Eva-Maria Svensson

Communicative democracy. Protecting, promoting and developing free speech in the digital era

Freedom of expression is a corner stone in communicative democracy. To protect, promote and develop free speech in a digital era is the theme for an international interdisciplinary conference and workshop within a new and relatively understudied area of research; the tension between marketdriven and democracydriven freedom of expression.
The theme for the conference is "Communicative democracy. Protecting, promoting and developing free speech in the digital era" and is about how to build sustainable system for free speech, reliability for media and consequences of the digital development for the relationship between the State, the citizens, media and the market. The controlling function of journalism is under pressure due to media's dependence on advertisement revenues, questioning of state subsidies, changed audience behaviour and technical development.
The objective with the conference is to promote international cooperation through inviting leading researchers in the field. The conference is divided into a public part and a workshop for invited scholars. The invited scholars are members of the project's international academic network, other international and Nordic scholars primarily within law and media studies. Expected results are new knowledge, extended international contacts, contribution to the public debate and a joint publication. The conference has received some funding from The School of Business, Law and Economics, University of Gothenburg.

The funding from RJ contributed to the arrangement of an international conference held in Sweden at the University of Gothenburg, 6-7 October 2015, Communicative democracy: Protecting, promoting and developing free speech in the digital era. The aim of the conference was to gather scholars from several fields to gain new insights regarding the tensions between the state, the market, the media and the citizens regarding free speech. This is an emerging field of research that studies the complex processes and challenges when the line between advertising and journalism is blurred. Who is to be trusted and what consequences will this have? The conference resulted in an anthology, Blurring the lines, published by Nordicom in October 2016.
Both the conference and the anthology are parts of the research project Market-driven and democracy-driven freedom of expression, a collaboration between Department of Law (Eva-Maria Svensson), and Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (Maria Edström) at the University of Gothenburg, financed by Ragnar Söderberg Foundation (2013-2016).
The conference was also sponsored by the Partnership Programme 2015 and the Department of Law at the School of Business, Economics and Law, as well as Department of Journalism, Media and Communication, University of Gothenburg.