Dignity, Equality and Freedom – Upholding Human Rights and Advancing Social Justice in the Digital Age

Presented by Sara Speicher, World Association of Christian Communication (United Kingdom)
Panelist Nataša Govekar, Dicastery for Communication (Vatican)


Through social media, mobile and online communications, people today have unparalleled access to information, experiences and contacts. In a world where communication is key to social justice and sustainable development, digital platforms offer powerful tools for justice, education, encounter and understanding.

But the same platforms are also used to spread deliberate disinformation and hate. Politically motivated digital campaigns of “fake news” are undermining democratic processes and attacking responsible journalism. Private data is increasingly requested and collected to tailor experiences for economic and political purposes. And while digital platforms seem to provide unfettered opportunity for freedom of expression, growing media monopolies threaten a diversity of perspective and opinion.

Individually, these challenges are not new, but their pace and interconnection in the digital age pose huge and complex obstacles to people and communities seeking to participate fully and equally as responsible citizens in democratic societies.

This workshop outlined the human rights and realities that are at stake and what it might take to ensure our digital communication embodies respect for the dignity, integrity, equality and freedom of all human beings and their communities.

What makes this experience relevant to others?

Digital technologies are transforming the way we communicate and access information and knowledge. In fact, digital communication is transforming the way we live. We are only seeing the beginning of this transformation as over half of the world’s population are already internet users and an estimated billion more will be connected in the next few years. Artificial intelligence is already shaping not only our communication channels but potentially our political, cultural and economic environment. These developments affect us at all levels, and as individuals, organizations, and communities, we must be aware of the challenges and opportunities and be leaders and prophets upholding human rights and social justice in the digital age.

Interested in further resources?

See WACC Journal Media Development, issue 2019-1: 'Brave New Digital World'