The European Institute for Communication and Culture invites paper proposals from scholars specialising in democratisation and communication, for a colloquium examining comparative perspectives on censorship and democracy.
More than three centuries ago, Casper Stieler argued for a state monopoly and censorship of the press to prevent newspapers from spreading “false, mocking and noxious” news that could “mislead, anger and deceive a simple man.” Today we are facing a global revitalization of Stieler’s ideas in the form of advertising, propaganda, public relations, as well as massive information subsidies and direct censorship, which have become effective strategies of pacifying public opinion. By justifying a free marketplace of ideas without societal, legal or governmental intervention, freedom of business and the priority of property rights now constitute common denominators and became the measure of other freedoms. Freedom of expression and the right to know are often the first casualties of state intervention, when censorship spreads beyond ethical obligations or professionally directed practice to become a legally sanctioned restriction. Both, unlimited freedom of ownership and state politics of self-preservation – particularly in the wake of terrorist attacks on the Unites States – have a profound effect on definitions of democracy. But limitations of press freedom also affect personal freedom of expression, and censorship becomes a condition of existence that affects the way individuals perceive the world and define their own predicaments.
Euricom invites participation in a three-day colloquium on censorship and democracy to address historical, political, and philosophical issues involving the tension between the conduct of censorship in its various manifestations and guarantees of freedom of expression in the context of a democratic way of life.