Search for an item in libraries near you: >> Advanced Search

Booklist: International Day of Democracy 2022

Ten books focusing on freedom of expression and challenges to the information space for this year’s International Day of Democracy. Check out our Media & Freedom of Speech and Digital Activism research guides to find full-text reports from organizations like Center for Independent Media Assistance. Learn more about NED’s library.

Liberation Technology : Social Media and the Struggle for Democracy
Edited by Larry Jay Diamond‎ & Marc F Plattner

“The revolutions sweeping the Middle East provide dramatic evidence of the role that technology plays in mobilizing citizen protest and upending seemingly invulnerable authoritarian regimes. A grainy cell phone video of a Tunisian street vendor’s self-immolation helped spark the massive protests that toppled longtime ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Alt, and Egypt’s “Facebook revolution” forced the ruling regime out of power and into exile.While such liberation technology” has been instrumental in freeing Egypt and Tunisia, other cases-such as China and Iran-demonstrate that it can be deployed just as effectively by authoritarian regimes seeking to control the Internet, stifle protest, and target dissenters. This two-sided dynamic has set off an intense technological race between “netizens” demanding freedom and authoritarians determined to retain their grip on power.Liberation Technology brings together cutting-edge scholarship from scholars and practitioners at the forefront of this burgeoning field of study. An introductory section defines the debate with a foundational piece on liberation technology and is then followed by essays discussing the popular dichotomy of liberation” versus “control” with regard to the Internet and the sociopolitical dimensions of such controls. Additional chapters delve into the cases of individual countries: China, Egypt, Iran, and Tunisia.This book also includes in-depth analysis of specific technologies such as Ushahidi-a platform developed to document human-rights abuses in the wake of Kenya’s 2007 elections-and alkasir-a tool that has been used widely throughout the Middle East to circumvent cyber-censorship.Liberation Technology will prove an essential resource for all students seeking to understand the intersection of information and communications technology and the global struggle for democracy.”  — Provided by publisher.


This is Not Propaganda : Adventures in the War Against Reality
By Peter Pomerantsev

“When information is a weapon, every opinion is an act of war.

We live in a world of influence operations run amok, where dark ads, psyops, hacks, bots, soft facts, ISIS, Putin, trolls, and Trump seek to shape our very reality. In this surreal atmosphere created to disorient us and undermine our sense of truth, we’ve lost not only our grip on peace and democracy — but our very notion of what those words even mean.

Peter Pomerantsev takes us to the front lines of the disinformation age—from Kiev to Manilla–where he meets Twitter revolutionaries and pop-up populists, “behavioral change” salesmen, Jihadi fanboys, Identitarians, truth cops, and many others. Forty years after his Ukranian dissident parents were pursued by the KGB, Pomerantsev finds the Kremlin re-emerging as a great propaganda power. His research takes him back to Russia — but the answers he finds there are not what he expected.

Blending reportage, family history, and intellectual adventure, This Is Not Propaganda explores how we can reimagine our politics and ourselves when reality seems to be coming apart.” — Provided by publisher


Consent of the Networked : The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom
By Rebecca MacKinnon

“The Internet was going to liberate us, but in truth it has not. For every story about the web’s empowering role in events such as the Arab Spring, there are many more about the quiet corrosion of civil liberties by companies and governments using the same digital technologies we have come to depend upon. In Consent of the Networked, journalist and Internet policy specialist Rebecca MacKinnon argues that it is time to fight for our rights before they are sold, legislated, programmed, and engineered away. Every day, the corporate sovereigns of cyberspace (Google and Facebook, among others) make decisions that affect our physical freedom — but without our consent. Yet the traditional solution to unaccountable corporate behavior — government regulation — cannot stop the abuse of digital power on its own, and sometimes even contributes to it.

