Media Activism as Movement? Collective Identity Formation in the World Forum of Free Media

Stephansen, H.C. 2017. Media Activism as Movement? Collective Identity Formation in the World Forum of Free Media. Media and Communication. 5 (3), pp. 59-66. doi:10.17645/mac.v5i3.1034

TitleMedia Activism as Movement? Collective Identity Formation in the World Forum of Free Media
TypeJournal article
AuthorsStephansen, H.C.
Abstract

More than simply tools used by social movements to reach other substantive aims, media are increasingly becoming subjects of activism. This article contributes to advancing understanding of such media-focused activism through a case study of the World Forum of Free Media (FMML), a thematic forum for media activists and media advocacy organisations linked to the World Social Forum. Based on qualitative research conducted between 2008 and 2016 – including participant observation, in-depth interviews and textual analysis – the article critically explores the extent to which the FMML can be considered a ‘free media’ movement in the making, and examines some of the challenges and contradictions that such a movement-building project entails. Drawing on social movement theory, specifically the concept of collective identity, it analyses efforts by forum organisers to mobilise a very diverse range of actors – from alternative media activists to policy- and advocacy NGOs – around a plural and inclusive ‘free media’ identity. While the FMML has to some extent succeeded in facilitating convergence around a set of core principles and ideas, it has so far struggled to develop a clear outwards-facing identity and mobilise a broad grassroots base.

Keywordsalternative media
collective identity
communication rights
FMML
media activism
media democracy movement
social movements
World Forum of Free Media
World Social Forum
JournalMedia and Communication
Journal citation5 (3), pp. 59-66
ISSN2183-2439
Year2017
PublisherCogitatio Press
Publisher's versionMaC 5(3) - Media Activism as Movement? Collective Identity Formation in the World Forum of Free Media.pdf
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.17645/mac.v5i3.1034
Publication dates
Published22 Sep 2017
LicenseCC BY 4.0

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