Blessing or curse of the digital world – perceptions of online anonymity in Polish daily newspapers
(Notthingam Trent University, United Kingdom)
ABSTRACT: With the Internet`s political imporance on the rise, anonymous online deliberation has become a vital form of citizen participation in the public discourse. Proponents o the right to anonymity argue that it helps secure users’ privacy, autonomy and freedom of speech. Critics, on the other hand, maintain that anonymous content is usually offensive, deceptive and of little value. While the advantages and threats of online anonymity have been widely researched, little has been said about the role of the media in determining the future of anonymous communication. Through the analysis of 300 articles related to online anonymity, published in the Polish quality press, this paper explores how this contested issue is constructed in the Polish media discourse. It is argued that Polish newspapers paint a mostly negative and highly simplified picture of online anonymity which might have damaging consequences for online privacy and freedom of speech.