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When fact-checking isn’t about ‘right’ or ‘wrong’

16/09/19 | (0) Comments |

The rise of “fake news” charges and deliberate disinformation have  led to an important counter effort: fact-checking. News agencies, civil society organisations, and concerned individuals have taken on the fight for “truth” – assessing political claims and struggling to prevent misinformation guiding our decisions and behaviour.

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Children’s communication rights need better protection

09/09/19 | (0) Comments |

Google should have known better!

An Associated Press piece in The Guardian newspaper (“YouTube fined $170m for collecting children's personal data”, 4 September 2019) notes a serious violation of children’s right to privacy:

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Climate change literacy and community media

02/09/19 | (0) Comments |

Not everyone is familiar with climate change.

A new survey released by Afrobarometer paints a bleak picture of how agriculture conditions are worsening due to higher temperatures, delayed rainfall, and crop failure. Crucially, among some people, it also identifies little or no knowledge about climate change itself.

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Privacy on the frontier of lawlessness

26/08/19 | (0) Comments |

Privacy was something that used to be taken for granted.

Ordinarily, the private life of an individual was not open to scrutiny, while public life was the concern of law and order and decency. In communication terms, privacy meant that only the addressee could open letters or telegrams and telephone operators would not listen in to conversations. Unauthorised disclosure could be sanctioned.

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Ban books, ban people

19/08/19 | (0) Comments |

 “For the past twenty years, the main issue restricting public debate in terms of Turkish laws has been the prosecution and imprisonment of journalists, writers and intellectuals on the grounds that they contribute to violence and terrorism.”

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From manufacturing consent to manufacturing consensus

12/08/19 | (0) Comments |

An influential book on communications in the 1980s was Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of Mass Communication, by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky. It proposed a “propaganda model” as a way of understanding how the mass media system intersected with the U.S. economy, political system, and mobilising support for the special interests dominating state and corporate activity.

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It’s vital to be able to “read” social media

06/08/19 | (0) Comments |

In an era when misinformation and “fake news” abound on social media, it is important to understand where people get their news.

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Big data’s big brother: Real-time data processing

29/07/19 | (0) Comments |

Walk around any city and your face will be caught on camera and might even be added to a facial-recognition database. That data can now be processed in real-time. Regulations about how it can be used are minimal and generally weak.

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“Democracy, as we know it, is about to die…”

22/07/19 | (0) Comments |

There was a mantra among communities and businesses when foreign goods and huge chain stores started crowding out small, local operations. “Buy local” was the cry.

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Civil rights and the climate crisis

15/07/19 | (0) Comments |

Philip Alston, UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, writes that the impacts of global heating are likely to undermine not only basic rights to life, water, food, and housing for hundreds of millions of people, but also democracy and the rule of law.

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