Mastering the Barrel of the Gun: Can the Party Modernise the PLA Without Losing Control?

A Roundtable Discussion organised by PCMLP and the Oxford University China Centre

John Garnaut (Fairfax Media)
James Barker (British Embassy in Beijing)
Rana Mitter (Oxford University)
Chair: Ross Garnaut

Questions about military affairs have had an irreplaceable role in Chinese political developments since the late days of the Qing Dynasty. Military modernization was seen as a vital part in strengthening the nation, but at the same time, military power has often been used to decide domestic political questions. This ambiguous position concerning the military persists until the present day.

All are welcome, no registration is necessary, the event will be followed by wine and nibbles. For more information, please contact Dr Rogier Creemers (convener), rogier.creemers@csls.ox.ac.uk.

Reporting China

A Roundtable Discussion organised by PCMLP and the Oxford University China Centre

John Garnaut (Fairfax Media)
Jane Macartney (The Times)
Vincent Ni (Caixin)

The amount of reporting on China in the global press has greatly expanded over the past years. Numbers of reporters within China have grown, and the journalist corps has had an increasing impact on the way that China is perceived abroad, but also on domestic Chinese politics. This roundtable will discuss the evolving role and position of China reporters with three senior journalists.

All are welcome, no registration is necessary, the event will be followed by wine and nibbles. For more information, please contact Dr Rogier Creemers (convener), rogier.creemers@csls.ox.ac.uk.

The Challenges of Citizen Journalism: Technology and the Law

Citizen journalism has come to international prominence as it enables ordinary citizens to reach out to wide audiences with a speed and global reach which has never been seen before, giving voice to alternative stories and perspectives.  The rise of such outlets has changed traditional patterns of production and consumption of news, the relationship between professional and non-professional media, the dynamics between the media sphere and communities/societies, and eventually challenges the definition, obligations and legal safeguards of journalists.

The conference aims to bring academics and practitioners from various backgrounds to discuss the social and legal implications of this phenomenon from different geographical and cultural perspectives, in order to address the complex interplay between new technologies, that span their effect at the global level, their impact in various social contexts, and the different legal responses at the national and regional level.

Programme

9.30-10.30 Keynote Speech

Lim Ming Kuok – Assistant Programme Specialist, Communication and Information Sector, UNESCO

10.30-12.30 Citizen Journalism and new technologies: opportunities and challenges for news dissemination in the digital era

Chair: Professor William Dutton, Professor of Internet Studies, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

  • Kevin Anderson, Freelance journalist and digital strategist
  • Mike Rispoli, Communications Manager, Privacy International
  • Solana Larsen, Managing Editor, Global Voices

12.30-13.30 Lunch

13.30-15.30 The social contexts of citizen journalism: the place for individual news disseminators within societies and communities

Chair: Iginio Gagliardone, Research Fellow, PCMLP, University of Oxford

  • Libby Powell, Co-founder and CEO, Radar
  • Kristin Skare Orgeret, Professor, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences
  • Solana Larsen, Managing Editor, Global Voices

15.30-16.00 Coffee Break

16.00-18.00 Citizen journalism between rights and responsibilities: towards new legal and ethical standards?

Chair: Jacob Rowbottom, Fellow in Law, University of Oxford

  • Tarlach McGonagle, Senior Researcher, University of Amsterdam
  • Judith Townend, Freelance journalist and Ph.D. candidate, City University London
  • Jim Boumelha, President, International Federation of Journalists
  • Peter Noorlander, Chief Executive, Media Legal Defence Initiative

All are welcome to attend. In order to reserve a place, please contact: louise.scott@csls.ox.ac.uk.

The Post-2015 Development Agenda: Implications for ICT4D Research

Speaker: Professor Richard Heeks, University of Manchester

With the Millennium Development Goals about to reach their sell-by date, the new post-2015 development agenda is currently being formulated. This talk explores that agenda and its implications for ICT4D (information and communication technologies for development) research priorities. The presentation begins with an overview of the post-2015 process and a cross-check that the new agenda is worth attending to.

