Areas of Activity I: Politics and Society

Media Challenges in the Digital Era in Germany and Israel

The health of our democracies has come under attack. The project will bring together Israeli and German students to discuss current challenges facing democracies and to develop strategies and propose solutions to defend media and democracy in Israel and Germany. The participants will learn how to promote solutions through media in order to defend democratic institutions and norms.

Participants
15 students each and 2 instructors each from communication studies in both countries

Project Content
Free media and independent journalism have come under attack from political actors who actively exploit social media to spread disinformation and hate speech, while delegitimizing journalists and the media industry as a whole. The project wants to deal with these phenomena by bringing together students from Israel and Germany to study current challenges for free media and independent journalism and as such for democracy and democratic structures. Thereby, a joint seminar at Johannes Gutenberg University (JGU) Mainz and Hadassah Academic College (HAC) in Jerusalem will be initiated. The project participants will address the question of whether media, the so-called "fourth branch of government" and especially concerning its watch-dog function, is under threat and how citizens can protect and strengthen these democratic institutions in the current political climate. Finally, the collaborative projects will result in written and videoed projects that will be published online and promoted by the participating institutions to advance public discourse in both countries.

Project Working Methods
The project connects academic debate to practical aspects regarding the health of our democracies in the digital era. The project includes online discussions and lectures as well as excursions to Mainz and Jerusalem, which will be accompanied by visiting local media professionals, and visit news outlets. The outcome will yield publication of several media products (e.g., news items, posts, and short videos) in each country. These products will be published on the project's blog, in Hebrew, German and/or English for the general public.

Project Goals
The project aims to bring together young students, instructors, and journalists from both countries to discuss current challenges for democracies and media organizations. These students represent the future generation of journalists and politicians of each respective country. They will jointly offer solutions and best practices regarding the current challenges for democracies and media organizations.
Cooperation
The Department of Communication (Institut für Publizistik), at Johannes Gutenberg University (JGU) Mainz, Germany
The Department of Politics and Communication, Hadassah Academic College (HAC), Jerusalem, Israel