ACCOUNTABILITY FOR PUBLICATION IN THE INFORMATION AGE
A basic assumption of this article is that the concept of media accountability, while inescapable, is still both problematic and insufficiently worked out. It is also used in a mistaken or too restricted way (for instance as meaning control or greater responsibility). We still need to map out, characterize, compare and evaluate the main meanings and forms of media accountability, as a contribution towards practical proposals and policies for handling claims and counter-claims about public uses of communication. It is also an assumption that accountability has value in itself. Accountable communication exists where ‘authors' (originators, sources or gatekeepers) take responsibility for the quality and consequences of the publication, orient themselves to audiences and others affected, respond to their expectations and those of the wider society. This is not a definition of ‘free communication, but neither is it incompatible with possible definitions of freedom. The potential obstacles to accountable mass media publication are numerous and varied, but not least amongst them are the unlikely bedfellows of commercial entanglement and libertarian dogma.
DEMOCRACY AND THE MEDIA
This article is mainly concerned with how the media should serve democracy – with the way it ought to be rather than the way it is. Its account comes out of a mounting sense of dissatisfaction with the limitations of traditional understandings of the democratic role of the media. These mostly derive from the distant past. They downplay the role of social groups, political parties, civil society, ideology and globalisation, and therefore seem disconnected from how contemporary democracy works. They are also narrowly preoccupied with political journalism, and have little to say about the democratic significance of media fiction and entertainment – the content that accounts for most of what people consume in the media most of the time. This essay does not discuss in any detail how the requirements of the market and the requirements of democracy conflict. It considers that market pressures create pressure for public affairs journalism to contract, for international affairs to be covered less extensively (unless it involves military action), for economies to be made in investigative journalism, and for audiences to be entertained through being made indignant, and consequently for the weak and marginal to be bullied and denigrated.
INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGIES AND THE SOCIOLOGY OF THE FUTURE
This article explores the social impact of new information and communication technologies (ICTs). It argues that they are best understood, not as heralding a substantially new ‘information society', but as significant technologies emerging in but inherently part of late modernity. This argument is developed by examining themes from post-materialism, globalisation, and information society theories. It is suggested there are two types of technology, those changing and extending existing processes and those facilitating wholly new activities, and that recent innovations in information and communication technology are rather better construed as the former. By examining empirically questions of identity, inequality, power, and change the recent and future impact of ICTs is explored, and it is argued that current trends suggest increasing convergence (economic and organisational as much as technological), differentiation, and deregulation.
THE PRES AS A SOURCE OF HISTORY: NEWSPAPERS, ACTUALITY AND HISTORICAL RESEARCH
Based on the ascertainment that contemporary history constitutes an important factor regarding the interpretation of current developments, this paper is focused on the importance and necessity of interdisciplinary approach in media history, especially of the printed press through the adoption of research tools and methods used in the empirical sociology and communication research. For example, the newspaper as a mass medium demands from the historian to understand not only sufficiently its grammar and the norms of functioning, but also it asks from the historian to seek for new ways in terms of analysis, methodology and interpretation of the media during certain periods and processes of the History. This paper, without overlooking the historical dimension of this issue, attempts to discuss the basic criteria, methods and problems that arise of such an interdisciplinary mission, which in Greece specifically is found still in the beginning.
THE SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT OF RADIO: REDUCTION OF OPEN SOCIETY AND CULTURAL NATIONALISM
In the case of Greek radio, we examine a key feature in the sociology of mass communications: the social causes and processes for the development of a new medium. According to the approach which the analysis undertakes, the (Greek) radio was developed in close relation to the reduction of open society, which had begun at the end of 19 th century. The reduction of open society played a crucial role because radio represents an economy of scale as well as a mean for the formation of a more detailed common national culture. This was the reason for the large intervention of state in radio affairs and of the decrease of private station in favor of state-owned radio stations in Europe as well as in Greece . At the same time and for the same reason, radio became a crucial factor in the development of cultural-nationalistic patterns not only in the field of ideology but also in politics, arts and other cultural forms. These patterns prevailed for a long period in Greek society, which means that radio can be understated not only as a product but also as “producer” of the concentrated society of earlier modernity.
VIRTUAL REALITY: A NEW TYPE OF HUMAN-COMPUTER INTERFACE OR A NEW MEDIUM FOR
This article studies the human aspect of experiencing interaction within a virtual environment (VE) in order to identify the nature of this experience and to investigate whether virtual reality (VR) systems are not merely a convergence of technologies, supporting an advanced type of human – computer interface, but can be considered as a new medium for communication. The experience of a VE is a kind of «telepresence» and a VE is seen as an intuitive interface system, which mediates our experience of communicating with the environment and with others. Single-user VEs are systems that support human-computer communication while multi-user VEs support synchronous mediated communication amongst remotely located individuals
WEBPAGES OF MEMBERS OF THE HELLENIC PARLIAMENT AT THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN OF 2004
Nicos Demertzis, Ageliki Gazi, Katerina Diamantaki, Nektarios Sartzetakis
In Greece , as in most western countries, the use of internet is considered an integral part of the development and design of an electoral campaign. The present research project explores the ways in which Greek parliament members utilized this new medium during the pre-election period prior to the March 7 th 2004 national elections. The personal web-pages of 57 parliament members were evaluated from the period of February 15 th to March 5 th 2004 . The analysis of this data suggests that the utilization of electronic political marketing by Greek parliament members does not overturn the existing inequalities among them. On the contrary, it enhances the inequalities that are apparent on the basis of criteria such as center-periphery, the order of election, and the possession of office.
THE COVERAGE OF EUROPEAN UNION BY THE GREEK JOURNALISTS
Sophia Theodosiadou, Ioanna Kostarella, Georgios Tsantopoulos
The aim of this paper is to present the way European issues become part of the journalist's agenda of the Greek press and television and seeks to explore systematically the factors that shape European news content. It is clear that in this procedure journalists play an important part as their work contribute mainly to the shaping of public opinion. This study is a first attempt to sketch the current situation as far as the coverage of European issues is concerned. The method used for this study is the structured questionnaire that was sent to senior editors and editors in chief of international news departments of national television channels and national newspapers. The questionnaire focused on the following thematic units: a) The structure of the international news department b) Selection criteria and sources of European news c) Agenda – setting and its influence on the selection of news d) New technology and European news. Both a qualitative and a quantitative analysis were used to explain the results of the questionnaires.