HFMK03314U FM, Module 2, Media, Genre and Aesthetics: Fake news, fake worlds: Media, populism and authoritarianism

Volume 2018/2019

Master in Film and Media Studies, 2016-curriculum


This seminar explores challenges and alternatives to democratic political communication in several contexts. On the one hand, we focus on populist political communication in liberal democracies. How do populist political actors (parties and leaders) adapt to the changing media and political environment and use social and traditional media to communicate with their supporters? What is fake news and why is it so prevalent in some media systems (e.g, in the US), but not in others (e.g., in Nordic countries). And how may fake news and populist communication may undermine and threaten the democratic performance of media?

On the other hand, we examine media politics in non-democratic regimes. How do authoritarian elites build pro-government media systems and “fake worlds” in the digital era in Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, China or Turkey? What is the role of media control and “public opinion management” in maintaining authoritarian systems? At the level of global media, we also analyze the soft power efforts of non-democratic actors in online media and satellite television.

The course touches upon political journalism and news in social media as well as traditional media; political marketing and campaign strategies; the political economy of media markets and ownership; and censorship and propaganda. Some aspects of popular media culture (e.g., comedy talk shows) are also explored from a political perspective. Special attention is given to the phenomena of the “post-truth world”: fake news, strategic disinformation, alternative realities, and other recent challenges to democratic media in the 21st century. Finally, we consider potential strategies that may be formulated in defense of media freedom, media pluralism, and democratic communication.

Learning Outcome

Master in Film and Media Studies 2016-curriculum:
Module 2: Media, Genre and Aesthetics: HFMK03311E


  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 56
  • Course Preparation
  • 353,5
  • Total
  • 409,5
Type of assessment
The exam will be conducted in English
Criteria for exam assesment