning is the prosecution of signatories of the Academics for Peace petition and of academics and members of the university administration who either supported or refused to take action against the signatories. These academics are now individually taken to seven courts in Istanbul starting December 5, 2017 under charges of terrorism with a minimum prison sentence of 7 years (Bianet 2017b). The political pressures on academics are so severe that scholarly publications are now published anonymously for fear of persecution (Anonymous 2017).

    Meanwhile, the purge hit journalists and media outlets, as well. A lack of official figures has led to varying numbers being given by different groups, but an estimated 200 journalists are currently in jail, with some groups putting the number at 300 (Turkey Purge). According to Platform for Independent Journalism (P24), 187 media outlets have been shut down since the failed coup last year. Also, more than 2,700 media professionals lost their jobs (Freedom House, 2017). Declining 4 places this year, Turkey ranks 155th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index, having the title of “the world’s biggest prison for professional journalists.”

    Image 1: Map of Academic Dismissals in Turkey  “As the new academic year has begun, 5,717 academics from 117 universities in 81 cities have been discharged, only 140 of them have been reinstated to their jobs.” by Beyza Kural (BIA News Desk) on 19 September 2017. Available at: 

    Similar to academics, journalists are primarily convicted by the use of anti-terror laws and they are accused of being a member of an armed organization, revealing leaked intelligence, and insulting state leaders.

    In addition to dismissals and arrests, humiliating practices against academics and journalists during detention, as well as travel bans and restrictions on scholarly work and journalistic practices, are an alarming attack on academic freedoms and freedom of expression in the country. All these actions against Turkish academics and media professionals by the Turkish government do not only undermine fundamental human rights, but they also harm the building of democratic societies and intellectual progress.

    Further scrutiny into the working conditions of academics in Turkey is invited from academia around the world. Left unchecked such mistreatment of academics risks nurturing an atmosphere of fear and self-censorship, which is the end of free thought and production of scientific knowledge. Recently scholars like Judith Butler, Nilufer Göle and Umut Özkirimli took note of the brutal and unfair treatment of academics in Turkey (Butler 2017; Göle 2017; Özkirimli 2017).


    120 Akademisyen, 52 İdari Personele İhraç. (2017, August 25). Bianet. Retrieved 26 August 2017, akademisyen-52- idari-personele-ihrac

    Hearings of 10 Academics Adjourned to April 12 (2017, December 5) Bianet. Retrieved 5 December 2017,

    Anonymous (2017). State vs. Academy in Turkey: Academy Under SurveillanceSurveillance & Society15(3/4), 550-556.

    Butler, J. (2017). Academic Freedom and the Critical Task of the University. Globalizations, 14(6), 857-861.

    Freedom House (2017), Turkey, Retrieved 17 May 2017,

    Göle, N. (2017). Undesirable Public Intellectuals. Globalizations14(6), 877-883.

    Journalism in Jail. (n.d.). Turkey Purge. Retrieved 26 August  2017, jail

    Reporters Without Borders (2017). Journalists in new wave of arrests in Turkey. Retrieved 26 August 2017, wave-arrests- turkey

    P24 (2017). Journalists in State of Emergency - 87. Retrieved 26 August 2017,

    P24 (2017). Olağanüstü Hâl&#39;de Gazeteciler - 101. Retrieved 26 August 2017,

    Özkirimli, U. (2017). How to Liquidate a People? Academic Freedom in Turkey and Beyond. Globalizations, 14(6), 851-856.

    Öztürk, F. (2017). İnteraktif: 15 Temmuz darbe girişimi sonrası ilan edilen OHAL üniversiteleri nasıl etkiledi?. BBC Türkçe. Retrieved 26 August 2017, 40567898


  • 29.12.2017 23:28 | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Coincidentally or not, two ECREA groups used “periphery” in their 2017 conferences.

    The Communication History section organised a workshop Our Group First! – Historical perspectives on Minorities/Majorities, Inclusion/Exclusion, Centre/Periphery in Media and Communication in Budapest at Eötvös Loránd University, on 7–9 September. During three days participants attended more than 25 presentations, including keynotes by Tibor Frank (Eötvös Loránd University), Andrea Pető (Central European University), Susanne Kinnebrock (University of Augsburg) and Erika Szívós (Eötvös Loránd University).

    The CEE Network met at the University of Ljubljana, on 15–17 June, for the 10th CEECOM conference Critique of/at/on periphery?. The keynotes of Zlatan Krajina (University of Zagreb) and John Downey (Loughborough University) were followed by more than 50 presentations.Under the keyword “periphery”, the CEECOM conference addressed diverse topics about the relations between centres and margins, media(ted) transition of the postcommunist societies and criticality. All these were interwoven into the discussions about journalism, the public sphere, audiences and media industries. The question “what does it mean to be critical of, on and at the periphery?” echoed the conference, and invited the participants from Central and Eastern Europe to a (self) reflexivity exercise and (self) evaluation of CEE scholarship.

