Tue, 19 December 2017
Essential to a free and functioning democracy is an independent press, a crucial civil society actor that holds government to account and provides citizens access to the impartial information they need to make informed judgments, reason together, exercise their rights and responsibilities, and engage in collective action. In times of crisis, the media fulfills the vital role of alerting the public to danger and connecting citizens to rescue efforts, as Ushahidi has done in Kenya. Or, it can alert the international community to human rights abuses as does Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently. But, the very capabilities that allow the media to alert and inform, also allow it to sow division – as it did in Rwanda leading up to and during the genocide-- by spreading untruths, and, through “dog whistles,” targeting ethnic groups and inciting violence against them. This panel will focus on two topics: the role of media as a vehicle for advancing or undermining social cohesion, and the use of media to innovate, organize and deepen understanding, enabling positive collective action.
* Abdalaziz Alhamza, Co-Founder, Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently
* Uzodinma Iweala, CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Ventures Africa; Author, Beasts of No Nation; Producer, Waiting for Hassana (moderator)
* Ben Rattray, Founder and CEO, Change.org
* Malika Saada Saar, Senior Counsel on Civil and Human Rights, Google