Renewing a Human Rights Agenda: Defending Democracy in the U.S.-The Role of Journalism and Social Media

Mar 10, 2021

12:00 PM

129 E. Washington St., Iowa City, IA 52242

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Virtual Event

Join the event at: https://uiowa.zoom.us/j/94839769875 

All are welcome to attend. No need to register in advance. 

This panel discussion will examine the current impact of misinformation and disinformation on democratic process in the U.S. context. Panelists will provide perspectives on the relationship between journalism and democratic governance, the media environment in the U.S. and its implications for "governing", digital citizenship, and efforts to establish ethical protocols to curtail mis and dis information in the social media world. The panel will critically examine and develop conclusions form Freedom House's recent report on the state of democracy in the U.S. as an introduction to these concerns (see https://freedomhouse.org/country/united-states/freedom-net/2020).

Speakers include: David Ryfe, Director and Professor, UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Caroline Tolbert, Professor, UI Department of Political Science, Jovana Davidovic, Associate Professor, UI Department of Philosophy, and Kian Vesteinsson, Research Analyst, Freedom House.

David Ryfe is Director of and a Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.  He has written widely in the areas of political communication, presidential communication, public deliberation, and the history and sociology of journalism.  His most recent book, Journalism and the Public (Polity, 2017) explores the way in which the configuration of public life shapes the kind of journalism that exists in a society.  Currently, he is working on two major projects—a historical survey of the relationship between journalism and truth, and a contemporary study of the changing nature of digital news production. 

Caroline Tolbert is Professor of Political Science in the UI Department of Political Science. Caroline Tolbert's research and teaching weaves together a concern with opportunity and inequality, elections and representation, technology policy and local economies, and subnational politics and policy (states, counties, metros & neighborhoods). Her work is driven by a theoretical and normative interest in strengthening American democracy with an emphasis on fostering participation and addressing inequality. She has contributed to many subfields including digital politics; campaigns, voting and elections; election reform; public opinion; state ballot propositions and race & politics. Tolbert has published more than 50 peer reviewed journal articles and 9 books. She is the coauthor of Accessible Elections: How the States can Help Americans Vote (Oxford, 2020) and four books on the internet, economic opportunity and political participation including Choosing the Future: Technology and Opportunity in Communities (Oxford, forthcoming) and Digital Cities: The Internet and the Geography of Opportunity (2012). She earned a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, Boulder.  She was named Distinguished University Professor by the University of Iowa Provost in 2020. 

Jovana Davidovic is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Iowa. Her research focuses on military ethics, political philosophy, international law, and organizational ethics.  Jovana's publications have covered a wide range of issues including humanitarian military interventions, displacement in war, ethics of collateral damage, and international humanitarian and human rights law. Most recently she has developed an interest in issues around AI ethics and issues of use of algorithms for decision-making.

Kian Vesteinsson is a Research Analyst for Technology and Democracy, and covers sub-Saharan Africa and western Europe for Freedom on the Net, Freedom House’s annual assessment of internet freedom. Before joining Freedom House, Kian was Senior Law and Tech Policy Officer at Human Rights Watch, where he staffed the office of the General Counsel and contributed to research and advocacy on human rights and technology around the world, focusing on surveillance in the United States. Previously, he worked on digital privacy, police technology, and national security surveillance at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Kian holds a B.A. in Politics and Religious Studies from Pomona College.

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