Rebecca MacKinnon was CNN’s Bureau Chief in Beijing and Tokyo for more than a decade. She has cofounded Global Voices Online, an international citizen media network. Her first book, “Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom,” was published in January 2012. Rebecca fears the proposed revision of ITR by ITU threatens the freedom of press.
Take, for example, a basic requirement for media organisations: the ability to reach and grow their audiences. All news organisations – whether their final news product is distributed online, in print, or broadcast – are increasingly dependent on broadband and mobile networks to gather, transmit, compile, and disseminate their reports and investigations. Whether the internet remains open and globally inter-operable affects the ability of all news organisations to obtain fair access to increasingly global or geographically-dispersed audiences.
Rebecca MacKinnon explains why the mainstream media is not paying due attention to such a crucial issue.
Unfortunately, since it’s a ‘long and messy process’, the debate on internet policy and governance tends to get short shrift from news organizations, even those with robust coverage of international news and global affairs, because it doesn’t fit cleanly into existing news “beats.” Does this story belong in the technology section, the business section, or the international news section? Foreign and global affairs correspondents, business reporters and technology journalists often have very different types of knowledge and skill sets. It is still rare to find journalists and editors who understand in a holistic way how technology and geopolitics overlap, let alone how to tell these stories in compelling ways so that their readers can understand how they are affected by the big decisions about internet governance and policy – just as they are by global trade negotiations or international security treaties.
She has outlined a comprehensive to-do list at the conclusion of this article.