Do you have a favourite example of media activism? Which political group best illustrates the potential of media activism in your opinion?
There are many examples. But since I have also been involved with indigenous media for many years, the example of the Zapatistas in Mexico and how they globalized their struggle for human and land rights with the help of national and international support and solidarity networks and various forms of early Internet communication is particularly interesting for me. Thus, despite state-controlled media, the Zapatistas managed to develop from a regional indigenous movement into an internationally acclaimed social movement and a global media phenomenon.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of media activism?
Media activism is a part of activist practices that can be successful or less successful. Social media, for example, offer wonderful opportunities for networking and distributing content, but also allow state institutions to monitor and/or manipulate activists. It is important to keep this media ambivalence in mind.
What is the aim of the seminar?
Students will get an insight into the phenomenon of media activism by means of different case studies. They learn about the connections to other phenomena and topics as well as a variety of theoretical concepts and concrete methodical approaches that support them in critically dealing with the topic.
What other projects are planned for your course? Will your students also be engaged in practical projects?
In this course, students are given the opportunity to work on topics independently, to present them and to summarize their results in a final text. In the coming weeks, students will give presentations on the role of Instagram in the "Black Lives Matter" movement, as well as on the current situation of the Zapatistas, an indigenous-initiated social movement in Mexico that already in the mid-1990s relied heavily on global support networks and the Internet.
In addition to student projects, we will get to know and discuss further media activist case studies and related theoretical concepts and methodological approaches, from Anonymous and the Indignados movement to indigenous media initiatives as a form of cultural activism.
Dr. Budka, many thanks for the interview and we wish you all the best for the current semester.
This text has been translated from German into English. You can find the original interview here.