Whither the Communications Landscape in the Next Five Years?
UNESCO Partner Panel
Debating UNESCO’s new Report on World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development
Patterns over the last five years show that media freedom is losing ground in regard to the right to impart information through journalism on a public platform, but there is progress in the right to seek and receive information held by the State. As regards media pluralism, there has been a continuing increase in sources of information, yet the concentration of ownership of media and Internet companies raises growing concerns, as do personalized services that erode the experience of a shared public sphere. Meantime, media independence has weakened worldwide and professional standards of journalism face new threats – although self-regulation systems including within Internet companies are gaining ground. Finally, trends in the physical, psychological and digital safety for journalism remain extremely alarming, but there is progress in push-back. While each of these four areas shows divergent trends, common to all is persistent gender inequality.
These are the findings in the third edition of UNESCO’s report “World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development”. To what extent is this picture accurate globally, and how do the findings resonate regionally and locally? Perhaps even more importantly, does the Report – produced by a consortium of universities for UNESCO - help us anticipate what lies ahead? A further issue to be explored in this Panel is how communications scholars researching in these areas could engage with UNESCO more systematically.
- Guy Berger (chair), UNESCO Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development
- Robin Mansell, Professor and Head, Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics and Political Science; UK
- Ramon Tuazon, President, Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC), Secretary General, Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC), Chairman, Commission on Higher Education, Technical Committee for Communication
- Aimee Vega Montiel, Researcher, Center of Interdisciplinary Research in Sciences and Humanities, National Autonomous University of Mexico; Mexico
- Manisha Pathak-Shelat, Professor, Communication & Digital Platforms and Strategies MICA, Shela, Ahmedabad, India
- Levi Obonyo Dean, School of Language, Communication & Performing Arts, Daystar University, Nairobi, Kenya
- Olunifesi Adekunle SURAJ, University of Lagos, Nigeria
Photo: Photo: Irina Drexler, UNESCO