Course on Human Rights and Global Communication

New semester, new course @European University Viadrina in Frankfurt(Oder), Germany:

Since the Arab Spring the digital shift in the struggle for human rights has become obvious. Global Communication Technologies – mainly social networking sites – were said to have played a key role in the people’s uprising by providing the formerly missing possibility to connect to like-minded people and therefore take a stand for human rights. On the other hand, the World Wide Web has also made it easier to limit and violate human rights. This discrepancy in the perception of risks and opportunities of the web for human rights entails inter alia the following questions: Does the Internet really enable human rights? Which rights – except for the right to freedom of expression – are influenced by the communications revolution? Do we need new human rights in the digital age? Should the right to access to the Internet be recognized as a human right?

Based on introductory sessions about the philosophical and political basis of human rights on the one hand and the structural shift in global communication to “bottom-up” approaches and “mass self-communication” on the other hand, the abovementioned questions will be addressed by discussing latest research results and specific examples. The aim of the seminar is to provide a basic understanding of human rights in general and the influence of global communication on the struggle for human rights in particular.

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