New Media Development Explores Paths Towards Democratic Digital Governance
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Cover of Media Development 1/2024 with title "Towards Democratic Governance of Digital Society" and a futuristic city scene

New Media Development Explores Paths Towards Democratic Digital Governance

Civil society advocates are concerned that governments, security services, and Big Tech may misuse digital technologies to suppress, control, and profit from ordinary people, says Philip Lee, Media Development editor, in the 1/2024 issue of WACC’s quarterly journal.

The authors in “Towards Democratic Governance of Digital Society” look at pathways to ensure that such technologies will instead enhance lives and livelihoods in a more just way.

Moving away from for-profit models

The foundation of an accessible, democratic digital space is a “space largely free from market and consumeristic forces”, stress sociologist Seán Ó Siochrú and Anita Gurumurthy of IT for Change, which collaborated on the issue.

Lifting up the DisCO Manifesto, Gurumurthy and Nandini Chami, IT for Change, advocate for a new digital order outside capitalism.

Civil society must champion values such as equity, ethics, and digital rights as well as flagging risks, WACC Board member Jim McDonnell urges in an article on AI and human values.

Community driven, human rights as keywords

The vital role of community-driven initiatives is the focus of articles by Vassilis Chryssos and Kathleen Diga of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), telecommunications expert Carlos F. Baca-Feldman, and Oscar Felipe Tellez D. of Grupo COMUNICARTE, with examples from Colombia, Costa Rica, and Kenya, among others.

In a reflection on the potential of digital technologies to change how we visualize ourselves and the world, Lee suggests that “perhaps this is the real conundrum: not that AI will replace us, but that we shall replace ourselves and lose the essence of being human.”

The issue includes inputs rooted in structural justice and human rights by IT for Change and ARTICLE 19 to shape global policy-making on AI governance, as well as rights–based principles from UNESCO to underpin AI ethics.

Media Development 01/2024 is available to subscribers and WACC members. Articles in the issue include:

  • Digital platforms versus democratic political discourse: Challenges and the way forward by Seán Ó Siochrú and Anita Gurumurthy
  • To breathe easy and dance light: Embracing revolution with the DisCO Manifesto by Anita Gurumurthy and Nandini Chami
  • Reframing AI governance through a political economy lens, IT for Change
  • Aligning AI systems with human values by Jim McDonnell
  • Community-led responses to challenges posed by digital technologies by Vassilis Chryssos
  • Notes on capacity building, communication, and community networks in Latin America by Carlos F. Baca-Feldman
  • Rights, community, and meaningful connectivity by Kathleen Diga
  • Los medios comunitarios del gran Bioma Amazónico colombiano como alternativas de cambio en el marco de la Cumbre Amazónica de Belém por Oscar Felipe Tellez D.
  • Imagining immortality by Philip Lee
  • Submission to the High-Level Advisory Body on Artificial Intelligence (AI) on key issues of Global AI Governance, ARTICLE 19
  • Ten core principles in a human rights centred approach to the Ethics of AI, UNESCO
  • On the screen (Leipzig, Warsaw, Lübeck, Cottbus, Mannheim-Heidelberg)

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