Call for abstract

The ethics of communication at the turn of artificial intelligence is the theme of the VIII Media Ethics Conference, which will take place on July 9, 10, 11 and 12, 2024, at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Coimbra. The first two days of the program will be dedicated to online communications and the last two to face-to-face communications and conferences.

The Media Ethics Conference is a project of the Intracom Network, which brings together communication ethics researchers in Europe and Latin America. The organization of the VIII Media Ethics Conference is the result of a partnership between the Portuguese universities of Coimbra and Minho (Braga), the Federal University of Santa Catarina, in Brazil, and the University of Seville, in Spain.

 The theme of the congress is intended to welcome reflections on the crisis of mediation, the crisis of the media and the crisis of democracy, at a paradoxical time when we have the possibility of global communication and unprecedented modes of civic participation. The most varied communicative and political drifts in the contemporary public space give expression to this crisis: information bubbles, disinformation, denialism, hate speech, populism and new authoritarianisms.

Since communication processes are essential for democracies, there is an urgent need to think about a communicative ethic that responds to changes in the media ecosystem and artificial intelligence. What communicative ethics for the media, journalism and information in a social context that is increasingly technologically mediated, datified and, at the same time, diverse, plural, globalized and fragmented? 

The transformations of the media ecosystem, associated with new forms of work organization in the context of the so-called new capitalism (Sennett, 2000; 2006) and liquid societies (Bauman 2005) have an impact on the socio-professional ethos of communication workers (Deuze 2005; Deuze & Witschge, 2017) and on the construction of a new citizenship, made up of subjects with different communication habits and information systems.

In the case of journalism, the ongoing transformations have called for new concepts such as transparency (Fengler & Speck, 2019; Heim & Craft, 2020.) and commitment (Ward, 2019a; 2019b). In his studies on deontology, Hugo Aznar even speaks of second-generation codes of ethics.

In these contexts, can we think of a new ethic for a new professional and civic culture that is emerging? And what are the normative foundations of this ethic in the face of a socio-professional context marked by new business models that promote flexibility, precariousness and multifunctionality? To paraphrase Leonardo Boff, do we have to adopt a new perspective in order to think about a new ethics of communication, media, journalism and information?

In line with this problematization, the challenges of today's changing media ecosystem appear to be a vast field of approaches, from which we suggest the following thematic axes:

Thematic axes

  • Ethical issues of artificial intelligence and digital platforms.
  • Generative AI and ethical impacts.
  • New themes and new concepts for ethics in communication, journalism, the media and information.
  • The effects of new communication processes on the construction of identity.
  • New challenges for communication ethics: journalism, new media and digital transformation.
  • New niches, new models and working conditions in communication: ethical dilemmas.
  • Journalism and engagement in political and social causes: climate change, gender, minority rights, human rights...
  • Pluralism in communication and civic participation.
  • Communication ethics and interculturality.
  • Content analysis of communication codes of ethics and other self-regulation instruments.
  • Other topics related to the critical analysis of communication.

Communication proposals can be written in Portuguese, Spanish and English, the official languages of the Congress.

Bibliographical references

Bauman, Z. (2005). Ética posmoderna. Siglo.

Deuze, M. (2005). What is journalism? Professional identity and ideology of journalists reconsidered. Journalism 6 (4), 442-464. 

Deuze, M., & Witschge, T. (2017). Beyond journalism: Theorizing the transformation of journalism. Journalism, 19(2), 165-181.

Fengler, S., & Speck, D. (2019). Journalism and transparency: a mass communications perspective. In S. Berger & D. Owetschkin (Eds.), Contested transparencies, social movements and the public sphere: multidisciplinary perspectives (pp. 119-149). Springer International Publishing. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-23949-7_6

Heim, K., & Craft, S. (2020). Transparency in journalism: meanings, merits, and risks. InL. Wilkins & C. G. Christians (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of mass media ethics. Routledge. doi:10.4324/9781315545929-21

Sennett, R. (2000). La corrosión del carácter - Las consecuencias personales del trabajo en el nuevo capitalismo. Anagrama.

Sennett, R. (2006). La cultura del nuevo capitalismo. Anagrama.

Ward, S. J. A (2019a). Ethical journalism in a populist age - The democratically engaged journalist. London Rowman & Littlefield.

Ward, S. J. A. (2019b). Objectively engaged journalism - An ethic. McGill-Queen's: University Press.