Arguing it will be the single most important shaper of future development priorities, the talk then analyses three aspects of the post-2015 framework compared to that inspired by the MDGs: elements of the agenda that are becoming less important; issues which continue; and new issues and ideas that are on the rise. With two years to go until the post-2015 framework is activated, now is a good time to consider the implications of this comparison for our future research priorities in the sub-discipline of ‘development informatics’, and the extent to which these might – or might not – cohere around a vision of “Development 2.0”.

Twitter hashtag: #oxict4d

Please email your name and affiliation to events@oii.ox.ac.uk or telephone +44 (0)1865 287210.

Crowdsourcing and Development of Activity Systems: the Case of Emergency

Speaker: Gregory Asmolov, LSE

The presentation suggests applying the notion of activity systems and zones of proximal development, as conceptualized in Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT), to the field of ICT4D. Relying on the principles and analytical apparatus of CHAT (Vygotsky; Leontiev, 1978; Engeström, 1989) it discusses crowdsourcing platforms and online mapping applications as artifacts that mediate activity systems.

Based on case studies from the field of crisis response, the presentation discusses various structures of activity systems that are mediated through information technologies. The talk also seeks to establish association between the structure of activity system and the degree of statehood in particular socio-political environment (Livingston & Walter-Drop, 2013). The presentation relies on a fieldwork conducted in Australia and Russia in 2013.

Twitter hashtag: #oxict4d

Please email your name and affiliation to events@oii.ox.ac.uk or telephone +44 (0)1865 287210.

The Internet in a Post-Prism World

Dr Dan McQuillan, from Goldsmiths, University London, will give a talk as part of the ICT4D Seminar Series.

This seminar will examine the Internet in a post-PRISM world, and ask if its power to tackle global poverty will be lost. While recognising the danger of nation states breaking up the Internet, I will concentrate on the already existing threat of tracking & big data and the emergence of algorithmic regulation.

ICT4D may never have delivered on the promise of development anyway, so I won’t mourn its passing but will point instead to the risk of a neocolonial cybernetics running across the Internet and the Internet of Things, and the risk of renewed subjugation through ideas like Smart Slums. Based on my experiences with civic hacking and the crypytoparty movement, I will identify participatory methodologies and critical pedagogy as key to post-digital citizenship and to our ability to disrupt predictive ‘states of exception’.

For more information see The Changing Faces of Citizen Action: A Mapping Study through an ‘Unruly’ Lenshttp://www.ids.ac.uk/publication/the-changing-faces-of-citizen-action-a-mapping-study-through-an-unruly-lens

Please email your name and affiliation to events@oii.ox.ac.uk or telephone +44 (0)1865 287210.

Thoughts Towards a History of ICT4D – and its Future Role

David Souter, from the London School of Economics, gives a presentation as part of the ICT4D Seminar Series.

The presentation will use the history and development of ICT4D – and its relationships with both development policy and the ICT sector – as a framework to critique ICT4D approaches and consider the relevance of ICTs and ICT4D to the post-2015 development agenda.

It will draw, inter alia, on recent work for the World Bank, to assess ICTs in post-conflict reconstruction; for the International Institute for Sustainable Development, to address the relationship between ICTs and sustainability; and for UNCTAD and the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development, to consider the implications of emerging ICT trends for developmental outcomes.

Twitter hashtag: #oxict4d

Please email your name and affiliation to events@oii.ox.ac.uk or telephone +44 (0)1865 287210.

ICT4D Seminar Series

This seminar series gathers leading scholars and practitioners to reflect on the influence of new communication technologies on development processes. The seminars will focus on the dramatic changes in citizens’ ability to coordinate and mobilize for political action, on global migration and its relation to digital media, and on how international and national actors are seeking to shape the applications of technology and communication. The series provides a focus point for academics and non-academics in Oxford who are interested in the challenges and opportunities of employing new communication technologies in development contexts.

The series is organized by the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy (PCMLP), the Department of International Development (ODID) and the Technology & Management for Development Centre (TMD) at the University of Oxford, and co-convened by Dr Iginio Gagliardone and Dr Mark Graham.

These seminars will take place on Tuesday evenings from 4:30pm to 6:00pm at the Oxford Internet Institute (address above). They will each be followed by a short drinks reception.

