The influence of Media and the influence of New Technologies on Law: Socio-Legal Approach

04 May to 05 May

Coordinators: Iker Nabaskues Martínez de Eulate (University of the Basque Country/EHU, Department of Administrative, Constitutional and Philosophy of Law), Francisco Javier Fernández Galarreta (University of the Basque Country/ EHU, Department of Public Law)

Description of the meeting

The impact of the media, such as television, movies and the press, among others, on the citizen's perception of the law and of legal institutions and professions, is a debate that needs to be constantly updated. Likewise, the digital transformation and the incorporation of advanced technological in the field of the justice administration is a fact that has left no one indifferent. Therefore, on this congress, which is being held at the IISL of Oñati, we will try to analyze the impact that this new reality may have in the field of justice. The latest technological advances are here to stay and to provoke a profound transformation, not only in the administration of justice, but also in society as a whole. The adequacy and the celerity with which each country, each institution, each administration and each individual faces these changes will be the key to success in this new starting point.

For this reason, the workshop aims to open up new perspectives on the impact that communications media and new technologies have on various areas of justice.

Some of the issues to be discussed in relation to the topic of the workshop are as follows:

  • Popular narrative patterns through film: can the law be trusted?

A typical narrative pattern in law-related popular culture involves a problem-solving individual encountering and overcoming various obstacles. In many products such as films, TV series, or operas, the character of the protagonist develops in response to challenges. Witnessing this process, the audience is suggested a message on the nature of the law, legal personnel, and legal institutions, in the final analysis, if law can be trusted.

  • The impact of cinema, television and popular culture on the concept of justice and people´s attitude towards it

At the start of academic interest in law’s image in popular culture two simple alternative focuses could be observed. One simply raided film, television and fiction to find illustrations of legal concepts, principles and practice to enliven classical teaching. Another focus was on the role of “great” films or TV series in engendering an interest in law and justice. As interest developed amongst scholars theories were addressed in terms of what the actual nature and function of the study should be. This then engendered an interest in the impact of what these “law” films might be and empirical work emerged. A little later the academy broke away from the obsession with film and started to expand these questions into television. More recently the academic interest has also included “alternative” approaches to justice. The expansion into theory and empirical studies and the broadening of focus away from film has enriched the field. There is, however, a new problem. The radical changes in the nature of how popular culture is consumed in the 21st century poses major problems for any attempts to assess the impact of popular culture on people’s attitudes and actions. How scholars go forward and in which direction has to be addressed. Is it time for a revival of Vincenzo Tomeo and his pioneering approach or will the attraction of film criticism prove irresistible?

  • The need for hearings to be held in physical courtrooms in jury trials

Although the pandemic led courts to try jury trials using new technologies like Zoom, juries need to return to actual courtrooms.  Courtrooms are not only places where jury trials have traditionally been held but also, they provide a setting in which ordinary citizens are transformed into responsible jurors.  Citizens, who might be reluctant to serve, enter the courtroom and sense that their task will be out of the ordinary.  With each stage of the jury process, from voir dire to deliberations, they move from individual to group considerations.  This paper will explore why physical courtrooms are integral to this transformation.

  • Organized crime and the subversion of new technologies: their impact on sport´s corruption and gambling

The challenges of match fixing arise from the ease with which players, match officials and administrators can be accessed by criminal syndicates. Sports participants move around the world, meaning that match fixing transcends national boundaries, and the organized crime groups responsible are usually far removed from where the corrupted events are held. These groups rely on the international flow of data, money and people – flows which, in turn, are dependent on both the use and subversion of new technologies. The most effective responses demand an understanding of those technologies, and while criminal legal authorities have appreciated this, the sports industry has been much slower to act. This carries significant consequences for the vital global cooperation between the two.

  • Study of the social impact of hate speech exposure on the Internet

This paper approaches the study of the social impact of hate exposure on the Internet from a phenomenological perspective, making a legal-criminal approach to the incursion on the matter.

  • Analysis of new forms of cybercrimes: human trafficking

The following presentation aims to conduct a legal-criminal study about the impact of cybercrime on criminal law, with special attention to the crime of trafficking in human beings.

