17 Aug 2022 New Media Development issue focuses on Democratizing Communication, Rediscovering Solidarity
As the world increasingly becomes reliant on digital technologies powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), “the role of social media platforms as propaganda tools needs to be explored thoroughly if freedom of the press is to remain a bastion of democracy,” urges Philip Lee in his editorial for the latest issue of Media Development, WACC’s quarterly journal.
The convergence of digital platforms and AI poses “new challenges to communication rights that need to be identified, systematized, and independently regulated to prevent a global system from emerging that is entirely dominated and controlled by corporate interests and despotic regimes,” warns Lee, who is also WACC General Secretary.
In Democratizing the platforms: Promises and perils of public utility regulation, Victor Pickard discusses the various options for bringing the “extremely commercialized” digital platforms under democratic control and examines their viability.
“Regardless of what path democratic societies choose we can be certain that the status quo is unsustainable and market forces alone will not democratize the platforms – indeed, quite the opposite – necessitating government intervention,” writes Pickard. Pickard is the C. Edwin Baker Professor of Media Policy and Political Economy at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, where he co-directs the Media, Inequality & Change (MIC) Center.
Anne Foerst reflects on several ethical questions arising from AI, including “how a successful AI might challenge our understanding of ourselves” in The ethics of AI and robotics. Foerst is Professor of Computer Science and department chair at St. Bonaventure University (SBU). She also directs the Individualized Major program at SBU.
In Digital technologies in Palestine: Opportunities and challenges, YWCA-Palestine General Secretary Amal Tarazi discusses how civil society organizations including YWCA-Palestine are trying to harness the benefits of digital technologies by integrating them into their programs and interventions. For instance, in 2022, YWCA launched a project aimed at raising the level of young women’s participation in decision-making processes in Palestinian society through civic participation on social media.
The issue also features the following:
• Virtual reality, metaverse platforms, and the future of higher education, by Nicole K. Stewart
• Journalism, media, and technology trends and predictions 2022, by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.
• On “shrinking space”: A framing paper, by the Transnational Institute
• World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development, by UNESCO
• Joint Declaration on Freedom of Expression and Gender Justice