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Last updated: Version 2.3 (Updated May 15, 2018).

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Wednesday, May 16 • 11:30 - 11:55
Killing me softly with his vote: populism and the use digital mass communication to undermine the legitimacy of the judiciary

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For this session we will bring together experts from different countries in different continents to provide cross-country insights and discuss the role of ICTs’ in fostering populism. The specific focus will be paid to judiciary power being confronted by populist groups all over the world. Such confrontation usually takes the form of either a representation claim (questioning the legitimacy of judges themselves) or a political claim (questioning the inconsistency of judicial opinions). Activism might be, thus, fueling the populist discourse. The role of ICTs in the dissemination of populism is not fully explored. Their potential for contributing to the crisis of legitimate representation is enormous due to fast dissemination of thoroughly constructed messages to a broad audience. Using ICTs both populists groups and judges can create an effect of increased visibility. Populists in many countries and circumstances have been trying to foster the idea that elected representatives are invested in more qualified, at times higher powers than judges. At the same time, judges may tend to use the opposite rhetoric of “us against the establishment”, thus trying to turn negative media coverage to their advantage. In order to retain mass support and trust into judiciary, some judges also actively present themselves as channeling popular sentiment and speaking for the true interests of the people.The volumes of information, of which only a smaller part is of truly high quality, generate a trust crisis. Even though populism is a world-wide phenomenon, some countries achieve the perfection in practicing it to the extent that it becomes the mainstream communication policy. Given that, the winning strategy for a judge is to present himself/herself as a stand-alone figure, independent from institutions, but acting according to standards of ethics and good faith. By speaking their minds through online media, judges send signals about what future decisions might look like, potentially shaping the behavior of actors outside the court. Each participant shall describe the situation as seen from his country in 5 minutes. Interventions and clarifications are expected as part of the debate. Taking that into consideration, 30-35 minutes will have been used. The remaining time would be open to participants, both attending onsite and remote ones, in an attempt to confirm the observations, to find common aspects, points of touch, discrepancies and even eventual inconsistencies in the main idea of the debate.

avatar for Cláudio Lucena

Cláudio Lucena

Professor/Researcher, UEPB, Brazil/FCT and Católica Global, Portugal
Claudio Lucena is a Professor and the former Dean of the Law Faculty at Paraíba State University, UEPB, in Brazil, and a researcher for the Portuguese Government Agency Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, affiliated with the Research Center for the Future of Law, Universidade... Read More →


Wednesday May 16, 2018 11:30 - 11:55 EDT
Village Main Stage