‘It is not good for the person to be alone’ 1: The capabilities approach and the right to communicate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For decades, attempts have been made to define a ‘right to communicate’. The rise of media technologies, which are characterized by abundance of channels and information, interactivity, mobility, and multimediated messaging, has allowed to rethink this right in a context converging traditional media and telecommunications and referring to communicating as an essential human capability. Applying Amartya Sen’s capabilities approach to communications, we argue that communicating is a capability required to realize such functionings as participating in political, cultural, social, educational, and commercial life and is essential to promote belonging to a collective. The ‘negative’ right to free speech should be replaced by a positive right to communicate, which should include free speech, access to information, privacy, and utilization of communications in order to belong to a community.

Original languageEnglish
StateAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2021


  • Capabilities
  • free speech
  • functionings
  • new media
  • right to communicate


Dive into the research topics of '‘It is not good for the person to be alone’<sup> 1</sup>: The capabilities approach and the right to communicate'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this