The next #Knight Foundation #Newschallenge (in partnership with Mozilla Foundation and the Ford Foundation) will focus on internet freedom and privacy. I'm going to take this as a sign of recognition of digital civil society. After all, we're interested in all the ways our digital environment is changing how we use private resources for public benefit and the policy and practice issues we should address in order for civil society to thrive in the digital age.
The Ford Foundation posted a great blog about the issues, quoting Isaac Asimov, writing about that distant year in the future, 2014. Ford, by the way, has been supporting the work of Equal Future, a blog that launched last year (I think) and has become one of my very few must-reads. So thanks to them.
Here's how Jenny Toomey of The Ford Foundation poses the issues that the #newschallenge will address:
"Over these past years, the Internet has influenced the legal and policy landscape in ways that have transformed social, political, legal and economic environments. There is no escaping this change. So we can argue about whether access to the Internet is a “right” in itself, but there is no argument against the fact that access to the Internet is a precondition to accessing many of our important rights to speak, to learn, to access information and fully participate in society.
This link has info on the challenge and how to apply.
Today, the lack of clear protections for the public in this environment directly contributes to the denial of people’s rights."