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President of Ireland opens international media conference

President Michael D Higgins has officially opened an international media and communications conference at DCU on the current economic crisis and how its ‘creative destruction’ affects geo-politics and communication.  Organised by the UNESCO-recognised International Association for Media & Communications Research, Crises, Creative Destruction and the Global Power and Communications Order, more than 1400 delegates from 88 countries will share, over the next few days, international perspectives on the current financial crisis and austerity measures and how these impact on media and public communication.   

In a speech that included references to Jürgen Habermas, Karl Marx, Raymond Williams and Sean MacBride, President Higgins warned of increasing concentration of ownership of the media, decrying the "mega-mergers ... taking place among the search giants and social network corporations."

He also spoke of his interest in the discussions taking place at IAMCR 2013 and noted the strong presence of young scholars at the conference. "There are so many very fine pieces and my wish for these young scholars is that they go on from insight, to delivery of new perspectives, and that above all they achieve the opportunity of contributing, through communications, research and policy, to a deepening of democracy."The President concluded by congratulating the IMACR “for all it does to promote global inclusiveness. The issues you will be addressing at this conference are of critical importance to the creation of societies which are truly democratic and have at their heart the right of each individual to participate, to contribute and to know that their voices count.”

Professor Paschal Preston of DCU School of Communications said,

“This conference theme directly engages with the deep, prolonged and widespread nature of the present economic crisis and how such historically-rare crises tend to prompt major changes in social, political and cultural affairs. It invites reflection on how evolving shifts in the role of the media and communication technologies relate to the austerity processes and gales of "creative destruction" prompted by such deep crises today or in the past. The theme also serves to link the current deep crisis of the western (or modern) model of professional journalism to the broader patterns of economic and social austerity attending such crises.”

The IAMCR conference will run until Saturday 29th June and will consider topics such as:

•          The Economic Crisis:  Media and the unfolding crisis in PIIGs countries; Austerity in Ireland

•          Crisis and Shifts in Geo-Political Power

•          Economic and Environmental Crises and the Media

•          Crisis, the Digital Moment  and Social Media

•          About Ireland:  Crisis and all that …

•          Media and Gender:  UNESCO session on ‘Women Making the News’

•          Data Protection:  Data Protection in Europe with the Irish Data Commissioner Billy Hawkes

Click here to view the programme in full .

26th June, 2013