The WSIS as a Political Space in Global Media Governance

By Marc Raboy - 2008

In this article, the author reflects optimism about the potential for members of civil society to have a meaningful impact on the global communication policies now in formation. The author sees a thread of aspiration that links the communication rights provisions in the 1948 U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO), and the current campaign for Communication Rights in the Information Society, although he argues that only now have we got it right.

The author argues that the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the NWICO are both flawed by their exclusive reliance on states and governments as the only legitimate political actors, whereas the participation of civil society groups in the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) marks a turning point. WSIS is the first U.N. summit where civil society was officially invited to be a participating partner, he notes. In his view, the WSIS, with all its flaws, established a new and more inclusive political space for addressing the problems of global media—a space that is not simply a club for industry leaders and government bureaucrats.

Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies Vol. 18, No. 3, September 2004, pp. 345±359. PDF

By Marc Raboy| 2008


Communication rights enable all people everywhere to express themselves individually and collectively by all means of communication. They are vital to full participation in society and are, therefore, universal human rights belonging to every man, woman, and child.


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