A clarion call to action, Consent of the Networked shows that it is time to stop arguing over whether the Internet empowers people, and address the urgent question of how technology should be governed to support the rights and liberties of users around the world.” — Provided by publisher


Free Expression, Globalism, and the New Strategic Communication
By Monroe E Price

“Vast changes in technologies and geopolitics have produced a wholesale shift in the way states and other powerful entities think about the production and retention of popular loyalties. Strategic communication has embraced these changes as stakes increase and the techniques of information management become more pervasive. These shifts in strategic communications impact free speech as major players, in a global context, rhetorically embrace a world of transparency, all the while increasing surveillance and modes of control, turning altered media technologies and traditional media doctrines to their advantage. This book exposes the anxieties of loss of control, on the one hand, and the missed opportunities for greater freedom, on the other. ‘New’ strategic communication arises from the vast torrents of information that cross borders and uproot old forms of regulation. Not only states but also corporations, nongovernmental organizations, religious institutions, and others have become part of this new constellation of speakers and audiences.” — Provided by publisher



Media Capture : How Money, Digital Platforms, and Governments Control the News
Edited by Anya Schiffrin

“Who controls the media today? There are many media systems across the globe that claim to be free yet whose independence has been eroded. As demagogues rise, independent voices have been squeezed out. Corporate-owned media companies that act in the service of power increasingly exercise soft censorship. Tech giants such as Facebook and Google have dramatically changed how people access information, with consequences that are only beginning to be felt.

This book features pathbreaking analysis from journalists and academics of the changing nature and peril of media capture—how formerly independent institutions fall under the sway of governments, plutocrats, and corporations. Contributors including Emily Bell, Felix Salmon, Joshua Marshall, Joel Simon, and Nikki Usher analyze diverse cases of media capture worldwide—from the United Kingdom to Turkey to India and beyond—many drawn from firsthand experience. They examine the role played by new media companies and funders, showing how the confluence of the growth of big tech and falling revenues for legacy media has led to new forms of control. Contributions also shed light on how the rise of right-wing populists has catalyzed the crisis of global media. They also chart a way forward, exploring the growing need for a policy response and sustainable models for public-interest investigative journalism. Providing valuable insight into today’s urgent threats to media independence, Media Capture is essential reading for anyone concerned with defending press freedom in the digital age.” — Provided by publisher


Reset : Reclaiming the Internet for Civil Society
By Ronald Deibert

“Once, it was conventional wisdom to assume that digital technologies would enable greater access to information, facilitate collective organizing, and empower civil society. Rather than facilitating unity and the emergence of a common ideology based on science, the internet and social media have proven to be vehicles used to spread falsehoods, pollute the public sphere, and subject populations to wholesale surveillance. People are also spending an unhealthy amount of time staring at their devices, “socializing” while in fact living in isolation and detached from nature. As a consequence, there are pushes to regulate social media and to encourage tech giants to be better stewards of their platforms, respect privacy, and acknowledge the role of human rights. A prerequisite of any such regulation, however, is a complete understanding of the precise nature and depth of the problems. Technology and security expert Ronald J. Deibert examines the scope and scale of the personal, social, political, economic, and ecological implications of social media. Drawing from the cutting-edge research of the Citizen Lab (which he directs), Deibert analyzes consumer compulsion and the information economy; the disturbing rise of authoritarian practices, cyberwarfare services, and social engineering campaigns; and the negative environmental impact of digital devices, data farms, and electronic waste. Ultimately, Deibert exposes social media’s disproportionate influence in every aspect of life to the detriment of society and of our humanity–so much so that we are now in urgent need of a wholesale shift in our lifestyles, a fundamental revision of culture, work, and politics. And not just in one country, but around the world.” — Provided by publisher


