The study focuses upon ‘city public groups’ (‘gorodskie pabliki’, local newsgroups on social networking sites) – the new entrants in the local media space of the Russian province that have recently become important actors of regional public communication. Such groups combine news posting and citizen discussions, report on local affairs and gossip, and entertain. Some groups are based on user-generated content; others create their own content or act as aggregators. Being non-registered and grassroots initiatives, these media enjoy higher freedom in comparison to official local newsrooms.
Given the popularity of city public groups among local citizens and local authorities’ interest toward them, owners and moderators of these media are playing an influential role for local mediated discourse. Based on the gatekeeping theory and its extensions for digital space, this paper explores the emerging roles of these new gatekeepers in the local communities. Based upon 28 in-depth interviews collected by the author in Russian towns in 2017 to 2018, the paper also analyses the professional norms and values of the owners and moderators of local city groups that they employ to perform their gatekeeping function.
Today, internet provides opportunities for solidarization and collective action to initiative groups of social movements, including those of high degree of radicalism. For radical groups, language continues to be a crucial instrument through which social movements influence public attitudes. In this article, we analyze discursive strategies that the radical social movement (RSM) of Russian lesbian feminism uses to shape its image among the out-group and in-group publics. To identify the strategies of RSM self-representation, we employ semi-structured interviewing, qualitative content analysis, discourse analysis, and semantic network visualization. We find that, in a hostile anti-LGBT legal and discursive environment, self-representation of lesbian feminists is mostly linked to issues of aggression, violence, and systemic social, political, and legal constraints, unlike in the United States; it is also based on separation from the wider society and dehumanization of bearers of patriarchal views.
Availability of alternative information is often said to induce social discontent and to give rise to protest forms of political participation. But does this relation really exist, and is it universal? In contrast to previous studies, where generalized Internet use is most often a proxy for online information consumption and general political participation is a proxy for protest participation, we render a test of relationship specifically between online news consumption and protest participation. We explore self-reported cross-sectional data for 48 nations. The analysis provides empirical evidence that the likelihood of individual protest participation is positively associated with online news consumption. The study also shows that the magnitude of the effect varies depending on a political context: surprisingly, despite total control offline as well as online media, autocratic countries demonstrated effects of online news higher than in hybrid regimes where civilians usually have the access to Internet media that provide information which is alternative to the pro-government news agenda.