Professor Lilie Chouliaraki from London School of Economics and Political Science delivered a keynote speech in NordMedia 2017 conference. Chouliaraki argues that migrant selfies has moral importance that we should not underestimate, but take very seriously.
The main auditorium of the University of Tampere was crowded when Lilie Chouliaraki started her keynote lecture in NordMedia 2017 conference. Under the topic Selfie and the ethics of the face, Chouliaraki discussed refugee self-representation.
According to Chouliaraki, selfies are usually judged as a banal everyday activity. However, considering selfies to be narcissistic or self-centered is already a moral evaluation. For Chouliaraki, this is not the only approach to selfies. For her migrant selfies are in particular interest, because they show us the most vulnerable side of humanity.
“– refugees who have just arrived at the Greek islands after a dangerous crossing at the Mediterranean are particularly important because they confront us with a claim to survival”, Chouliaraki says.
However, now we do not see those joyous selfies in media.
The changing role of journalists and media
Digital media complicates our lives and effects on the role of the media.
“I think the biggest significant change is the fact that today we can see conflict, not only from the perspective of the journalist but we can hear and see the conflict from the perspective of everyone who is involved there”, Chouliaraki says.
Whether it is a civilian with a mobile phone or a militant with a helmet camera, different perspectives on conflicts are nowadays easy to access.
“On the one hand it is great but on the other hand not so great, because how do we know what we see is truth as we used to believe it was? How do we know it is not manufactured?”
Currently, Lilie Chouliaraki is finalizing a book manuscript on what she calls ‘flesh witnessing’ – the participants of conflicts telling their own stories.
“ISIS itself is a ‘flesh witnesses’ as well, because they use their own digital skills to report the wars they take place in their own words”, she argues.
Listen to the full interview on SoundCloud.
The keynote lecture by Lilie Chouliaraki, Witnessing conflict today
Helky Kouri and Aino Saarenmaa