Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

Digital Journalism

For a Special Issue on

Journalism and Digital Authoritarianism

Abstract deadline
15 February 2024

Manuscript deadline
15 July 2024

Cover image - Digital Journalism

Special Issue Editor(s)

Basyouni Ibrahim Hamada, Department of Mass Communication, Qatar University, Qatar
[email protected]

Thomas Hanitzsch, LMU Munich, Germany
[email protected]

Winston Mano, University of Westminster, UK
[email protected]

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Journalism and Digital Authoritarianism

Authoritarianism in many contexts can be defined as the subjugation of one person or group by physical or persuasive means. Unlike power, which is both political and reliant on force and persuasion to achieve its objectives, authoritarianism compels obedience without question. Authoritarianism takes away freedoms and silences dissenting views. This is why it is urgent to investigate how authoritarianism is advancing in multiple ways, especially in the way authoritarianism intersects with journalism and the media.

After the end of the Cold War, researchers welcomed affordances of digital technologies for their potential to empower access to information, human rights, freedom of expression, and aid opposition groups in their struggles against authoritarian governments. Partly in response, digital authoritarianism (DA), defined as the deployment of digital technologies by authoritarian rulers, has emerged as a means to perpetuate illiberal and dictatorial governments through tools such as mass surveillance, cyber operations, and new forms of censorship. Even developed democracies are also not immune to the influence of DA.

While journalists, activists, and marginalized voices are subject to various forms of bullying, harassment, and surveillance, it is arguably the same digital technologies that were behind the Arab Spring revolutions and several other reform movements worldwide. This seemingly paradoxical development was put in the focus of Freedom House’s 2018 report recognizing the expansion of digital authoritarianism.

This special issue of Digital Journalism puts the spotlight on the interplay of journalism, authoritarianism, and digital affordances. We invite submissions focusing on journalism and digital authoritarianism.

Relevant topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • History of digital authoritarianism, journalism, and communicative power
  • AI and journalism in authoritarian contexts
  • Disinformation, propaganda, and journalism in authoritarian contexts
  • Authoritarian rule and alternative voices in digital environments
  • Digital authoritarianism and the rise of technopopulism
  • Approaches and methodologies for examining DA
  • Authoritarian rule and digital 'media capture'

Submission Instructions

Abstract submissions (500 words, excluding references, indicating the research question(s)/hypotheses, theoretical framework, and methodology) are to be sent to: Basyouni Hamada ([email protected])

Full papers are expected to be between 8,000 and 9,000 words long, including references, tables, figures, and supplementary materials.

Abstract submission deadline: 

February 15, 2024

Notification on submitted abstracts:

March 15, 2024

Article submission deadline: 

July 15, 2024

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article