Welcome to the “Media Accountability”- Conference in Lugano


Digitization of media and the resulting convergence of print, broadcasting and telecommunications have altered the media landscape significantly in recent years. The traditional mass media is thus confronted with a variety of new online competitors like social media sites or other user generated content produced in blogs for instance. This new competition puts traditional and established accountability models such as press councils, ombudsmen or ethic codes in question. However, new digital opportunities allow the recipients to actively participate in the debate on how the media are to be held accountable – even though, at the moment, the number of people who actively participate in the debate remains rather low.
The conference focuses therefore on media accountability, in particular with regard to new online technologies such as social media (Facebook, Twitter etc.) and innovative Web-based accountability processes. The following questions will thus be discussed:

  • Are traditional instruments of media accountability like press councils or ombudsmen up to the ethical issues of an increasingly participative Web-community? How do traditional media accountability systems progress and adapt to changes in the media landscape compared with those within media organizations? Can new forms of Web-based accountability processes complement traditional instruments of media self-regulation and compensate for their deficits?
  • How are media organizations in particular reacting to the changing online environment? Do they adapt their structures and formalize the process of information release in order to keep pace with fast and interactive social media? Do media organizations make decision-making processes, e.g. within the newsrooms, more transparent?
  • Is today’s media accountability audience-driven – allowing the Web community to hold media organizations to account? Are newsrooms actively promoting user integration or not? Are these participatory technologies not only favorable for holding media organizations to account but, moreover, also in the struggle for increased democracy?
  • Are there substantial transnational differences concerning the emergence of new instruments and Web-based accountability processes?

These are a few questions intended to reflect on the actual debate about the various possibilities and pitfalls of online media accountability instruments. We are looking forward to discussing these topics at the conference. For this reason, the organizing committee expects to bring together distinguished scholars, experts and practitioners coming from different (journalistic) backgrounds and cultures.
The conference is organized by the European Journalism Observatory in association with the European research project MediaAcT. We kindly inform the participants that the official language is English.

After the conference, a selection of the best papers will appear in a special issue of the journal Studies in Communication Sciences, the journal of the Swiss Association of Communication and Media Research.


Conference Co-Chairs

Stephan Russ-Mohl, Università della Svizzera italiana
Colin Porlezza, Università della Svizzera italiana


Deadline for Registration

January 10, 2012



Ms. Rahel Künkele
Università della Svizzera italiana
Via G. Buffi 13
6904 Lugano