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Challenges to freedom of expression The right to freedom of expression is a “foundation right” in society. It protects the right to: -Express ourselves.

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Presentation on theme: "Challenges to freedom of expression The right to freedom of expression is a “foundation right” in society. It protects the right to: -Express ourselves."— Presentation transcript:

1 Challenges to freedom of expression The right to freedom of expression is a “foundation right” in society. It protects the right to: -Express ourselves in words, music etc. -Receive and exchange ideas and information -Operates “regardless of frontiers” -Heavily protected internationally and regionally

2 Why is it important? Essential to our human integrity Enables better protection of other rights and freedoms Provides the basis of democracy by allowing the exchange of ideas and opinions Underpins human development

3 What does it need? We express ourselves in many ways - One to one conversations - Meeting in groups or association - One speaking to many Traditionally, all of these operate in different ways and by different rules Different types of content are received in different ways

4 What limits free expression? Geographical and linguistic boundaries Create a global, accessible communications network carrying all kinds of content available through different devices Technical limits An environment where 1 to1, group conversations and 1 to many communication happen side by side Censorship, direct and indirect Traditional “gatekeepers” and bottlenecks - government, corporations, “mediators” - undermined Commercial factors New business models develop Do networked digital communications affect these limits? }

5 It depends who controls the new environment. Actors and institutions can exercise influence in different ways and at different levels… The Physical layer – the physical infrastructure that makes communications possible. Connectivity & code layer – the ‘language’ or protocols of the communication. The Application layer – tools to navigate content. The content layer – the subject matter of the communication A communication democracy?

6 The Drivers of change

7 The layer model of the networked communications environment

8 The issues Create opportunities to share and develop human creativity? Offer possibilities to strengthen democracy & empower people? Expand the way we get information and debate issues? Increase our ability to act and collaborate together? Do networked communications…

9 The key questions Do networked communications –Change the way we access information and ideas –Increase our ability to act together –Change the relationship between people and government –Create new opportunities for the creation and distribution of arts and culture?

10 Accessing information and ideas Traditional media model is changing Greater citizen interactivity – including the blog, the wiki - can bypass censorship e.g. Malaysia, Burma But traditional media is reinventing itself And most news still from traditional sources Transforming the news or a barren echo chamber?

11 Increasing co-operation? NCE affects civil society groups, networks and coalitions, social movements Depends upon opportunity structures and framing processes Increases collaboration, publishing, mobilisation and observation Informal movements v. centralised communications Networked communications is the “master key”

12 Strengthen democracy and empower people Bypassing of censorship models opens up government New interactive, transactional relations Growth of right to information laws But increasing surveillance post 9/11 Integration of government databases Privacy more and more conditional

13 New opportunities to share and develop creativity New abilities to promote, exhibit, perform and publish online - direct interactive links between creators and consumers On line marketing facilitates niche interests and the “long tail” New ability to produce and collaborate in productions New emphasis upon IPR and ownership of products

14 Proportion of worldwide earnings from licences and royalty fees

15 The dangers Governments control networked communications for their own ends Traditional media companies take over the environment Private companies use it exclusively for commercial ends The technology is turned against us

16 Conclusions We can overcome the limitations of media monopolisation and censorship We can facilitate a democratic politics, and a more equal society We can have a global communication environment that is under “public” control We can create a more vibrant, accessible and open arts and culture

17 But only if Progressive policies are applied at all “layers” & the right regulatory framework is applied –Requires further research to define frameworks & advocacy at national to international levels. Multi stakeholder governance is applied –Requires support of multi-stakeholder processes and civil society involvement in them. Civil society develops the capacity to utilise new possibilities –Requires support of ‘social-tech’ groups and their networking with wider civil society.

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