From Information Law to Communication Law: Earthquake Safety for Legal Constructions
From Professor Druey's presentation at the Berkman Center, March 9, 2011:
1. Information is an abstract term. It focuses on one aspect of all
kinds of interaction, the incorporeal influence of one steering system
on another. This was a tremendous change of the 20th century in looking
at the world, be it under social, philosophical, biological, ethical or
other aspects – even some lawyers have seen the puck! Speaking of the
“information age”, one may wonder whether the technological evolution or
this new consciousness is the leading feature. They are interconnected,
2. Abstraction is a progress and a danger: It is a condition of all
intellectual development, but it furthers one-sided views. The
“discovery” of information is a danger for the over-enthusiasm it
created. Abstracting from context, information became a value by itself
and expected to solve all kinds of problems, from democratic control to
psychic wellness. However, information can have a positive or a negative
value, depending on the viewpoint and the circumstances. Time has come
to re-start the value discussion, to become more modest and to bring
context back into the picture.
3. All three of these motives lead to the term of communication.
Communication is moving information within a relationship. This simple
statement asserts a series of qualities of communication, among others:
- Communication is not a state of mind like information, but a
- Communication is “born free” by essence, not only made so by law.
- Communication is intrinsically normative, referring to a common
- Communication is personal and exclusively aimed at creating
- Communication is based on the history shaping the relationship.
4. My points as a jurist are the following: Whereas information is
normatively neutral, communication is a value per se, being the
realization of sociality. Each contact, from its very nature as an
appeal for exchange of thoughts (“inter-action”), is necessarily
governed by rules, which constitute a source of order of immense
richness. From the respective expectations of participants we get the
legal orientation which the lacking conclusiveness of information does
not provide, e.g. as to the borderline of openness and confidentiality.
Information law is not an attribution of objects, but a procedural
5. A field to discuss this is the freedom of media.
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