Digital Challenges
Centre Marc Bloch
Mittwoch, 8. Mai 2019

Digital Challenges: Polarized Public Spheres and Disinformation in European Democracies

Panel Discussion

Roundtable with Clara Iglesias Keller (HIIG / Rio de Janeiro State University), Julia Pohle (WZB), Cornelius Puschmann (Hans-Bredow-Institut Hamburg) and Camille Roth (CNRS / CMB).

Moderation: Christian Mihr (Reporter ohne Grenzen)

Digital spaces have progressively become a significant part of the public space as a whole, and the dynamics of deliberation, communication and information in these spaces are key to understanding contemporary political and democratic processes.

The specificities of digital spaces in comparison to their offline counterparts are a recurrent topic of academic, political and public debate: While some experts and observers argue that the Internet is a haven for heterodox positions absent from the offline public sphere, others discuss the effects of digital platforms on the reproduction of classical power relations. Yet of increasingly central concern to many is the extent to which the digitalization of political discussions may facilitate or hamper democratic deliberation. In view of possible policy implications, particular attention is paid to the risks related to so-called filter bubbles and the circulation of unreliable and false information, and to the effects they may have on the potential fragmentation and increasing polarization of the digital sphere.

In the run-up to the European elections, this roundtable with experts from Europe and beyond will shed light on the challenges related to deliberation in online spaces, disinformation and an algorithmic public sphere. It unpacks technical and societal questions involved and discusses existing policy measures and possible alternatives.