The Public Square Project

Reimagining Our Digital Future

Peter Lewis
Paperback
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The Public Square Project

Published

30 November 2021

ISBN

9780522878271

Pages

224

Size

234mm x 153mm

Imprint

Melbourne University Press

The Public Square Project

Reimagining Our Digital Future

Peter Lewis
A new blueprint for a more democratic digital space
Western democracy has always been anchored by the idea of a public space where people gather to share ideas, mediate difference and make sense of the world When Facebook blocked Australian users from viewing or sharing news in 2021, it sounded the alarm worldwide on our growing reliance on global tech companies to fulfil this critical role in a digital world. Facebook's hostile act, constituting a very real threat to participatory democracy, was a direct response to government attempts to regulate Big Tech's advertising monopoly and to mediate its impact on public interest journalism. The conflict sparked a new sense of urgency around the growing movement to imagine alternative digital spaces that operate in the public interest rather than simply for a commercial bottom line. Can we create sustainable media models to help us tackle society's problems? Can we engender a civic platform built on facts and civility? Can we…
Western democracy has always been anchored by the idea of a public space where people gather to share ideas, mediate difference and make sense of the world. When Facebook blocked Australian users from viewing or sharing news in 2021, it sounded the alarm worldwide on our growing reliance on global tech companies to fulfil this critical role in a digital world. Facebook's hostile act, constituting a very real threat to participatory democracy, was a direct response to government attempts to regulate Big Tech's advertising monopoly and to mediate its impact on public interest journalism. The conflict sparked a new sense of urgency around the growing movement to imagine alternative digital spaces that operate in the public interest rather than simply for a commercial bottom line. Can we create sustainable media models to help us tackle society's problems? Can we engender a civic platform built on facts and civility? Can we control the power of our data and use it to promote the common good? The Public Square Project draws together leading tech scholars, industry experts, writers and activists to chart a path towards a public square worthy of the name.

Peter Lewis

Peter Lewis

Peter Lewis is the founder of the Australia Institute's Centre for Responsible Technology and the director of Essential, a strategic research and communications consultancy. He is a regular columnist for Guardian Australia and the author of Webtopia: the World Wide Wreck of Tech and How to Make the Net Work.

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