WACC Deputy General Secretary Sara Speicher (fourth from left) at the 50th anniversary international conference of the Catholic Media Council (CAMECO) held in Aaachen, Germany. Photo: CAMECO
WACC Deputy General Secretary Sara Speicher recently presented a workshop on “Upholding Human Rights and Social Justice in the Digital Age” during the 50th anniversary international conference of the Catholic Media Council (CAMECO) held in Aachen, Germany.
The conference, Communicating From and With the Margins, was held November 28-29 and included workshops from media specialists around the world.
Speicher presented the communication rights challenges and opportunities of digital platforms and technologies, which sparked a spirited discussion among attendees on how faith communities can best respond to this new reality.
"It was inspiring to see the many ways in which WACC's and CAMECO’s visions of empowering people and communities on the margins of society aligned,” said Speicher. “We also see the challenges now and in the future, and are committed to working together where possible to make a greater impact for people’s dignity, equality and freedom."
In her presentation, Speicher noted that “through social media, mobile and online communications, people today have unparalleled access to information, experiences and contacts.”
And since communication underpins sustainable development and social justice, digital platforms can “offer powerful tools for justice, education, encounter and understanding,” said Speicher.
At the same time, however, they can be weaponized and used as tools for disinformation and hate, she said. “Fake news,” which are politically motivated digital campaigns published under the guise of legitimate news stories, “are undermining democratic processes and attacking responsible journalism,” she noted.
Speicher also discussed the collection of private data for economic and political purposes, and the undemocratic and privatized ownership of digital technologies.
With digital technologies transforming the way people live and communicate, Speicher underscored the importance of being aware of their impact and of helping to ensure that they are used to uphold human rights and social justice.
WACC General Secretary Philip Lee, meanwhile, sent a letter on the occasion of CAMECO’s anniversary.
“I would like to extend my personal congratulations and those of the WACC on your anniversary and to thank you for many decades of valuable partnership and mission,” he wrote. “Our collaboration was always fruitful and took place in a spirit of shared purpose and vision. I hope that we shall continue to work together on areas of mutual interest.”