Media against Democracy? - The Commercialization of Internet and The Crisis of Media

Current | 17.04.2014. 06:00

Media against Democracy – What do we mean?

The media and journalism are undergoing a turbulent and painful period of restructuring. Joint forces of disruptive technological innovation and economic crisis have pulled the rug under the ailing print and broadcasting media and their production models. Journalism is being undercut by parallel processes of deskilling and lay-offs. Media reporting is increasingly becoming uniform and reduced to opinionated journalism, agency news and press releases. However, the roots of this process of economic rationalization are not of recent making. Although internet is frequently blamed for obliterating the business models of traditional media, this has only precipitated the fundamental problems of media in contemporary capitalist democracies that were set in motion in the decades before the internet with the growing concentration of media ownership and commercialization of media content.

At the same time, the early democratizing promise of the internet to allow everyone to access the broadest public seems to have been eviscerated. In many ways its success proved to be its failure. As it transformed our communication, our economies, our everyday, it failed to displace the dominant operations of social and global power. As the recent revelations of blanket surveillance of citizens had shown, it made everything that has become more democratic more fragile in the face of power. And we could claim that the same economic forces of commercialization, concentration and monopoly that plunged the print and broadcasting media into a crisis spiral decades ago are now driving the internet into a similar crisis, only amplified by the capacity of technological control over communications. The growing economic streamlining of the media is foreclosing their democratic premise.

The conference proposes to look at the intertwined processes of commercialization of internet and crisis of media and journalism. On the analytical side it proposes to approach the predicament from the framework of political economy of communication, while on the practical side it wants to look closer at the future facing media and journalists and the prospects of progressive media reform in Croatia. To discuss this it will bring together prominent scholars, media professionals, political activists and policy makers, including Des FreedmanLeopoldina FortunatiRobert W. McChesneyDrago HedlRüdiger RossigMilan ŽivkovićRasmus FleischerMarisol SandovalMarcell MarsSebastian SevignaniLadislav TomičićBrankica PetkovićNada Švob-ĐokićHelena PopovićVesna KesićSlavica Lukić,Sebastian Mondial


More information about the schedule, speakers and contact at


Location: Goethe Institut Kroatien Ulica grada Vukovara 64, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia