Tag Archives: media

Media registration is open for the 2018 ITU ( International Telecommunication Union) Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-18) being held 29 October – 16 November 2018 in Dubai

I’m a little late with this but there’s still time to register should you happen to be in or able to get to Dubai easily. From an October 18, 2018 International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Media Advisory (received via email),

Media registration is open for the 2018 ITU Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-18) – the highest policy-making body of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations’ specialized agency for information and communication technology. This will be closing soon, so all media intending to attend the event MUST register as soon as possible here.

Held every four years, it is the key event at which ITU’s 193 Member States decide on the future role of the organization, thereby determining ITU’s ability to influence and affect the development of information and communication technologies (ICTs) worldwide. It is expected to attract around 3,000 participants, including Heads of State and an estimated 130 VIPs from more than 193 Member States and more than 800 private companies, academic institutions and national, regional and international bodies.

ITU plays an integral role in enabling the development and implementation of ICTs worldwide through its mandate to: coordinate the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promote international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, work to improve communication infrastructure in the developing world, and establish worldwide standards that foster seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications systems.

Delegates will tackle a number of pressing issues, from strategies to promote digital inclusion and bridge the digital divide, to ways to leverage such emerging technologies as the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, 5G, and others, to improve the way all of us, everywhere, live and work.

The conference also sets ITU’s Financial Plan and elects its five top executives – Secretary-General, Deputy Secretary-General, and the Directors of the Radiocommunication, Telecommunication Standardization and Telecommunication Development Bureaux – who will guide its work over the next four years.

What: ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2018 (PP-18) sets the next four-year strategy, budget and leadership of ITU.

Why: Finance, Business, Tech, Development and Foreign Affairs reporters will find PP-18 relevant to their newsgathering. Decisions made at PP-18 are designed to create an enabling ICT environment where the benefits of digital connectivity can reach all people and economies, everywhere. As such, these decisions can have an impact on the telecommunication and technology sectors as well as developed and developing countries alike.

When: 29 October – 16 November 2018: With several Press Conferences planned during the event.

* Historically the Opening, Closing and Plenary sessions of this conference are open to media. Confirmation of those sessions open to media, and Press Conference times, will be made closer to the event date.

Where: Dubai World Trade Center, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

More Information:


I visited the ‘ITU Events Registration and Accreditation Process for Media‘ webpage and foudn these tidbits,

Accreditation eligibility & credentials 

1. Journalists* should provide an official letter of assignment from the Editor-in-Chief (or the News Editor for radio/TV). One letter per crew/editorial team will suffice. Editors-in-Chief and Bureau Chiefs should submit a letter from their Director. Please email this to pressreg@itu.int, along with the required supporting credentials below:​

    • ​​​​​print and online publications should be available to the general public and published at least 6 times a year by an organization whose principle business activity is publishing and which generally carries paid advertising;

      o 2 copies of recent byline articles published within the last 4 months.
    • news wire services should provide news coverage to subscribers, including newspapers, periodicals and/or television networks;

      o 2 copies of recent byline articles or broadcasting material published within the last 4 months.
    • broadcast should provide news and information programmes to the general public. Independent film and video production companies can only be accredited if officially mandated by a broadcast station via a letter of assignment;

      o broadcasting material published within the last 4 months.
    • freelance journalists including photographers, must provide clear documentation that they are on assignment from a specific news organization or publication. Evidence that they regularly supply journalistic content to recognized media may be acceptable in the absence of an assignment letter at the discretion of the ITU Media Relations Service.

      o a valid assignment letter from the news organization or publication.

 2. Bloggers may be granted accreditation if blog content is deemed relevant to the industry, contains news commentary, is regularly updated and made publicly available. Corporate bloggers are invited to register as participants. Please see Guidelines for Blogger Accreditation below for more details.

Guidelines for Blogger Accreditation

ITU is committed to working with independent ‘new media’ reporters and columnists who reach their audiences via blogs, podcasts, video blogs and other online media. These are the guidelines we use to determine whether to issue official media accreditation to independent online media representatives: 

ITU reserves the right to request traffic data from a third party (Sitemeter, Technorati, Feedburner, iTunes or equivalent) when considering your application. While the decision to grant access is not based solely on traffic/subscriber data, we ask that applicants provide sufficient transparency into their operations to help us make a fair and timely decision. 

Obtaining media accreditation for ITU events is an opportunity to meet and interact with key industry and political figures. While continued accreditation for ITU events is not directly contingent on producing coverage, owing to space limitations we may take this into consideration when processing future accreditation requests. Following any ITU event for which you are accredited, we therefore kindly request that you forward a link to your post/podcast/video blog to pressreg@itu.int. 

Bloggers who are granted access to ITU events are expected to act professionally. Those who do not maintain the standards expected of professional media representatives run the risk of having their accreditation withdrawn. 

If you can’t find answers to your questions on the ‘ITU Events Registration and Accreditation Process for Media‘ webpage, you can contact,

For media accreditation inquiries:

Rita Soraya Abino-Quintana
Media Accreditation Officer
ITU Corporate Communications

Tel: +41 22 730 5424

For anything else, contact,

For general media inquiries:

Jennifer Ferguson-Mitchell
Senior Media and Communications Officer
ITU Corporate Communications

Tel: +41 22 730 5469

Mobile: +41 79 337 4615

There you have it.

Analysis of German language media coverage of nanotechnology

Austria’s NanoTrust project published, in October 2012, a dossier tittled: Nanotechnology in the media; On the reporting in representative daily newspapers in Austria, Germany and Switzerland which has been highlighted in a Jan. 21, 2013 Nanowerk Spotlight article (Note: Footnotes have been removed),

The media can have a significant influence on the public image of science and technology, in the specific case nanotechnology. This is true in particular if only a small percentage of the population only comes directly into contact with such fields of research. Mass media reporting serves to increase awareness of selected topics, informs about current debates involving a wide variety of actors who need to be heard and thus also prepares a basis for future social debates. The population is introduced to central aspects of technical applications, which also include the opportunities and risks associated with the new technologies.

A media analysis has been conducted of selected quality newspapers within the framework of the “NanoPol” project [cooperation between the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) at the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT), the Institute for Technology Assessment (ITA) at the Austrian Academy of Sciences (OeAW), TA-Swiss in Berne and the Programme for Science Research of the University of Basel], which analyses the nanotechnology policies of Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

Quality newspapers are characterised by their target group, comprising persons who have a specific interest in national events and information and who are of significance as multipliers for opinion formation amongst the national public. At the same time, mass media as an ongoing observer in the public can contribute to determining the significance of the topic for the public discussion. For each country, two print media were investigated, the investigation period extending over ten years (2000-2009):

– Der Standard and Die Presse (A);

– Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and die Süddeutsche Zeitung (D);

– Neue Züricher Zeitung and der Tagesanzeiger (CH).

The media analysis covered almost 2000 articles produced between 2000 and 2009,

Roughly 44 % of all articles were accounted for by the two German print media, while Switzerland and Austria had a share of 29 % and 27 % respectively, with in each case one national newspaper having published significantly more articles with nanotechnology topics. At the beginning of the investigation period, the frequency of articles still varied considerably in the different countries, but converged towards the end of the period.

The reports on nanotechnology are overwhelmingly (88 %) to be found in fact-focused report formats such as news reports or background coverage, while a small percentage of the contributions are drawn up in the form of interviews, comments and essays.

There’s a bit of a surprise (to me) concerning popular topics in that medical applications don’t place first in terms of interest,

Topics related to basic research, which for instance include toxicology and risk research, constituted an in part clear majority in all three countries. Applications in the field of information and communication technology, extending from data media to sensors, were the second most frequently referred to topic. Medical applications, from diagnostics to specific therapies, occupied third place in all three countries, although relatively speaking there were somewhat more reports about medical topics in Austria than in the other two countries.  [emphases mine] Reports from the field of business and politics, dealing above all with companies, research subsidies, environment and economic policies, occupied places four and five.

The conclusion of this Spotlight article seems to hint at a little disappointment,

The reporting on nanotechnology in the media in the three German-speaking countries is largely science-centred and attracts a generally low level of attention amongst the broad public thanks to its less emphasised placing. There is hardly any opinion-focused reporting, with classical news reports and reports relating to current research activities or events predominating. In all three countries, the newspapers’ science departments play a dominant role, and scientists also play a central role as actors.

An event-focused positive representation predominates. A focus on risks and controversial reporting, a concern raised regularly in expert circles, was not proven in the present study. Risk topics play a role in fewer than 20 % of articles; the benefits and opportunities of nanotechnology, on the other hand, are mentioned in 80 % of all articles.

Benefits are seen above all for science. Scientific actors are likewise mentioned relatively frequently, which indicates the close connections between science and business, and the economic expectations of nanotechnology. One would have to examine the extent to which the absence of controversies can be attributed to the hitherto lack of evidence of possible dangers and risks or to well-functioning strategic scientific PR work. [emphasis mine]

Why mention  “well-functioning strategic scientific PR work” in the conclusion when there has been no mention of public relations (PR) in any other section of this dossier?  As well, if strategic scientific PR work was that effective, then nuclear power might not be quite so controversial.

Overall, this study doesn’t break any new ground but does confirm a growing consensus of opinion, the public regardless of which country (with the possible exception of France) we are discussing tends not to be all that interested in nanotechnology.

For those curious about the French controversies, there’s a mention in my March 10, 2010 posting (scroll down about 1/4 of the way) about an Agence Science-Presse radio interview with Celine Lafontaine, a Quebec-based academic who studies the social impact of nanotechnology and was in France during a very contentious series of public debates on the subject.

For anyone who found the reference to ‘actors’ in this research a little unexpected, the term is being used by researchers who are using ‘actor-network theory’ as an analytical tool. You can find out more about actor-network theory in this Wikipedia essay.

Pop culture, science communication, and nanotechnology

A few years back I wrote a paper for the  Cascadia Nanotech Symposium (March 2007 held in Vancouver) called: Engaging Nanotechnology: pop culture, media, and public awareness. I was reminded it of a few days ago when I saw a mention on Andrew Maynard’s, 2020 Science blog about a seminar titled, Biopolitics of Popular Culture being held in Irvine, California on Dec. 4, 2009 by the Institute of Ethics for Emerging Technologies. (You can read more of Andrew’s comments here or you can check out the meeting details here.) From the meeting website,

Popular culture is full of tropes and cliches that shape our debates about emerging technologies. Our most transcendent expectations for technology come from pop culture, and the most common objections to emerging technologies come from science fiction and horror, from Frankenstein and Brave New World to Gattaca and the Terminator.

Why is it that almost every person in fiction who wants to live a longer than normal life is evil or pays some terrible price? What does it say about attitudes towards posthuman possibilities when mutants in Heroes or the X-Men, or cyborgs in Battlestar Galactica or Iron Man, or vampires in True Blood or Twilight are depicted as capable of responsible citizenship?

Is Hollywood reflecting a transhuman turn in popular culture, helping us imagine a day when magical and muggle can live together in a peaceful Star Trek federation? Will the merging of pop culture, social networking and virtual reality into a heightened augmented reality encourage us all to make our lives a form of participative fiction?

During this day long seminar we will engage with culture critics, artists, writers, and filmmakers to explore the biopolitics that are implicit in depictions of emerging technology in literature, film and television.

I’m not sure what they mean by biopolitics, especially after the lecture I attended at Simon Fraser University’s downtown campus last night (Nov. 12, 2009), Liminal Livestock. Last night’s lecture by Susan Squier highlighted (this is oversimplified) the relationship between women and chickens in the light of reproductive technologies.  From the lecture description,

Adapting SubRosa Art Collective’s memorable question, this talk asks: “What does it mean, to feminism and to agriculture, that women are like chickens and chickens are like women?” As liminal livestock, chickens play a central role in our gendered agricultural imaginary: the zone where we find the “speculative, propositional fabric of agricultural thought.” Analyzing several children’s stories, a novel, and a documentary film, the talk seeks to discover some of the factors that help to shape the role of women in agriculture, and the role of agriculture in women’s lives.

Squier did also discuss reproductive technologies at some length although it’s not obvious from the description that the topic will arise. She discussed the transition of chicken raising as a woman’s job to a man’s job which coincided with the rise of  chicken factory farms. Squier also noted the current interest in raising chickens in city and suburban areas without speculating on possible cultural impacts.

The lecture covered  selective breeding and the shift of university  poultry science departments from the study of science to the study of increasing chicken productivity, which led to tampering with genes and other reproductive technologies. One thing I didn’t realize is that chicken eggs are used for studies on human reproduction. Disturbingly, Squier talked to an American scientist, whose work concerns human reproduction, who moved to Britain because the chicken eggs are of such poor quality in the US.

The relationship between women and chickens was metaphorical and illustrated through popular children’s stories and pop culture artifacts (i.e. poultry beauty pageants featuring women not chickens) in a way that would require reproducing far more of the lecture than I can here. So if you are interested, I understand that Squier does have a book about women and chickens being published although I can’t find a publication date.

Squier’s lecture and the meeting for the Institute of Ethics for Emerging Technologies present different ways of integrating pop culture elements into the discussion about science and emerging technologies. Since I’m tooting my horn, I’m going to finish with my thoughts on the matter as written in my Cascadia Nanotechnology Symposium paper,

The process of accepting, rejecting, or changing new sciences and new technologies seems more akin to a freewheeling, creative conversation with competing narratives than a transfer of information from experts to nonexperts as per the science literacy model.

The focus on establishing how much awareness the public has about nanotechnology by measuring the number of articles in the newspaper or items in the broadcast media or even tracking the topic in the blogosphere is useful as one of a set of tools.

Disturbing as it is to think that it could be used for purely manipulative purposes, finding out how people develop their attitudes towards new technologies and the interplay between cognition, affect, and values has the potential to help us better understand ourselves and our relationship to the sciences. (In this paper, the terms science and technology are being used interchangeably, as is often the case with nanotechnology.)

Pop culture provides a valuable view into how nonexperts learn about science (books, television, etc.) and accept technological innovations (e.g. rejecting the phonograph as a talking book technology but accepting it for music listening).

There is a collaborative and interactive process at the heart of the nanotechnology ‘discussion’. For example, Drexler appears to be responding to some of his critics by revising some of his earlier suppositions about how nanotechnology would work. Interestingly, he also appears to be downplaying his earlier concerns about nanoassemblers running amok and unleashing the ‘goo’ scenario on us all. (BBC News, June 9, 2004)

In reviewing all of the material about communicating science, public attitudes, and values, one thing stands out: time. Electricity was seen by some as deeply disturbing to the cosmic forces of the universe. There was resistance to the idea for decades and, in some cases (the Amish), that resistance lives on. Despite all this, there is not a country in the world today that doesn’t have electricity.

One final note: I didn’t mean to suggest the inexorable adoption of any and all technologies, my intent was to point out the impossibility of determining a technology’s future adoption or rejection by measuring contemporary attitudes, hostile or otherwise.

’nuff said for today. Happy weekend!