Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities Public Lecture Series

The Media and Democracy in the Digital Era: Is this what we had in mind?

In the mass media era, the role of the media was universally regarded as fundamental to the proper functioning of the democratic state: the media’s capacity to provide information to all citizens ensured they had equal access to the democratic process. There were many, though, who registered concern at the top-down, government led, and highly concentrated structures of power embedded here; it was easy to demonstrate how the flow of information could be manipulated and the power of the media abused. Consequently, the arrival of the digital era seemed to radically change that power relation for the good; we entered the era of consumer choice and ‘produsage’, as power was transferred to what journalism professor Jay Rosen described in 2006 as ‘the people formerly known as the audience’ in a process of ‘democratization’. Or, so it seemed; more than a decade later, this looks very naïve. As governments have either lost or relinquished much of their regulatory control over the mediasphere, markets have fragmented and with them, Cass Sunstein suggests, the sense of a common culture; choice is becoming unmanageable and therefore no longer meaningful; most importantly, much of the media content ‘prodused’ by the ‘people formerly known as the audience’ seems more like a threat to the democratic state than its enablement. Public concerns about ‘fake news’, hate speech, online bullying, ‘revenge porn’, phishing scams, ‘online radicalization’ and identity theft occupy our headlines daily. In this public lecture, Emeritus Professor Graeme Turner will discuss some of the implications of the digital era for the proper functioning of democracies, with particular attention to the role of journalism, news, and the recovery of the notion of the public interest.

Graeme Turner is Emeritus Professor of Cultural Studies in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities. One of the founding figures in media and cultural studies in Australia, he has published 24 books and his work has been translated into 10 languages. He has been a strong and critical presence in debates around the state of the media over the last decade, with publications such as Television Studies after TV: Understanding television in the post-broadcast era (co-edited with Jinna Tay, 2009), and Locating Television: Zones of Consumption (co-authored with Anna Cristina Pertierra, 2013), exercising a significant influence over the field.  His most recent book is ReInventing the Media (2016).

Please RSVP for this lecture here.

6.00pm Thursday 12 October 2017
The Terrace Room, Sir Llew Edwards Building (#14), St Lucia Campus
For further information, please contact or 07 334 59492.

All welcome.


The Terrace Room, Sir Llew Edwards Building (#14), St Lucia Campus