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Title: The politics of anonymity : Poland's media discourse on anonymous communication online
Author: Trytko, K.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6352 3570
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2016
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Online anonymity has been an important element in scholarly debates on the role of the internet in modern day democracy. Proponents of the right to anonymity argue that it helps secure users' privacy, autonomy and freedom of speech. Critics, on the other hand, see the act of withdrawing identity information as a way to limit or avoid responsibility for one's actions. Despite large amount of evidence that the role of anonymity on the internet is diverse and context sensitive, researchers have observed a unidirectional trend towards its limitation or even complete elimination. The process, which might be called de-anonymisation of online spaces, is influenced by what Lessig (2006) described as four main forces shaping internet’s architecture: law, technology, market and social norms. But it also features at the level of discourse, which so far has received very little academic attention. The meanings, values and power struggles underlying the debate on online anonymity have also been largely ignored in Central and Eastern European contexts. In order to close this gap, this study examines a case from Poland, in which an identity of an anonymous blogger was revealed by a mainstream newspaper. It also investigates the broader characteristics of the coverage of online anonymity in the Polish press. By employing content and discourse analyses, and drawing on the work of critical internet scholars, it offers first empirical evidence that newspapers in Poland can be agents of de-anonymisation. Specifically, the findings reveal the debate on online anonymity is characterised by four key conflicts: 1) a conflict over the status of journalists and internet users in online deliberation; 2) a conflict over the vision of the digital public sphere; 3) a conflict over Poland's democratisation process; and 4) a conflict of values underlying perceptions of online anonymity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available