On December 17, after a half a century of strained relations, the United States and Cuba announced that the two will embark on a careful journey to normalization.
Just two months after this momentous announcement, five students from the Media and Public Diplomacy course of the International Communication Graduate program at St. John’s University and two professors got the rare opportunity to spend a week in La Habana through the People-to-People Educational ambassador program.
Democracy is in crisis. The values it embodies – particularly the right to choose leaders in free and fair elections, freedom of the press, and the rule of law – are under assault and in retreat globally – The Freedom House Freedom in the World Report 2018
This was the motto of the Conference Speak Out! Rebuilding Trust in Media and Democracy in Kingston, Jamaica on 13 August 2018, organized by the Public Media Alliance. The conference brought together thought leaders from around the world to discuss journalism and policy solutions to current information disorder of fake news, polarization, and distrust.
While many reports from around the world painted a picture of political turmoils and constant challenges to independent journalism, keynote experts presented an array of innovative strategies and tactics for rebuilding trust in media and democracy.
Minna Aslama Horowitz, a Fellow at the Institute and a chair of the conference, recounts some key takeaways:
What constitutes “public service media” (PSM) – its remit, its independence, its funding, its organizational configurations – is never set and self-evident. It constantly faces opposition from commercial competitors as well as political actors that seem to manifest in different reiterations year after year. At the same time, its core values of universal service, public interest, and preservation of national culture can be found also outside of the Western PSM models.
The Institute Fellow Minna Aslama Horowitz, with the assistance of the Master’s students Helene Diyabanza Peterson and Julia Theilen, authored an Expert Report for the Council of Europe on the possibilities for public service media to counter disinformation and propaganda.
The report was presented to the Council in Paris, France, on 25 May 2018. Below is the transcript of the presentation.