Erich Fromm Prize 2023 to Prof. Dr. Bernhard Pörksen
on Saturday, March 23, 2023, 11:00 a.m. at Hospitalhof in Stuttgart / Germany
Internet communication fundamentally changes the function of the media: it is not just about conveying news and analyzing it and its background, but about communication in general and, above all, about the psychological functions of communication. Individuals want to communicate in a self-determined way via the media; they want to be connected and satisfy their own needs. For this reason, communication possibilities are becoming increasingly important in order to satisfy one's own sense of identity and selfesteem, as well as the need for belonging (i.e., social identity). Not to be forgotten are the advantages of being able to remain anonymous if one wants to express one's feelings that have been publicly stigmatized or to use the power of one's followers to spread "fake news" and turn it into fact.
These few allusions may suffice as background to the question of what media science is concerned with today and why the jury decided to award the Erich Fromm Prize 2024 to the Tübingen media scholar Bernhard Pörksen. From a socio-critical perspective, Professor Pörksen considers humanity and human-to-human dialog essential for the transformation processes in the media world. His work as a media scientist, therefore, continues and updates Erich Fromm's humanistic thinking.
To achieve such humanistic goals, Pörksen argues that "the reflective handling of infor-mation must become an element of general education." He calls for media competence for all. Pörksen, therefore, envisions an "editorial society." In this society, children learn as early as primary school to apply the "maxims of quality journalism (skeptical truth orientation, two-source principle, audiatur altera pars [the other side should also be heard], striving for transparency, etc.)" to all types of communication.
Certainly, the "editorial society" is still a vision at present. But such scientifically based visions and models for different ways of dealing with each other and for other forms of communication are groundbreaking, if not essential for survival. This concern for the humane also reveals the inner affinity between Bernhard Pörksen's humanistic thinking and that of Erich Fromm.
The Erich Fromm Prize, endowed with 10.000 €, honors persons and initiatives which, through their scholarly, scientific, social, sociopolitical, or journalistic commitment, have achieved or continue to achieve excellence in preserving or reviving humanistic thought and action in the tradition of Erich Fromm. Former recipients include: Noam Chomsky, Eugen Drewermann, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Georg Schramm, Gesine Schwan, Götz Werner, Christel und Rupert Neudeck, John Neumeier, Hartmut Rosa, Konstantin Wecker, Gerhart Baum, Daniel und Sabine Röder (Pulse of Europe), Paul Mason, Maja Göpel, Ueli Mäder and Thomas Fuchs.
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