Alison Gillwald participated in a panel discussion on “Global Communication Governance at the Crossroads”, hosted by the The International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) in mid-July.
The panel she participated on is part of a publication project developed by the Working Group on Global Media Policy. All presenters are contributors to an upcoming volume titled ‘Global Communication Governance at the Crossroads’ that will explore current challenges, trends and transformations in global communications and aims at offering visions for its future governance.
In her presentation, Gillwald highlighted the digital inequality paradox, which sees some people having the resources and wherewithal to take advantage of technology, especially the latest innovations, whilst a large proportion of people, especially in Africa, lack the resources to engage effectively, becoming passive consumers that interface with technology in a fragile and fleeting manner – thereby unable to deploy technology to improve their livelihoods and general circumstances.
Accordingly, Gillwald highlighted the need for digital policy to transform society for better outcomes that foster social inclusion. For example, she emphasised the need for crowding in more productive private sector investments. She also highlighted the need for policy reform to influence the business models of mobile network operators in Africa, because data costs are far too high.
After climate change, Gillwald argues that digital policy is probably the most difficult global governance challenge. She calls for policy experimentation to get us out of the intractable position we find ourselves in.
Gillwald is also the deputy chairperson of Giganet. The video of this panel discussion will soon be available on the Giganet website. Meanwhile for more about the IAMRC, conference, please click here.