Authoritarianism Symposium: Power/Resistance

The following images, videos and transcripts were taken during the Center for Media at Risk annual  symposium on December 6, 2019 at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. Thank you to all participants, interlocutors and the student steering committee for making this event a success! 

How do the media operate in authoritarian states?  This symposium addressed the many shapes of global authoritarianism as it impedes the media, considered forms of resistance common to media practitioners and pondered media futures amidst rising authoritarian trends.


Opening remarks:

John L. Jackson, Jr., Walter H. Annenberg Dean

Barbie Zelizer, Center for Media at Risk Director


What obstructs and constrains autonomous media practice?

Federico Finchelstein: Populism, Fascism and the New Media Landscape

Maryam Al-Khawaja: Media in Times of Revolution

Cas Mudde: The Media and Populism: A Complex Relationship

Moderated by Francois Heinderyckx


How do apathetic media environments embolden authoritarian states?

Jan-Werner Mueller: On the Populist Art of Governance

Melissa Chan: China’s Media Strategy: Legitimate Soft Power Campaigns or Influence Operation?

Keith Gessen: Against “Authoritarianism”: A Critique of the Concept of Being “Unfree”

Moderated by Natalia Roudakova


How might the media position themselves more productively in the authoritarian power/resistance nexus?

Elizabeth Jelin: Communication Strategies of Popular Movements as Resistance and Defiance

Farida Nabourema: Citizen Journalism: A Response to Media Coercion Under Authoritarian Regimes

Maria Ressa: Fighting Back with Data

Moderated by Silvio Waisbord