Participatory communication in practice. Photo: Centre for Communication and Social Change, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
The latest quarterly issue of Media Development, titled “Enabling people’s voices to be heard,” explores new thinking about the field of Communication for Social Change (CSC).
It is “a field shaped by a variety of theories drawn from different intellectual disciplines and aimed at leveraging communication, media and information in the pursuit of social change. The role of CSC to prioritize change from a people-centred perspective is the basis of its popularity among governments, global development agencies, international and local NGOs and foundations,” explains Media Development editor Philip Lee in the introductory editorial.
In recent years, the theorization and practice of CSC have met increasing challenges at the level of local communication and development: transformations in communication and media environments, the re-emergence of new forms of civil mobilization, problems of freedom of speech in the world of religious pluralism, and the challenges of privacy and security.
“In addition, there seems to be a lacuna between the noble aspirations of CSC and those of the domain of communication rights – the latter having stagnated somewhat,” writes Lee.
This issue of Media Development seeks to provide new thinking on how the CSC discipline can be better shaped by – and aligned with – these challenges. Specifically, the issue encompasses critical questions about the theories and practices of CSC beyond its traditional boundaries in order to bring to light new ways that communication, media and information can contribute to creating a better world, Lee says.
Recently, one expert in the field stated that “communications and development theory consists in the main of principles that become the basis for pathways to practice.”
Therefore, CSC stands on the bedrock of communication rights, which set out to challenge the political, economic, and cultural structures that obstruct greater equality.
To read more about how communication rights underlie any initiative aimed at creating an enabling environment in which people can improve their lives and livelihoods, subscribe here to Media Development.