By Leani M. Auxilio
Digital Content Editor
New York City — International novelist and feminist Ninotchka Rosca in a recent forum at the United Nations said that social media could be a powerful tool for social justice.
She said that with the advent of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn people are no longer at the mercy of mainstream media.
“Thanks to social networking technology, we’re no longer at the mercy of the mainstream media. When we want to tell our side of the story, we don’t have to beg the New York Times to cover it―and then feel bad because they don’t. We can tell our stories, ourselves, and put it out into the world for everyone to see,” Rosca told an audience of mostly mental health practitioners.
The author of the award-winning novels Twice Blessed and State of War noted that, “Information cascade via social media can lay the beginnings of a shift in attitude, values and perception. But social media alone cannot propel a paradigm shift. Social media will have to be paired with ground-level activity. In other words: agitation and mobilization. Those two are the inseparable components of a paradigm shift.”
She emphasized that social networking is an integral part of organizing at the ground level. Rosca is a highly visible Facebook netizen herself and engages in organizing and direct discussion of issues in the internet. She co-founded AF3IRM, a transnational feminist organization in the US.
“Social media doesn’t work when it’s someone in an office somewhere with no idea what’s happening on the ground. It’s another venue for the voices of directly-affected communities to be heard, and as such should be incorporated into all other facets of good organizing for leadership development, direct action, public education, and participatory research”
The forum on April 14, 2015 was organized by the Communications Coordination Committee for the United Nations, a not-for-profit organization that facilitates the interchange of information among civil society organizations, the United Nations, and the public in order to promote understanding of world problems, their effective solutions, and rapid implementation.
Argentina Ambassador Maria Cristina Perceval of the Argentina Mission to the UN, on the other hand, said during the forum that the Argentina government has developed a gender-fair education system and public policy.
She became permanent representative to the UN in September 2012. Perceval graduated in 1980 with a degree in Philosophy specializing in Gender Studies, Epistemology and Human Rights from the UNCuyo.
She said that Argentina has ensured equality in education opportunities by developing curriculum content on gender equality and human rights in primary and secondary education. It has also set up student centers for gender equality in schools.
She noted that gender fairness has frequently been ignored by the private sector, and as such, government has passed several public policies that ensured the respect for human rights and equal participation of men and women in public and economic affairs.
“Communication is regarded as a human right. Hence, we are democratizing the voices in media. We passed laws that avoided gender-based discrimination, including people with physical disabilities. We also passed a media law which prevents violence against women through media that may lead to pornography or sex trafficking. We have a presidential decree that prohibits advertisements on sexual trafficking that would lead to prostitution,” Perceval said.