Jan Urban, journalist and disident, met with RMSSP students to discuss media and democracy


On March 14, RMSSP students welcomed Jan Urban, journalist and one of the leading figures of Czech dissent.  

The deliberation started with an overview of the influence of technological innovations on journalism. According to Mr. Urban, this influence is rather negative because it forces journalists to make news shorter and more emotional. The change of the format of media information leads also to degradation of the audience. Nowadays the society is more tend to be divided into social bubbles, which are not able to understand each other. This situation poses a serious threat to democratic systems. 

The specific features of Czech media landscape were also discussed. Mr. Urban pointed out that aside from the usual problems with finances, the influence of the owners and lack of continuity, the key problem lays in fundaments of Czech society. Its homogeneity and lack of historical self-awareness make it more vulnerable to uncertainties which we are facing now.

Presented opinions induced vivid discussion. It was mentioned that modern technologies can also have a positive effect on public debate. Mr. Urban admitted that it can happen, but warned of too optimistic appraisal of the situation and noted that a great uncertainty remains in the current rapid development.  

The situation in Czech media was also discussed in detail. Mr. Urban shared with RMSSP students his personal experience that cleared up the current very difficult position of journalists.

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