Online media activism in semi-authoritarian Russia
Since the rise to power of the President Vladimir Putin in 2000 Russian society has been undergoing an authoritarian turn. This process has had a significant impact on the country’s media landscape and its civil society. Around the same time internet and surrounding technologies have emerged in the country with highly instrumentalized and clientelist mass media system which lacks the tradition of freedom and independence.
As it remained relatively unrestricted, online sphere quickly became an arena of representation, public debate, and mobilization for a variety of social groups. Activists turned to new media in oder to facilitate political and social change thus making it a site of conflict between dissent and political mainstream.
This talk will focus on the political and social role of the Russian blogosphere in the context of increasing restrictions imposed on the media system, including its rapidly growing online sector, by the government and general deterioration of human rights and civil liberties. Further, it will discuss a case study of an LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) blogging community as an example of an online-based counter public sphere with a blend of media activist functions.
Evgeniya Boklage is a doctoral student at the Freie Universität's Institute for Media and Communication Studies and a member of the BMBF funded project "RAI-FU". Her research interests include risk communication, science Communication, new media, and online journalism.