SHIFT HAPPENS: ETHICS AT PTC 2006

More than 1,000 media professionals, academics, policy experts, lawyers, and others from more than 40 countries attended the January 2006 Pacific Telecommun-ications Council annual conference in Honolulu. Under the umbrella theme of "Shift Happens: Transition to IP," PTC experts and guests focused on the transition from traditional wired and high frequency radio telecommunication to the new influx of Internet voice and image communication in the Pacific region. A panel of significance to media ethicists considered the ethical issues embedded within homeland security communication. Canadian government officer Bruce Drake, IBM Internet strategy director Michael Nelson, Pacific Disaster Center COO Ray Shirkhodai, and RGI managing director Robert Fonow, discussed the increased number of security and privacy issues associated with the ongoing "tsunami of data and gadgets" involved in "stepped-up" security measures. Another engaging panel discussed whether and how to reform the 1996 U. S. Telecommunications Act. It featured general counsel for Intelsat Phillip Spector; security officer for Global Crossing Paul Kouropas; and Paul Hastings law firm partner Tara Giunta. Lively debates occurred on whether the government is a needed and competent referee between media users and providers. A unique feature of PTC 2006 was back-to-back panels on emergency security challenges within the Internet. Featured speakers included senior researchers at Fujitsu Laboratories in Japan, the Chair of the IPv6 Security and Privacy Initiative in Luxembourg, and the Chief Technology Officer of Security Lab Technologies, U.S.A. Numerous ethical issues were considered in these panels-fraud, spam, telemarketing, computer viruses, the digital divide, invasion of privacy, confidentiality, and so on. One panel hosted by Ball State University Prof. Jay Gillette and summarized by Prof. Tom Cooper of Emerson College focused upon the use of new technologies to assist with humanitarian efforts and with bridging the digital divide. Speakers from Nigeria, Switzerland, Indonesia, and Taiwan discussed both the advances and inequalities in applying new media to educational and business purposes in diverse global settings. Ethical issues affecting both domestic and international "haves" and "have-nots" were discussed and "green light" ethics applications (i.e. positive humanitarian uses) of new technology such as for emergency disaster relief information were articulated. n

For further information about PTC, visit http:www.ptc.org.

 

TWC M*A*S WEB SITE MOVES

Claude-Jean Bertrand, professor emeritus in the Universitツ de Paris-II, who has been tending an extensive database giving details on press councils around the world, is moving the IPC Web site (www.presscouncils.org) to the Reynolds Institute for Journalism at the University of Missouri, where it will become more closely associated with "media accountability systems" (M*A*S) in general. The Web site now contains more than 400 codes of ethics, a list of 120 M*A*S, nearly 500 book titles, more than 250 Web links related to media ethics, a directory of world press councils, and an archive of a large number of other documents on the topic of M*A*S. n

Although there may be a short delay before new materials can be added, the new URL is available now: http:www.media-accountability.org.

 

 

MICHAEL TRABER

On March 11, 2006, at a moving service, the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) conferred honorary life membership on Father Michael Traber. Unfortunately, Traber's membership only lasted the two weeks until his death on March 25th. Clifford G. Christians, one of Traber's co-authors, has supplied MEDIA ETHICS with a brief description of Traber's professional life: Michael Traber studied philosophy and theology in Switzerland and communications in New York at Fordham and New York Universities (Ph.D., 1961). He worked as a journalist and book publisher in Zimbabwe and taught journalism in Zambia. From 1978 to 1995, he was on WACC's staff in London. His last position was as director of studies and publications. He edited the journal Media Development from 1976 to 1995. He also wrote three books on Africa, numerous chapters in books on communications ethics, and on the New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO). With Robert White, he edited the influential "Communication and Human Values" series for Sage. Among his edited books are The Myth of the Information Society, Communication Ethics and Universal Values (with Clifford Christians) and Towards Equity in Global Communication: Macbride Update (with Kaarle Nordenstreng and Richard Vincent).

A festschrift with the title The Democratization of Communication (edited by Philip Lee) was presented in his honor in 1995.

 

The above article was published in Media Ethics, Spring 2006 (17:2),pp. 30-31.