Recent Discussion in Helsinki: Mass Media and the Rise of Populism

It seems like a universal phenomenon – politicians and parties are attracting support by creating confrontations in what can be termed “populist” politics. The legacy of populism is increasingly visible across more and less democratic countries. While Venezuela is under transition following the end of Hugo Chávez’s populist-authoritarian regime, the EU and the USA have witnessed two major events linked with populism: the Brexit vote and the Republican presidential nomination of Donald Trump.

How can this seemingly global phenomenon be understood or explained in the context of the mass media? Can the media be seen as an instrument of populism or as a force against it? Does the role of the mass media in populist politics vary according to how democratic or controlled it is? Or is populism merely a new buzzword used to denigrate more radical parties?

Discussing World Politics organized an open discussion about these questions on the 1st of November, 18:00 in the bookstore Antikvariaatti Sofia.

Our guest speakers were:

• Virpi Salojärvi, post-doctoral researcher in media and communication studies, University of Helsinki
• Marco Siddi, senior research fellow, the Finnish Institute of International Affairs

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