The first stage of the World Summit on the Information Society will take place in Geneva in December 2003. Many issues are at stake in the development of common visions and understanding of the information society and the process leading to the summit is rising theoretical concerns as well as crucial political issues in relation to the development of the global governance in the field of communication.
The year 2003 will be a time in which reflections and research are needed, as well as actions and proposal developments on the side of scholars who have been working on these issues for a long time. The WSIS also offers the opportunity to broaden the debate and involve more scholars and institutions, as well as the public at large, towards a better understanding of changes in the very nature of citizenship, the public sphere and democracy in the near future.
A number of scientific institutions are already involved in this process, such as ECCR at the European level and IAMCR at the international level. ECCR held a Conference on the WSIS and related topics in Moscow in October 2002. IAMCR has appointed a Task Force to define the organization’s position within the Summit process. Moreover, one of the caucuses organized by the Civil Society in the WSIS is coordinated by academics and devoted to scholarly expectations and contribution.
The academic debate is therefore growing at all levels, and we think it is important to take advantage of the opportunity offered by the WSIS to broaden this debate inside and outside academic institutions.