The Role of The Social Media in Promotion of Human Rights

Блаженова Софья Андреевна – студентка факультета Международных отношений Московского государственного университета международных отношений.

Abstract: The main aim of this article is to demonstrate the relations between mass media and social media with the modern society. It is achieved by analyzing the current situation in the world in the field of mass media and human rights and various sources. At the end of the article I come to the conclusion that mass media has a dramatic impact on our lives and promote freedom of speech and other rights.

Аннотация: Цель статьи – проанализировать какую роль современные СМИ и социальные сети имеют в развитии прав человека в мире. Область медиа эволюционирует в каждым днем и является одной из самых быстро растущих сфер на данный момент. Работа была проделана путем анализа различных иностранных источников и литературы. Выводом этой статьи является тот факт, что современные СМИ и социальные сети дают невероятную свободу во многих странах мира, предоставляя все возможности для улучшения качества жизни.

Keywords: human rights, social media, mass media, network relations, Internet, journalism, international communications.

Ключевые слова: права человека, социальные сети, СМИ, взаимоотношения в сети, интернет, журналист, международные отношения

Nowadays, the role of the social media in our lives is larger than ever before. Apart from simply disseminating data, media outlets have recently begun to consistently promote particular causes, with one of the key ones among them being human rights. News agencies can provide individuals with an alternative source of information and put things in an international perspective for them, contributing to better living conditions, leading to positive change and establishing a universal standard of what the “government – society” relationship is supposed to be like.

Many argue for the importance of social media in the context of evolution of communications, regulations and international trade system. Others, on the contrary, believe that social media and the Internet can be means of enslavement, not liberation, spreading hatred and propaganda, but not tolerance and democracy [1]. Nearly everyone has access to their pages on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and new-born TikTok making it more and more complicated to follow the content and protecting human rights.

Mass media form a picture of the world of modern man - his values, concepts and stereotypes, so in the context of their activities, the dialogue of cultures appears as a process of "mutual interaction" of various pictures of the world embodied in the texts of the media. Media texts that report on the realities of other socio-cultural communities or are directly addressed to the audience of foreign countries play the most active role in the intercultural dialogue both in terms of the breadth of the audience coverage and the strength of the communicative impact. From these positions, the participation of the media in communication appears as an actual scientific and social problem.

The role of mass media in cross-cultural communication can be considered as:

  • educational (forms an adequate representation of people about relations);
  • organizational (organization of dialogue between different social forces);
  • research (study of multinational phenomena)
  • integration (continuous work to unite the society);
  • protective (representation in the information field of those who are weak and need protection);

The media is one of the components of this communication and the tool through which culture adapts to the everyday creation and life of people.

Beginning with educational aim of the social media, it worth pointing out that the modern media and network sources provide the users with tones of information making its use more fruitful. Nowadays, the tendency concerning education is growing and increasing its popularity. Populations in developed countries aim to get at least middle education to get full time job and the lack of the diploma is considered as a shame in those countries. Also, comparing the level of the development in countries where the percentage of educated people differs, it is obvious that economic, political and other spheres flourish in those states where the percentage is higher. Hence, no education among society brings to low living standards and poor population. However, the number of educated people wasn’t that high nearly 20-30 years ago, it initiated with the creation of media sources delivering the information. Changes in society have occurred mainly because of the way information is transmitted, when people are constantly connected and constantly informed about what is happening in someone's life or what is happening around the world. As technology begins to permeate every aspect of our lives, the media is becoming a major source of information and a growing necessity for life in the world. In particular, the education sector has been able to benefit greatly from its contribution to information and communication technologies.

