The politics of anonymity: Poland's media discourse on anonymous communication online

Trytko, K., 2016. The politics of anonymity: Poland's media discourse on anonymous communication online. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

Kornelia Trytko 2017.pdf - Published version

Download (3MB) | Preview


Online anonymity has been an important element in scholarly debates on the role of the internet in modern day democracy. Proponents of the right to anonymity argue that it helps secure users' privacy, autonomy and freedom of speech. Critics, on the other hand, see the act of withdrawing identity information as a way to limit or avoid responsibility for one's actions.
Despite large amount of evidence that the role of anonymity on the internet is diverse and context sensitive,
researchers have observed a unidirectional trend towards its limitation or even complete elimination. The process, which might be called de-anonymisation of online spaces, is influenced by what Lessig (2006) described as four main forces shaping internet’s architecture: law, technology, market and social norms. But it also features at the level of discourse, which so far has received very little academic attention. The meanings, values and power struggles underlying the debate on online anonymity have also been largely ignored in Central and Eastern European contexts.
In order to close this gap, this study examines a case from Poland, in which an identity of an anonymous blogger was revealed by a mainstream newspaper. It also investigates the broader characteristics of the coverage of online anonymity in the Polish press. By employing content and discourse analyses, and drawing on the work of critical internet scholars, it offers first empirical evidence that newspapers in Poland can be agents of de-anonymisation. Specifically, the findings reveal the debate on online anonymity is characterised by four key conflicts: 1) a conflict over the status of journalists and internet users in online deliberation; 2) a conflict over the vision of the digital public sphere; 3) a conflict over Poland's democratisation process; and 4) a conflict of values underlying perceptions of online anonymity.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Trytko, K.
Date: August 2016
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the owner(s) of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 31 Jul 2017 13:18
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2017 13:19

Actions (login required)

Edit View Edit View


Views per month over past year


Downloads per month over past year