  • Analysis of the tensions between freedom of expression and the right "to be forgotten" of the convicted person, due to the widening of the scope of dissemination of his personal data by the irruption of ICT in the field of criminal intervention

In the field of penal intervention, the explosion in the use of ICTs has led to an extraordinary expansion of the scope of dissemination of information on the convicted person's past. Beyond the classic debate on criminal records and post-sentence state intervention, new private actors are emerging who condition the reintegration process of the convicted person. This contribution aims to address the fundamental keys of a discussion marked by the permanent tension between freedom of information and expression and the right “to be forgotten” of the convicted person.

  • Comparative analysis of the impact of online hate crimes vs. offline hate crimes

This presentation makes an analysis of online hate crimes, and the impact that they produce on their direct victims from a criminological point of view, making a comparison with respect to the impact that hate crimes committed offline produce.

  • How the use of new technologies and artificial intelligence affect various legal professions

The purpose of the following presentation is to analyze the progress of AI based technol-ogies, which are allowing the automation of a multitude of tasks that are currently per-formed by different operators and legal professionals, which will cause that many of these services and routine tasks can be developed by machines, with the consequent loss of prominence of these professional groups.

Our experience in Oñati

Last Thursday, May 4, and Friday, May 5, the Workshop The influence of Media and the influence of New Technologies on Law: Socio-Legal Approach was held at the Seminar room of the Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law, in the beautiful building of the former Sancti Spiritus University, with the participation of a large number of professors and academics from different universities and countries. In particular, prestigious academics from universities such as Bangor University in Wales, the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, the University of Westminster in London, Manchester Metropolitan University in Manchester, the University of Salento in Lecce, the University of Chile in Santiago de Chile and the University of the Basque Country/EHU attended the Workshop. Former students of the Master's program offered by the IISL of Oñati also participated.

The event began the night before, when the Workshop organization received the participants at the Antia residence and, after welcoming them, took them to dinner at the Iturritxo restaurant.

The next day, the Workshop sessions began and were opened by Sabine Frerichs, Scientific Director of the IISL of Oñati. Professor Iker Nabaskues Martínez de Eulate, of the University of the Basque Country, was the coordinator of this first sessions. The opening conference of the Workshop was carried out by the prestigious academic Stefan Machura, a worldwide reference in the field of Law and Popular Culture.

After more than two hours of work, the participants were taken to lunch at the Cantina Zapore on the campus of the University of Mondragon in Oñati. This routine was to be repeated the following day.

It was Professor Peter Robson, another world reference in the field of Law and Popular Culture who started the afternoon sessions, which continued with the topic related to The Influence of Media on Law. After more than three hours of presentations and debates, the attendees concluded a very profitable first day.

The second day of the Workshop was dedicated to the topic related to The Influence of New Technologies on Law.  Professor Francisco Javier Fernández Galarreta, of the University of the Basque Country, was the coordinator of this second sessions. The opening conference was given by the Professor of Philosophy of Law of the University of the Basque Country Joserramon Bengoetxea Caballero. As in the previous day, the afternoon sessions were very fruitful and, after almost four hours of presentations and debates, finally, Professor Machura was in charge of closing the Workshop.

Once the Workshop was over, and since the town was celebrating the festivity of San Miel Txiki Jaixak, the participants went to the stands prepared by the organizers of the festivities to enjoy a well-deserved tasting of local cheeses.

It should be emphasized that everything related to breakfasts, lunches, dinners, as well as the stay at the Antia residence and the transfers to nearby airports, was organized in detail, with great professionalism on the part of all the IISL staff.

In short, the Workshop was a complete success, both academically and personally, and the different participants agreed to work on a publication that will bring together the different contents that were presented during the conference. This publication will be carried out with the approval of the IISL's own journal, the prestigious Oñati Socio Legal Series (OSLS).

Finally, the coordinators of the Workshop would like to thank the IISL of Oñati and all its staff for their dedication and attention, as well as for the care with which all participants have been treated and which has been highlighted by all of them at the end of the workshop.

Until a future event

For more information: 

Workshop Coordination Team

Avenida de la Universidad, 8
Apartado 28
20560 Oñati (Gipuzkoa) - Spain
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