Digital Platforms and Democracy: Journalism and Political Communication in a World of Polycrisis

We are pleased to announce the Call for Papers for presentations at the forthcoming international conference entitled “Digital Platforms and Democracy: Journalism and Political Communication in a World of Polycrisis”, which will be held in November 3-5, 2023, in Athens, Greece.


Conference Theme & Topics

In principle, having as many opportunities as possible for everyone to be “heard” in the public space would enhance meaningful discussion and deliberation in digital interactive environments, contributing to the deepening of democratic norms and values, by fostering the development of robust global digital publics, in which everyone has a voice.

However, humanity and democracy are currently in a major crisis and digitalization mediates this crisis. It is hard to question the upsurge of extremist public discourse, political flaming and hate speech, aggression in the expression of online opinions, the constant battle against the intractable problem of misinformation and disinformation, the propagation of conspiracy theories and the incitement to violence and facilitation of all types and forms of radicalization in digital spaces – phenomena that contaminate the current media ecosystem and society at large. The proliferation and, to a large extent, the normalization of toxic, harmful or abusive content is mediated and largely assisted by modern digital platforms, which are being leveraged or often weaponized by actors with diverse political agendas.

Against this background, the immediacy of digital communication has altered journalists’ roles and the position they often assume over any current issue. The challenge to go for “now” has proved overwhelming; double-checking or even checking has fallen prey to this. If combined with the long-standing appeal of image as opposed to text, with all the slippage that angle or focus under pressure can bring along, little room is left for reliable news reporting.


Additionally, the retreat of the traditional media business model, along with the constraints digital media have been working under, has pushed journalists to venture at the wilderness of social media and owner-operated sites and/or blogs. Initially experienced as freedom-of-expression havens, they have often brought about a hard landing to receding journalistic standards. The effort to get on-board some sort of sponsored content and/or much-needed advertisement has had a detrimental impact on editorial decisions and the overall quality of new content.

What is the role of Journalism in the current environment, which is being shaped by the internet, social media and personalized practices of information generation, reproduction and dissemination? How can media be empowered to fulfil its normatively ascribed roles in society and strengthen democracy in digital spaces? What are the challenges to media’s roles in defining and management of issues? In which way can digital media be organized so that they behave in the wider public interest or for the good of society as a whole? How can journalists provide a platform for truthful and comprehensible public political discourse, facilitating the formation of conductive ‘public opinion’? How can citizens be properly informed in an environment that is flooded with diverse and unverified media content?

The conference themes speak to the past, present and future, as a reflection of the role of media and journalism in the 21st century. We invite theoretical, methodological, and empirical submissions that address the following themes, in an effort to spark meaningful conversations and probe multiple perspectives about the challenges facing democracy today. We hope that our discussions will help set a stepping stone for both academics and professional journalists to reflect on the ideal types of journalism practice in the current digital media environment as we continue to encounter challenges to and transformations of our digital media landscapes.

Conference Topics

Key Dynamics in the Digital Media Landscape

  • The Political Economy of the digital News Environment
  • Algorithmic power and content moderation
  • Social media analytics and metrics
  • Shareability, speed, affective content, and viral content
  • The perils of hyper-personalization
  • The formation of audiences in digital spaces
  • Digital fatigue, digital detox, and news avoidance
  • Digital inequalities, digital divides, and digital literacies

Content Creators and the Creator Economy

•      The emerging Creator Economy ecosystem (creators, tools, platforms) •      Content creation, ownership, and data control

•      Debating the shift from an “attention economy” and advertising dependency to an “independent creator economy”

•      Does the Creator Economy recommend “democratisation” and “decentralization” of the information process?

•      Will the inequalities, network effects and winner-takes-most that characterized the platform economy be eliminated in the new creator economy?

