This is the final round of panels organized by the Politics 2.0 conference in London. The title of one presentation in particular caught my interest: “Web 2.0 and Political Conflict: Can News Blogs Strengthen Democracy through Conflict Prevention?” by Maria Touri at the University of Leicester.
Blogs provide an alternative source of news and some scholars argue that they democratize the news media system by enabling individuals to establish an online presence and to involve themselves in networked expression of opinion knowledge. To citizens, some can effectively emerge from the spectating audience as a player and a maker of meaning. Can citizen journalists contribute to conflict prevention?
Touri draws on three components of framing to explore her research question: news framing, procedural framing and substantive framing. News framing addresses the selection/exclusion and salience of information. News stories become a platform for framing contests where political actors compete by sponsoring their preferred meanings. Blogs can therefore be a source of power. This is mediated by the cultural congruence of the frames and media-government power relations. Procedural framing is the process and politics of decision-making. In other others, procedural framing determines which aspect of specific event is being emphasized. Substantive framing is the vehicle by which decisions are justified.
Touri argues that these framing processes can combine to raise the domestic costs of conflict and war. Will perpetual blogs lead to Kant’s notion of perpetual peace? I think this remains to be seen.