    Photo 1: Zlatan Krajina, CEECOM’s keynote speaker

    With the guest speaker outside communication studies, the round table organised by the Slovene Communication Association was a place to move theoretical debates into the everyday life in which, to rephrase the title, the “political is exhibited”. The dangers of the state interpretation of art were scrutinized using the example of the exhibition War and www on the Syrian Kurds, which was on display in Ljubljana, but withdrawn in Maribor after the intervention of the Turkish embassy.

    Photo 2: (from left) The keynote speaker Tibor Frank, Nelson Ribeiro, the chair of the Communication History section, the local organiser Balázs Sipos, and the keynote speaker Andrea Pető.)

    The talks presented at the Communication History section workshop made it clear how much can be learned about contemporary media and political discourses when looking at how communication technologies were used in the past to foster hate and fear against the “other”. The workshop aimed to discuss how communication has been used to disseminate stereotypes, narratives and social myths, creating clear distinctions between a superior “us” and the “other”. The chant “Our Group First”, which echoes past times, has gained momentum in the contemporary political discourse in Europe and the United States. This led the section to consider it urgent to discuss and better understand the role played by the media in the dissemination of populist and xenophobic ideals and to also look at how minorities have used different media to come together as communities.

    One of the most touching moments at the workshop was the roundtable “Remembering Klaus Arnold”, in which section members paid tribute to one of the founders and the first Chair of the Communication History section who passed away earlier in the year. Those who participated at the roundtable remembered not only Klaus’ work in setting up the Section but also his contributions to Communication Studies at large. He will be missed and his legacy will remain as the section grows and develops its research agenda.

    Photo 3: Business meeting of the Communication History Section.

    At the business meeting section members were briefed on the development of the European Communication History Handbook, a project also envisioned by Klaus Arnold that will be published in 2018 by Wiley-Blackwell.

    • The next workshop of the Communication History section is scheduled to take place in Vienna, 18–20 September  2018. Please do join!
    • The next CEECOM conference will take place in Szeged from 30th May to 1st June 2018. Please visit conference website.

    Report prepared by Jelena Kleut, University of Novi Sad, Serbia; CEE Network

    with contribution from Nelson Ribeiro, Universidade Católica Portuguesa; chair of Communication History section

  • 29.12.2017 22:06 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Two conferences organised by three of ECREA’s thematic sections asked inspiring and challenging questions about the future of their field. First, the joint workshop The Future of Media Content: Interventions and Industries in the Internet Era organized by the ECREA Communication Law and Policy and Media Industries and Cultural Production Sections was hosted by the University of East Anglia on 15th and 16th September. This was shortly followed by the conference of the ECREA Audience and Reception Studies Section Audiences2030: Imagining a future for audiences that took place at the Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Lisbon, Portugal on 28th and 29th September. They indeed complement each other and signaled that the need to critically view and scrutinise the current media landscape might help us to envisage questions relevant for the future of the media and communication field.

    The two-day workshop The Future of Media Content opened with an excellent session on policy engagement in academic research in which four seasoned academics looked at the risks and benefits of engaging with policymakers and politicians, and candidly explained what worked and what did not. Karen Donders, who has worked in government, the media industry and academia, described the interaction as “addictive” but warned of the dangers of “going native” if you spend too much time with business people or politicians.

    Eli Noam, from Columbia University in New York, argued in his keynote that we are well into the third generation of television, moving from an increasingly multi-channel and fragmented media landscape into a time of exponential growth in the speed of transmission, and the range of products and channels available. He envisaged that this would lead to a cultural acceleration “of extraordinary proportions” across society, both widening and deepening consumption through a process driven by the chase for advertising revenues. There will be plenty of disruption as algorithmic media content proliferates across all sectors.

    The questions and visions presented at plenaries resonated throughout the event in presented papers as well as panel discussions. There were mixed views in many discussions about the extent to which algorithmic control was revolutionary or evolutionary. The event allowed for welcome intermingling between media and policy specialists and academics at various stages in their careers.

    A great counterpart could be found in the conference Audiences2030: Imagining a future for audiences that scrutinised people’s engagement with diverse (cross) media flows and contents. Over 60 papers were presented over the two days in three parallel sessions. Their scope showed the relevance of the research on audiences for the media and communication field.

    The highlight of the conference was an end-of-project plenary of the CEDAR Network, directed by Ranjana Das and Brita Ytre-Arne, presenting the outcomes of its unique foresight exercise about the future of audience research in 2030 and launching of its final report. The breadth of the report highlights the questions that are relevant and important not only in considering and thinking about audiences now, but also providing the first foresight analysis of its kind on the topic of audiences, their voices and practices in the contemporary media environment characterised by increasing datafication. It builds on the academic knowledge enriched by the consultations with 50 stakeholder organisations across Europe. It also offers some answers to questions raised by the previously discussed event on The Future of Media Content.

