Mexico 2009 - Digital Divide Working Group Call for Papers

Mexico 2009 - Digital Divide Working Group Call for PaperThe WG on Digital Divide invites submissions for its open sessions at the IAMCR Conference (July 21-24 2009) in Mexico City, Mexico, under the general theme of the Conference "Human Rights and Communication".

The Conference addresses relationships between media and contemporary understanding of the freedom of expression and right to information. It will explore the pivotal roles of the media with regard to today's global injustices to the human rights.

Papers discussing theoretical or methodological perspectives and/or documenting specific case studies are welcome. Joint sessions with other relevant sections and working groups can be organized. Proposed topics that will be considered include a wide variety of issues that relate to research in relation to processes of media regulation.

This year the theme to be discussed in WG on "Digital Divide" is "Universal Access to Digital Media as a New Human Right".

Nowadays a lack of access to the Internet is becoming an obstacle for the citizen right to access information. In the coming information society the question of right to access digital media gets a crucial importance. Today the most active part of the audience has practically reduced the use of non-digital media. This forces the analytic and popular media to transform their content to the digital form.

Digitalization influences only entertainment, popular programs and "light" news, but also the quality analytical and investigation journalism, hard content, knowledge. Audiences of digital and non-digital media differ and are using different types of contents. Earlier the digital divide debate paid attention first of all to the issue of access to the technological infrastructure, however now it is more relevant and urgent to talk about unequal access to different types of content. Liberating potential of new media could not fully realize because of unequal access to digital content.

The WG on "Digital Divide" suggest discussing the following subjects:

  • Transformation of access problem: from technology to content; gaps in access to digital media content.
  • Regional and national approaches to solving digital divide as problem of access to modern media.
  • Comparative research on inequalities in access to digital media and on various strategies to promote a new right of universal access to digital media.
  • Media literacy as a way to overcoming digital gaps. Different national experiences.

Abstracts of no more than 500 words, bearing on the Conference Theme and addressing one or more of the above topics should be submitted to Elena Vartanova (evarta[AT] and Olga Smirnova (smirnovaorama[AT] before 31 January 2009. Please put as subject of your e-mail "IAMCR Digital Divide WG".

Abstracts should explicitly state the prospective nature of the paper, explain the methodology or approaches used and present the empirical material on which the paper is based. There are to be no biographical notes or references in the abstract. Each abstract must include title, name(s), institutional address and email address of author(s).

You may submit the same abstract or paper to only one section or working group. You may submit different papers to different sections or working groups or, as the case may be, different papers to the same section. If the same paper is submitted to different sections or working groups, IAMCR and the local organizers of the conference will ensure that it is (if accepted) presented in only one session.

Paper abstracts have to be submitted before February 16, 2009. Evaluation results will be announced by March 29, 2009. The deadline for submitting full papers is July 1, 2009.

Elena Vartanova (Russia)
Digital Divide WG Chair

Olga Smirnova (Russia)
Digital Divide WG Chair Co-chair