Registration is recommended: please email your name and affiliation to events@oii.ox.ac.uk or telephone +44 (0)1865 287210.
Twitter hashtag: #oxict4d

27 January, 2015
ICT, Civic Education and Civil Society Capacity Building in Iran
Speaker: Mariam Memarsadeghi Tavaana, Director E-Learning Institute for Iranian Civil Society
Since Tavaana’s launch in 2010, the e-learning institute has safely educated thousands of Iranians about democracy and human rights. Through our live e-classes, documentaries and lectures aired on satellite TV, robust social networks, dissemination of ebooks and more, we are able to teach and inspire civic discourse about highly censored topics such as democratic transition, feminism, Islamic reformation, and LGBT rights. Our materials reach 7-15 million Iranians each week via Facebook alone, and over 15 million Iranians via satellite TV. We’ve learned great lessons from the potential of the Internet in reaching and supporting civil societies in even the most repressive regimes, and about cultivating via overlapping technologies a culture of human rights and liberalism.

3 February, 2015
Dying for an iPhone: The Hidden Struggle of China’s Workers
Speaker: Jenny Chan, University of Oxford
During 2010, 18 workers attempted suicide at Taiwanese-owned Foxconn Technology Group’s Chinese facilities, where Apple and other high profile branded products are produced and assembled. They ranged in age from 17 to 25 – the prime of youth. Fourteen died, while four survived with crippling injuries. What had driven the young Chinese workers to commit the desperate act? What light did they cast on China’s much touted economic transformation in the era of export-oriented growth? The mystery that our investigation seeks to explore is not only the “inside story” of Foxconn; it is also the nature of global capitalism embodying with specific relationship between Foxconn and its buyers, the largest and richest being Apple, as well as that between Foxconn and the Chinese state. These are the relationships that shape conditions on the factory floor and ultimately workers’ lives. An in-depth study of the most powerful electronics contractor and the lives of its 1.4 million workers enable us to draw out the deep contradictions among labor, capital, and the Chinese state in global IT production.

10 February, 2015
Ethical Treatment of Data in New Digital Landscapes – bringing development practitioners and academics together
Speaker: Amy O’Donnell, Oxfam
Data has invaluable applications to ensure organisations like Oxfam are needs driven and responsive, meanwhile there are also huge risks to communities if the related processes are not designed and managed in a responsible manner. Adopting meaningful approaches to data security and ethical methodology is not a new effort within Oxfam and the development community nor is it for academics. What is new, however, is the way that the changing digital landscape is presenting new challenges and opportunities which we must react to and ensure staff have resources and knowledge about how to collect, store, manage, use and even dispose of data responsibly. How can NGOs like Oxfam come together with academics and practitioners alike to tackle emerging privacy and security challenges when it comes to effective management of data? As Oxfam are in the process of applying a Responsible Data Policy, how can we learn from and support one another, particularly when it comes to guidance and what policy means in practice?

24 February, 2015
Combatting Corruption with Mobile Phones
Speaker: Vivek Srinivasan, Stanford University
India’s right to information movement demonstrated the potential to combat corruption through social audits – an exercise to share and verify public records with people. But this process requires a lot of time, skill and organizational effort – thanks to which very few audits are organized in India despite its potential. We hope to change this by creating digital tools for activists, which they can use to organize social audits continuously at low cost, and thus challenge corruption in a sustained manner. The technology involves collecting public records online, disseminating it to people via mobile phones and collecting their feedback so that the activists can redress grievances in a timely manner. I will share the progress of the project so far in this talk.

3 March, 2015
Africa’s Information Revolution: Rhetoric and Reality
Speaker: Padraig Carmody, University of Dublin
Over the past decade there has been a phenomenal growth in mobile phone and internet usage in Africa which has attracted substantial media and academic interest. However questions remain about the economically transformative nature and potential of this diffusion of communication infrastructures and artefacts. Based on over two hundred firm level interviews in Tanzania and South Africa this paper explores the impacts of the “information revolution” on small and medium enterprise development. Contrary to perceptions it finds evidence of thin integration, devaluation and neo, rather than disintermediation. The implications of this for African development are then explored.