CEU Summer University - Online Free Expression & Communication Policy Advocacy

Academic Program: CEU Summer University 2012

Course Directors: 

Susan Abbott
Cross-Pollinate Consulting Solutions, Denver, CO, USA

Kate Coyer
Center for Media and Communication Studies (CMCS) at SPP of CEU, Budapest, Hungary

Leslie Harris
Center for Democracy & Technology, Washington D.C., USA

Monroe Price
Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, US / Center for Media and Communication Studies (CMCS) at SPP of CEU, Budapest, Hungary

Course Coordinator:
Eva Bognar
Center for Media and Communication Studies (CMCS) at SPP of CEU, Budapest, Hungary

Recent events in Egypt and Tunisia remind us that the development of the internet as a global, free and open resource stands at a perpetual crossroads. The dynamic and decentralized nature of the internet, and other new technologies, continually offers new avenues for open communication and free expression as well as new challenges and threats.  The strategic use of digital technologies and information tools with the goal of empowering civil society and building capacity for an open society is critical.  And at the same time, so-called ‘old media’ continues to play a vital role in communication, especially during times of crisis and conflict.

The issue of free and open communications is not only relevant in the case of repressive regimes and transitional democracies, but is remains crucial across all layers of socio-politics. The complexities of the relationship between technology, free expression, privacy and policy lie at the heart of the relationship between global security and human rights. 

This intensive summer course is designed to help both researchers and activists gain new insights into the role which civil society can play in advocating for free expression online and communication policy change, and will highlight the opportunities and challenges of technologies and online tools for mobilizing and organizing constituencies and for enhancing the security and privacy of advocates. During the course, we will explore a wide range of practical and theoretical views related to communication policy advocacy and online tools and tactics, and how to integrate research into these fields. The course will include hands-on work in developing advocacy campaigns and seek to cover some of latest developments in online tools for advocacy, security, privacy and crowd-sourcing.  We will also look at Internet governance issues and online free expression policies. 

As part of the course, participants will also work in teams on a group assignment for the duration of the course. Each group will be presented with a case study for which they should develop an advocacy campaign for communication policy change. Each team will be required to prepare a written report (approximately 10-15 pages in total), and give a multi-media presentation to the group at the end of the course.

In order maximize the output and opportunities for participants the course will have a maximum of 20-25 students.  

This course is intended for practitioners, policy makers, media policy advocates, PhD students, advanced MA students, and media development professionals (drawing from government, civil society/NGOs, foundations), journalists and other media practitioners with a demonstrated interest in new media and technology and communication policy advocacy.