Facebook and Twitter were the tools of choice to organize democracy protests in Libya, Yemen, and Egypt. A Google executive played a prominent role in protests that helped bring down Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
The Internet has become a global force in revolutionary movements around the world, and the debate over what role the web and other communications systems play in democratic societies is shaping policy both inside and outside the beltway.
Thousands of policymakers and tech enthusiasts are expected to descend on Boston this weekend to discuss these developments and others at Free Press’s 2011 National Conference for Media Reform, where speakers will include Federal Communications Commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn, as well as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
“The goals of the National Conference for Media Reform are to energize the growing movement for better media and to demonstrate the broad public support for better policies,” said Craig Aaron, incoming president of Free Press. His organization weighs in on a variety of policy issues in Washington, including the role of technology and media in democracy.
Scheduled topics include not only the role of technology in democracy but also the state of media and journalism, net neutrality, national broadband access, and more.
Copps and Clyburn will participate in a town hall session on media reform Friday. Other speakers include Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, Craig Newmark of Craigslist, economist and Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, former White House technology adviser Susan Crawford, and a string of journalists and academics.
Nationaljournal.com will feature coverage of the conference from Friday through Sunday.