Student work: Assessing rankings of rights

The course Media, Activism and Social Change (GPC-M322) of the University of Helsinki focused in Spring 2020 on research about and for activism and advocacy.

As their final project, Anna Bogdan, Hannamari Hoikkala and Sofia Tikanmäki examined a variety of rankings that directly, or in some fashion, could contribute to operationalization of the initial CORDI framework of communication rights as access, availability, privacy and dialogicality as key factors promoting freedom of expression, and specifically of international comparisons of these rights or some of their elements. They also examined the underlying advocacy goals and target audiences, as well as the advocacy use of the rankings – and critically assessed the strengths and the blind spots of the rankings.

A unifying feature of most of the different monitoring projects and reports – ranging from the World Press Freedom Index and the Media Sustainability Index to the Open Data Barometer and the Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International – is that their assessments tend to matter most for countries outside of the Global North and provide little contextual nuances.

The detailed analyses of these and other rankings will provide a basis for further work by CORDI on comparative assessments of communication rights.

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