Public Sentinel : News Media & Governance Reform
Edited by Pippa Norris

“Do the news media especially if they are free, plural and independent of government control have an impact on the quality of governance? To many, the answer to that question is not only obvious, it is blindingly so. The news media have contributed to the improvement of governance in several countries, especially through their ability to expose corrupt deeds and speak truth to power. The problem, however, is that as the governance reform agenda evolves in the field of international development, the role of the news media is still uncertain. Opportunities to strengthen the news media will always depend on the situation in each country, and will always depend on the interplay of forces within each country. In other words, the political economic realities will always determine what can be achieved. What that means is that those who want to improve media systems in their own countries must learn to build effective coalitions. That is where work is really needed. Nonetheless, it is possible to do two things. First, it is possible to bring together how the news media can contribute to good governance outcomes. Second, it is possible to draw the necessary policy implications. This book will contribute to a greater awareness of the potential contributions of independent news media to governance reform efforts around the world.”  — Provided by publisher



How to Lose the Information War : Russia, Fake News, and the Future of Conflict
By Nina Jankowicz

“Since the start of the Trump era, the United States and the Western world has finally begun to wake up to the threat of online warfare and the attacks from Russia. The question no one seems to be able to answer is: what can the West do about it? Central and Eastern European states, however, have been aware of the threat for years. Nina Jankowicz has advised these governments on the front lines of the information war. The lessons she learned from that fight, and from her attempts to get US congress to act, make for essential reading. How to Lose the Information War takes the reader on a journey through five Western governments’ responses to Russian information warfare tactics – all of which have failed. She journeys into the campaigns the Russian operatives run, and shows how we can better understand the motivations behind these attacks and how to beat them. Above all, this book shows what is at stake: the future of civil discourse and democracy, and the value of truth itself.” — Provided by publisher



The New Censorship : Inside the Global Battle for Media Freedom
By Joel Simon

“Journalists are being imprisoned and killed in record numbers. Online surveillance is annihilating privacy, and the Internet can be brought under government control at any time. Joel Simon, the executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, warns that we can no longer assume our global information ecosystem is stable, protected, and robust. Journalists — and the crucial news they report — are increasingly vulnerable to attack by authoritarian governments, militants, criminals, and terrorists, who all seek to use technology, political pressure, and violence to set the global information agenda.

Reporting from Pakistan, Russia, Turkey, Egypt, and Mexico, among other hotspots, Simon finds journalists under threat from all sides. The result is a growing crisis in information — a shortage of the news we need to make sense of our globalized world and to fight against human rights abuses, manage conflict, and promote accountability. Drawing on his experience defending journalists on the front lines, he calls on “global citizens,” U.S. policy makers, international law advocates, and human rights groups to create a global freedom-of-expression agenda tied to trade, climate, and other major negotiations. He proposes ten key priorities, including combating the murder of journalists, ending censorship, and developing a global free-expression charter challenging criminal and corrupt forces that seek to manipulate the world’s news.” — Provided by publisher


Computational propaganda : political parties, politicians, and political manipulation on social media
Edited by Samuel C Woolley & Philip N Howard

“Computational propaganda is an emergent form of political manipulation that occurs over the Internet. The term describes the assemblage of social media platforms, autonomous agents, algorithms, and big data tasked with the manipulation of public opinion. Our research shows that this new mode of interrupting and influencing communication is on the rise around the globe. Advances in computing technology, especially around social automation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence mean that computational propaganda is becoming more sophisticated and harder to track at an alarming rate. This introduction explores the foundations of computational propaganda. It describes the key role that automated manipulation of algorithms plays in recent efforts to control political communication worldwide. We discuss the social data science of political communication and build upon the argument that algorithms and other computational tools now play an important political role in areas like news consumption, issue awareness, and cultural understanding. We unpack the key findings of the nine country case studies that follow—exploring the role of computational propaganda during events from local and national elections in Brazil to the ongoing security crisis between Ukraine and Russia. Our methodology in this work has been purposefully mixed, we make use of quantitative analysis of data from several social media platforms and qualitative work that includes interviews with the people who design and deploy political bots and disinformation campaigns. Finally, we highlight original evidence about how this manipulation and amplification of disinformation is produced, managed, and circulated by political operatives and governments and describe paths for both democratic intervention and future research in this space.” — Provided by publisher


Brought to you by the librarians at the Democracy Resource Center. Learn more about NED’s library.