    Photo 1: Ranjana Das and Brita Ytre-Arne, the director and co-director of the CEDAR Network

    The important agendas for the field were also proposed by the four prominent and inspiring keynote speakers. Martin Barker touched upon the issue of why audience research is still marginalized within the field of media and communication, and Thomas Tufte reminded us the need to look beyond the western audiences and the western practices of media consumption and reception. Klaus Bruhn Jensen discussed the increasingly more relevant questions of “meta-communication” as media users leave meaningful traces, residues of their media uses that can further reconfigure the system, informing various algorithms that subsequently preconfigure their future media uses. In her talk, Sonia Livingstone stressed the need not to omit audiences from questions of mediatisation, pointing out that its focus places audiences into a fundamentally reactive role, neglecting once again the questions of what people do with the media.

    Photo 2: The new section management team (from left) Alessandro Nani, David Mathieu, Vivi Theodoropoulou

    The conference greatly succeeded in being timely and relevant, which was demonstrated by engaged discussions at the end of panels as well as in the corridors. The conference also hosted the Section’s business meeting where Ranjana Das stepped down from her role of the Section’s chair. The Section’s new management team is now chaired by David Mathieu, with vice-chairs Alessandro Nani and Vivi Theodoropoulou (newly elected).


    Report prepared by Tereza Pavlíčková, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic; Audience and Reception Studies section
    with contribution from Ruth Garland, University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom; Communication Law and Policy section

  • 29.12.2017 22:05 | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    ECREA’s Communication and the European Public Sphere Temporary Working Group (CEPS TWG) organized a series of events in autumn, taking place in Krakow and Bucharest. Under the umbrella of the University Association for Contemporary European Studies (UACES) Annual Conference – Exchanging Ideas on Europe (4–6 September 2017), the CEPS TWG organized two panels in Krakow, focusing on EU responses to the Crises in the European Public Sphere, chaired by Prof. Jozef Niznik and Prof. Alina Bârgăoanu. The presentations featured themes such as strategic communications from and towards the EU, Brexit, and the defence union, but also included a debate on the conceptualization of the European Public Sphere, Europeanisation and crises to name a few. Dr Malgorzata Winiarska-Brodowska, vice-chair of the CEPS TWG, conducted a third panel under the title Reporting Europe, Reporting Migrations. It addressed the nexus between national identity and public discourse on EU free movement of persons, the refugee crises and EU news coverage during British elections.


    On 7-8th September, the CEPS TWG seminar entitled The development potential of the European Public Sphere took place in Krakow. The event was hosted by the Institute of Journalism, Media and Social Communication of the Jagiellonian University and gathered scholars from Germany, Denmark, Tunisia, Romania, Bulgaria and Poland. The seminar was opened by a lecture The European Public Sphere in Question: Current Dilemmas given by Prof. Teresa Sasinska-Klas. Succeeding sessions moderated by Dr Malgorzata Winiarska-Brodowska dealt with such topics as: Europeanisation of public spheres in times of crisis, Europeanisation and peripheralisation of the public spheres as well as the EU Communication Strategy. The seminar provided a forum for discussions on a number of issues related to European communication, ranging from Brexit and migration to security and defence in the EU27. The seminar participants considered also the role of social media, quality of information and communication trends in Europe such as fragmentation and polarization. The papers presented various theoretical approaches, interesting empirical case studies, comparative analyses and critical reflection on the situation in Europe. As a result of debates in Krakow a special book issue will be published soon.


    Photo 1: Malgorzata Winiarska-Brodowska, vice-chair of the CEPS TWG (left) and Alina Bârgăoanu, chair of the CEPS TWG (right), Krakow
    Photo 2: From left to right: Loredana Radu , Alina Bârgăoanu, and Raluca Buturoiu, Bucharest

    On 5th October, the CEPS TWG had a dedicated panel in the framework of the Qualitative Research in Communication Conference, hosted by the National University of Political Sciences and Public Administration in Bucharest. Centred around the topic of narratives and counter-narratives of European integration, the panel covered a wide range of subjects. Strategies of legitimization, youth identity and post-Brexit identity in Romania, as well as the financial crisis, information sharing discourses and narratives on reforming Europe were heatedly debated among scholars and professionals, moderated by Prof. Alina Bârgăoanu. One of the highlights was the assessment of the campaign Romanians adopt Remainians launched in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum. On the margins of this event, the book “Why Europe? Narratives and counter-narratives of European integration” edited by Alina Bârgăoanu, Raluca Buturoiu and Loredana Radu was launched.

    If you find these topics interesting and you would like to contribute to the CEPS activities please join us or read more about the TWG’s objectives here.

    Report by Eveline Marasoiu, National University of Political Science and Public Administration, Romania and Malgorzata Winiarska-Brodowska, Jagiellonian University, Poland; vice-chair of ECREA Communication and the European Public Sphere TWG


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