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The Populist Communication Paradox of PEGDIA: Between “Lying Press” and Journalistic Sources
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Media and Journalism.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2017-1117
University of Bamberg, Germany.
2016 (English)In: Presented at the 66th annual ICA conference "Communicating with power". Fukuoka, Japan, 9-13 june. Preconference: Populism in, by, and Against the Media, 2016Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In the end of 2014 a protest movement called “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the Occident” (German abbreviation: PEGIDA) caused public conflicts (Kepplinger, 2009) about Islamization as well as about the question if PEGIDA is a racist organization. Though PEGIDA was a major issue in German media coverage, there was only one official media appearance of a PEGIDA spokesperson in the TV talk show Günther Jauch on January the 18th 2015 (Das Erste, 2015). Since its founding PEGIDA officially refused to talk to journalists as the movement denounced all established media as “lying press” (German: “Lügenpresse”). Branches of PEGIDA in other countries follow the same pattern and communicate with members and the public mainly through their official facebook pages. This basically means that PEGIDA leaders do not focus on mass media communication, for example by using press statements or organizing press conferences.

Tsfati & Cohen (2003) define media skepticism as a sense of “alienation and mistrust toward the mainstream media” which involves the “feeling that journalists are not fair or objective in their reports about society and that they do not always tell the whole story” (p. 67) and that mainstream journalists “will sacrifice accuracy and precision for personal and commercial gains” (p. 67). Media criticism of a skeptic brand is therefore quite different from other types of criticism, where the focus is primarily on criticising for the sake of “improving” the quality of various aspects of media work or products. However, if certain groups in society choose to abstain from participation in the mainstream platforms of public discourse (the “agora”) and instead entrench themselves in “counter-public spheres” (Downey & Fenton, 2003) where discourses of alienation and mistrust in conventional democratic channels are fostered and amplified, it can be deeply problematic from a democratic perspective. (Sunstein, 2007).

Against this background we interpret the recent occurrence of a plethora of alternative media platforms that are outspokenly anti-mainstream media and that also promote populist and/or far right movements or parties. In Sweden sites like Avpixlat.info, Friatider.se, and in Germany pi-news.net and metropolico.org (former Blu-NEWS) have become increasingly bold in their discourse and also show signs of increasing reach in readership (Borgs, 2015). In this paper, we want to look into how the PEGIDA movement relates to both mainstream media and alternative right wing media in their official communication with readers and the public through their facebook posts. This paper analyses PEGIDA in Germany, Sweden, Norway and Austria.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016.
Keyword [en]
media criticism, media skepticism, lügenpresse, PEGIDA, facebook
National Category
Media Studies
Research subject
Media Studies and Journalism, Media and Communication Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-57366OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-57366DiVA: diva2:1034557
Conference
The 66th annual ICA conference "Communicating with power". Fukuoka, Japan, 9-13 june. Preconference: Populism in, by, and Against the Media
Available from: 2016-10-12 Created: 2016-10-12 Last updated: 2016-10-19Bibliographically approved

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