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Public safety and national security are two advantages of facial recognition technology. Law enforcement agencies use the technology to identify known criminals and to find missing children or seniors. Airports are increasingly adding facial recognition technology to security checkpoints. Unsurprisingly, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security predicts that by 2023 97% of travellers will be subjected to facial recognition.
Using smartphones to track and trace during the Covid-19 epidemic creates a smokescreen for wider surveillance measures that may infringe people’s right to privacy. Human rights activists are concerned that such data can be used to discriminate against migrants, refugees, and on racial grounds.
The antics of the outgoing US president have raised profound questions about the role of mass and social media in society today. How do public interest media – the kind that publish information and points of view on important issues that affect policies, lives, and livelihoods – stay independent?
People the world over are willing – some are even praying for – a free and fair election in the USA on November 3. In ordinary times, for that to happen the media must also be free and fair. But these have not been ordinary times. Until very recently, the news media have been hobbled and fettered.
In his 2011 book, The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding From You, Eli Pariser wrote, “the rise of pervasive, embedded filtering is changing the way we experience the internet and ultimately the world.”
October 19, 2020 — Covid-19, migrants, and the climate crisis apart, public interest media is today’s hot topic. In the USA, Hungary, and the Philippines – to cite just three countries – some politicians have labelled media outlets critical of their policies and actions “fake media” or “fake news”. Among others, Russia, Turkey and China openly censor and supress what might be called media dissent or media activism: holding governments, corporations, and their leaders to account.
Women all over the world are celebrating the sixth instalment in 25 years of the Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP). What is it? A series of extensive gender and media monitoring studies conducted every five years since 1995 by WACC Global, an international NGO that advocates communication rights in order to achieve social justice.
Since the emergence of the communication rights movements in the 1980s, activists have advanced a vision of the right to communicate as a highly political enterprise. The main idea at the heart of the movement has always been that democratizing media and communication is a way to transform power structures in favour of the public interest and of people and communities whose concerns and stories are rarely seen and heard.
Public interest journalism addresses the needs of citizens in a democratic community. Journalism that serves the public interest acknowledges that citizens are able to comprehend the policies and decisions that affect them. It assumes they are capable of applying their experience and values to arguments presented to them and of acting in ways that can make a positive difference to the world around them.
Once used mainly by teens and young millennials, Instagram continues to grow as one of the most popular social media platforms. As of June 2018, Instagram had reached one billion monthly active users. More than 500 million use the platform daily.
Free Press and four allies have filed a lawsuit (27 August 2020) challenging an order against social media companies. The US District Court, Northern District of California, will hear a complaint against President Trump’s “Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship”, which targets online platforms with a range of official reprisals – including threats to their established legal immunity, investigation by government enforcement agencies, and the loss of significant government spending – for engaging in constitutionally protected speech, including combating misinformation online.