Mirko Tobias Schäfer / Assistant Professor
University of Utrecht Department for Media and Culture Studies

News in a Multipolar World


The young 21st century shows profound geo-political transformations. A recent report by the World Bank emphasizes that new players in global economies and politics shape a multipolar world. This new world order is not only characterized by a shift of economic power but also by a shift towards alternative and different world views. Throughout the second half of the 20th century Western media, especially the anglo-american representation of the world has been dominant. It becomes explicit now, that this Western worldview is expanded with a different framing of world politics and promotion of different values. Al Jazeera has been pioneering the constitution of a pan-Arab media space, satellite television connects migrant communities throughout the globe, internet technology in Brazil is used to support a variety of radio programs and China undertakes significant efforts to establish a global media system. In our symposium we want to make a first step to liberate us from our stifling Euro-centered worldview and face the variety of values and views of a multipolar world. This symposium provides the opportunity to meet experts who will present case studies of the new players -big and small- that represent and shape different worldviews

News in a Multipolar World is organized in collaboration with the Master New Media and Digital Culture of the Utrecht University. Like all other festival programs, the language will be English.

12.00 Words of welcome by Ann-Sophie Lehmann (Program Director MA New Media & Digital Culture) & Mirko Tobias Schaefer (Assistent Professor, MA New Media & Digital Culture)

12.15 The Changing Arab Media Space: The Impact of the “Arab Spring”

Fadi Salem (United Arab Emirates)
Salam is the Director of the Governance and Innovation Program, and Fellow, at the Dubai School of Government (DSG). His areas of expertise include new models of governance and citizen engagement, and their impact on social development, including ICT and reform, e-government, social media and citizen participation in the Arab region. He is the author of numerous publications, including the Arab Social Media Report series and the recently published From Electronic Government to Information Government book in Arabic.

13.00 News Media in Russia

Ilya Kiriya (Russia)
Kiriya holds a PhD in philology (Moscow University) and in communication science (Grenoble University, France), professor of Dept. of media communications at National research university – Higher School of Economics in Moscow. He is teaching history and theory of media and analizing social factors and connections between development of societies, economy, political life and media..

13.45 Break

14.15  Breaking News: From India and Bharat

Parmesh Shahani (India)
This year, Parmesh Shahani is the Centre for Humanities Festival Fellow and embodies the cross pollination between the Utrecht University and the Impakt Festival. heads the Godrej India Culture Lab – a space that aims to interrogate the textured nature of Indian modernity by cross-pollinating the best minds working on India from across the academic, creative and corporate worlds. In addition, he is a TED Fellow and MIT Fellow.

15.00 The Great Escape? Chinese Worlds Online

Zafka Zhang (China)
Zhang is the co-founder of China Youthology, a boutique consultancy that works on consumer insights for marketing targeting Chinese youth. He was also the head of research at HiPiHi (a leading Chinese virtual world platform), a lead adviser for the Association of Virtual Worlds and he is a bona fide expert on Chinese subcultures, music, art, and digital marketing.

15.45 Paneldiscussion and conclusion

More Information
Date & Time: 26 October 2012,  12:00 - 16:30
Where: Theater Kikker Grote Zaal/Main Hall
Price:  €5
Ticket: Buy your ticket online

Further Reading and Viewing


The Arab Media Space

Arab Social Media Report series

Aljazeera Listening Post: Are Middle Eastern news channels covering the Syrian crisis merely reflecting their own countries' foreign policies? (video)

Social Media and the Arab Revolts

News Media in Russia

The Web that failed: How opposition politics and independent initiatives are failing on the internet in Russia, by Fossato, Floriana, Llody, John, Verkhovsky, Alexander. Oxford, UK: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, 2008 http://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/fileadmin/documents/Publications/The_Web_that_Failed.pdf (pdf)

Public discourse in the Russian blogosphere: Mapping RuNet politics and mobilization by Etling, B. et al. Harvard, MA: Berkman Center for Internet and Society, 2010 http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/sites/cyber.law.harvard.edu/files/Public_Discourse_in_the_Russian_Blogosphere_2010.pdf

Date October 2012 Category News

I will chair the forthcoming Impakt symposium News in a Multipolar World. The NMDC research programme is co-hosting the symposium with the Impakt Festival. Referring to this year's festival topic "No More Westerns" we focus on the transformation of news through the emergence of new players -big and small- in representing the world's events. A line up of leading experts will present case examples of emerging media systems and media practises in China, India, the Arab World and Russia. (Photo by Paul Keller)

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