Digital Journalism and Democracy in Context

  • Digital Journalism and news-gatekeeping
  • The normative functions of digital journalism
  • Journalists’ ideology and roles perceptions in the digital age
  • Journalism ethics in the digital media era
  • Trust in the media as sources of information
  • The implications of economic concentration of media to pluralism and democracy
  • Accountability and the material conditions of contemporary journalism
  • The roles of media in democratic, transitional, and authoritarian societies

Digital Journalism Models in Practice

  • Technological innovation and digital journalism
  • Transmedia, data driven and interactive storytelling
  • Artificial Intelligence applications in journalism and the media
  • Entrepreneurial, constructive, and solution-based journalism
  • Professional and citizen war journalism
  • Citizen and community journalism
  • Fact-Checking or Journalism?

Political Communication in the Digital Media Era

  • Civic activities and identity politics online
  • Media, social movements, and political change
  • Political communication and political structures
  • Ideology and political discourse online
  • Political participation and political communities
  • Political rhetoric and campaigns

Challenges of Online Political Discourse

  • Freedom of expression and online censorship
  • Surveillance, personal data, and privacy
  • Misinformation, conspiracy theories, false news, and post-truth culture
  • Propaganda, political flaming, and the weaponization of social media
  • Information cocoons, filter bubbles, and echo chambers
  • Computational propaganda and disinformation campaigns
  • Spam, scams, identity theft, phishing, hacking and spyware

Imagining a Better World in Digital Spaces

  • How can media, corporations, governments, and the public disrupt positive change in digital spaces?
  • How can media enhance social cohesion and understanding in the face of multipolarity and heterogeneous values?
  • Supporting fact-based knowledge and ensuring safety and freedom of oppression
  • Empowering diverse voices and providing tools for collaborations
  • Social media regulations and technology policy issues

Conference Participants

The CFP is addressed to members of the academic community from the fields of media studies, journalism, political science, and law to discuss and advance ideas on how public discourse and journalism evolve in the digital society, the creative avenues they find, the challenges they face and the opportunities that lie ahead.

The conference also seeks to build bridges between academia and the profession and between the media actors and experts of their regulation. Practitioners who wish to present their work and reflect on the conference’s interdisciplinary themes are welcome. We welcome laboratories and workshops to demonstrate innovative practices, discuss ideas and share best practices regarding any of the conference themes. We are particularly interested in presentations that describe emancipatory communication experiences that have been disruptive, successful, and beneficial.

Abstract Submission & Guidelines

Potential speakers should submit an abstract of 500 words (+/-5%) in English by April, 30th, 2023, 23:55 (Eastern European Standard Time).  All abstracts will be peer-reviewed.

Submissions should be emailed to: Each participant can submit a presentation only once as a primary author, but there are no limitations as regards to co-authors.

Abstracts should be 500 words long (excluding references) and include a title, the author(s) affiliation and contact details (excluded from 500 words), an introduction, a methodology part explaining in detail the methodological approach to the topic studied and (if possible) the main findings of the research. The decision will be communicated by May 21st 2023.



As part of this conference, the scientific committee will publish through an international publisher, a selection of papers in an edited volume in English after consultation with the author(s). This volume will also be published in Greek by our Greek publisher

Full paper Guidelines

Submitted papers should be 6.000 words (including references), double-spaced, Times New Roman 12. Please include a title, the author(s) affiliation and contact details, an introduction (theoretical background of the study), a methodological part including the methodological approach, the research questions or hypotheses, the findings section and a discussion/conclusions part.




April, 30th 2023, 23:55 (EEST): submission of abstracts

May 21st, 2023:               Notification of decision by scientific committee

May 21st, 2023:               Registration opens

July 30th, 2023:              Registration closes

August 30th, 2023:          Full paper submission


Registration Fees

Academics: 200 Euro

PhD students, Journalists and Media Professionals: 130 Euro

Students and participants not presenting a paper: 80 Euro

Registration fees for the conference cover a copy of the program, participation in the scientific and professional sessions, lunches and coffee breaks.

More information about the specific location of the conference and other activities will be announced on our website. For more information on registration, please visit the conference website.

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