13 Sep 2021 Digital justice with fair access remains a goal, says Ukrainian journalist
Ukrainian journalist and radio host Katya Potapenko says digital justice remains a goal and not a reality. “For me, digital justice is a possibility of fair access to digital platforms and devices, regardless of country of origin, social status or other features,” said Potapenko, a World Student Christian Federation volunteer.
The following text is part of a series exploring the topic of digital justice. The full series is being published in the days leading up to the International Symposium for Communication for Social Justice in the Digital Age which will be held 13-15 September. These interviews are intended to offer intergenerational—and honest—views of how we are living in a digital world, if churches are helping us, and how we can work together to define and pursue digital justice.
“It is a respectful coexistence and a possibility of communication through the digital platforms where everyone is accountable and human rights are respected,” she said in a video interview with Christiane Gebauer, a theology student in Göttingen, Germany, chairperson of the WCSF-Europe.
Unfortunately, she says Ukraine is still searching for digital justice with economic issues getting in its way and says the lack of media education acts as a hindrance.
“For now, nobody can be safe in the digital sphere. Numerous cases had proven the vulnerability of data. Without proper media education and digital-law system – digital justice will remain only a goal”.
Potapenko suggested that creating a “digital court” could help to make the digital world safer. In her opinion, human rights violations in the digital sphere should be investigated the same way and with the same outcome as in the “physical world”.
She notes that “digital courts” have to look at mental health issues linked with digital communication, cyberbullying and trolling, copyright questions, author rights, and fair fee reimbursement for work done online.
Reminding that there is both private and public communication, she believes a specific framework of operation of the digital sphere should be established.
“Democratic society still operates within a certain framework of written and non-written rules of coexistence which should be the same for everyone,” said Potapenko.
“Media education, a digital court and unified rules – for me those are the key steps to achieve the digital justice that we are talking about.”
Potapenko has seen churches, their members, and religious leaders in Ukraine using the digital sphere with Facebook groups, Zoom meetings, Instagram accounts. In her opinion, this is already a big step towards progress in digital communication.
She says the digital sphere is a helpful tool for “creating a sense of community to help people hold on to Christian values in hard times.”