28 January 2020

EFC and Eurozine Meeting – Confronting disinformation, disintegration and the erosion of democracy: The role of cultural journals

The EFC and Eurozine will jointly host a meeting on the role of cultural journals in the area of democracy on 28 January in Philanthropy House, Brussels.

The world of cultural journals is highly diverse in terms of content, genres, worldviews, languages, audiences and formats. A recent study identifies over 3,800 journals, mostly print or both print and online, with above-average numbers in France and Nordic countries. Quality, according to the authors of the study, is part of the very definition of cultural journals: the specific role of cultural journals in the media landscape and society at large is “to provide analysis that is not caught up in the immediacy of current events, but is quicker and more accessible than academic publications, stressing their self-reflective nature. They provide in-depth, critical analysis and complementary perspectives on a regular basis.

The very specific nature of cultural journals is expanding the media landscape, addressing specific audiences, experimenting with format and introducing alternative perspectives. Cultural journals provide an important space for reflection and support a critical and self-reflective public.”1 They are part of the broader landscape of independent media, 2 which includes dozens of media formats including podcasts, TV and radio stations, online video channels, magazines, websites, blogs and more. Together with commercial media and public service media, they make up the “fourth estate” which is a prerequisite for any functioning liberal democracy.

The workshop will bring together editors of cultural journals and representatives of philanthropy with an aim to better understand each other’s role in supporting democracy and explore potential synergies. The meeting will address the following questions:

  • What are cultural journals and in what contexts do they function?
  • What are the main challenges?
  • What is the case for support for independent media in Europe?
  • What kind of environment do we need to maintain in order for cultural journals and independent media to fulfil their roles?
  • In the context of the need for a European public sphere: In how far do national independent media cooperate on the national and European levels? What is the current state of independent European media that target a European readership?
  • How to address the issues of disinformation and the increasing role of online platforms/social media?
  • Is there a role for philanthropy to play in this context?

For more information contact Jennifer Fitzsimons.