Social control and the institutionalization of human rights as an ethical framework for media and ICT corporations

Katharine Sarikakis (Department of Communication, Universität Wien Institut für Publizistik und Kommunikationswissenschaft, Wien, Austria)
Izabela Korbiel (Department of Communication, Universität Wien Institut für Publizistik und Kommunikationswissenschaft, Wien, Austria)
Wagner Piassaroli Mantovaneli (Department of Communication, Universität Wien Institut für Publizistik und Kommunikationswissenschaft, Wien, Austria)

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society

ISSN: 1477-996X

Publication date: 13 August 2018

Abstract

Purpose

This paper is concerned with the place of human rights in the process of technological development but specifically as this process is situated within the corporate-technological complex of modern digital communications and their derivatives. This paper aims to argue that expecting and institutionalizing the incorporation of human rights in the process of technological innovation and production, particularly in the context of global economic actors, constitutes a necessary act if we want to navigate the immediate future of artificial intelligence and ubiquitous connectivity in ways that protect democracy and human dignity.

Design/methodology/approach

The discussion presents the case for defending human rights through a social control perspective, which assumes the conscious quest for impacting change and cartographing a path of actions and intentions. The authors approach the problem from James Ralph Beniger’s theory of the Control Revolution (1986) to explain the emergence of a new social order and to outline the main challenges brought particularly by media and information and communication technology (ICT) corporations as global actors of power.

Findings

Ethics initiatives, considering human rights as an ethical framework for media and ICT businesses, can be based on social control perspectives to regard the more complex variables interacting in the formation of effective policy making. It is the right to participate in the construction of knowledge in society and, informed by this knowledge, help manage or control democratic issues, including influencing on the regulation of technology and other cultural formats of control (Altheide, 1995). Knowing social control tools enable citizens to lead their destinies, plan their freedom and the change what they wish in the societies they live in.

Originality/value

Social control is often understood as a term taken for granted and many times faced as representing malignant and anti-democratic forms. Here, the authors try to build a theoretical ground where both sides – the benign and the malignant – can be taken in consideration to bring awareness to the need to discuss social control as a democratic endeavor, and consider human rights as part of this and not something apart and idealized. The practice of human rights is directly associated with social control forms and is from within these practices individuals must understand its role on social control and act.

Keywords

Citation

Sarikakis, K., Korbiel, I. and Piassaroli Mantovaneli, W. (2018), "Social control and the institutionalization of human rights as an ethical framework for media and ICT corporations", Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 275-289. https://doi.org/10.1108/JICES-02-2018-0018

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Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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