Another factor that shows the role of digital media in education is how students actually receive information. Thanks to the availability of video lectures and other resources, training has become much more accessible. With the start of the global quarantine in March 2020, online learning has begun to develop even more rapidly. Another way digital media can influence education is through the use of a variety of other technologies, such as smart whiteboards and smart podiums, which allow teachers to easily draw graphs and output images and other resource materials to improve their students ' learning. Many teachers today use a variety of tools to improve learning in their subject; these tools include various activities, books, digitally published research papers, and PowerPoint. Today, the line between traditional media and new media is rapidly blurring, because almost every publication already has its own website. Social networks are online platforms where people can communicate and build social relationships with each other. In social networks, you can get closer to a person thanks to similar interests, and you can also keep in touch with friends and acquaintances from off-line life.

Turning to organization of dialogue between different social force, it is vital to highlight that in certain countries with harsh authoritarian regimes free media perform the invaluable function of challenging state-controlled TV and radio and expressing a public outcry against oppression, while also drawing the attention of the international community to grave local issues. In such states officials normally have little to no regard for human rights, but the pressure applied on them by independent media outlets might force them to at least slightly alter their rhetoric and actions. In the long run, this may encourage more people to think critically and demand to be treated with dignity.

Relations between state authorities and citizens related to the availability of personal data in digital form also need legal regulation in order to provide citizens with additional guarantees of maintaining the confidentiality of their personal data. This regulation should be based on the importance of preserving freedom of expression on the Internet and transparency of data on the facts of blocking the content of sites [1].

A big push in the development of the study of multinational phenomena are applications for news channels and a social network like Telegram, Twitter, Facebook. These platforms provide complete freedom for journalists to create podcasts on any topics, and podcasts have become incredibly popular over the past two years, especially among young people [3]. Owing to their wide distribution and wide choice of topics, people are able to listen to the news, enlighten themselves on the topic of politics, culture, international relations and other fields.

Yet, even in a relatively thriving state citizens frequently lack a vision of a better country to live in – and this task can be carried out by the media, specifically when reporting on the state of affair concerning human rights. In a word, if African locals are deprived of information about the accomplishments of Swedish or US citizens in ensuring, expanding and celebrating their rights, they will simply have no model to compare their situation with and aim for. Also, in the North Korea citizens live in total isolation, however. Exploring the realities of a different, often more advanced state fosters progress and navigates us through the obstacles on the way to prosperity.

On the other hand, many would argue media agencies impose values and ideas on their “consumers” and their narrative on human rights is no exception and has a major detrimental effect on our minds. Though it might be the case at times, the media predominantly espouse worthy causes, and, in the end, people can always decide for themselves and not only concur, but also refute, debate, object.

Concerning protection, an important issue related to censorship is the unconditional support for measures aimed at preventing the terrorist threat and restricting the constitutional rights of citizens. The state must prove that there is a direct and immediate connection between the alleged fact of such a threat and the probability of the actual occurrence of such violence, the authors write.

The Council of Europe considered social network media as instruments of political influence [1]. Internet blocking methods, Internet surveillance procedures, and data collection, which are becoming increasingly common, were identified as technical issues. States are developing legislation regarding criminal activities on the Internet, in particular trafficking in materials related to images of children. However, due to the restrictions imposed by these measures, the methods of blocking materials do not serve the purpose of removing the content for which they were intended. Initially, as well as do not contribute to restricting children's access to undesirable materials [5].

 In addition, often the practice of countering undesirable actions of users is based on laws containing incorrectly formulated concepts (and sometimes not on laws at all, when data on offenders become available from sources that are not recognized anywhere at the legislative level and compiled by persons who do not have legal grounds for this). In such cases, users may also have problems proving the legality of their actions.

Despite the fact that today the Internet space is only being developed as a platform for social and political influence, Internet technologies can facilitate political control over the actions of users.

The rules of law governing political activity on the Internet should contain clear and precise wording based on statutory law; set limits on the delegation of law enforcement measures of power that can potentially lead to arbitrariness; determine the place of Internet blocking; outline the scope of the process and the actions of court decisions that cancel the blocking, taking into account the rights of citizens.

The media are not perfect, never have been and never will be – but unleashing their maximum potential to make life on earth better is our sacred duty. And – provided it can be attained through informing and setting a standard to strive for in the context of human rights – such a chance shall not be ignored or neglected.


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