IGF 2020 Second Open Consultations and MAG Meeting - EBU

The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF virtual intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 


>>GIACOMO MAZZONE:  Hi, everybody.  I'm very happy to be with you, even if in virtual mode, at this meeting on preparatory of the next IGF 2020.

 I'm sorry.  You see that we are in emergency mode, so I don't have a tie.  For those that know me, this is quite unusual.  In fact, we are in hard times.  And the tie is the first victim of the crisis.

 I want to share with you what we've done in the last month as well work in the Union -- in EBU, European Broadcasting Union, in our feat of competence -- it means media essentially -- related to Internet governance and to tackle the COVID-19 crisis.

 The first big area of activity has been related to five points of information.  Especially in times of a crisis like the COVID-19, essential information, reliable information, are needed by citizens for protecting their lives.  

 So this means that we have intensified our efforts on initiatives like the Journalism Trust Initiative that we ran like by Reporters Without Borders and by partnering with UNESCO. 

 We have -- the Trusted News Initiative is led by BBC, and that is making partnership with the various Internet platforms and printed media.  And there are some emails, activities, coordinating the development of artificial intelligence tools that allow us to detect easily and to track the source of misinformation.  

 Of course, this is the first and the most important duty that citizens expects from public service broadcaster worldwide.  And the results have been there because, for instance, the use of news and the access to news provided by public service broadcaster is increased by 15% compared to same time last year.  That is the proof that the people want to have access to reliable information.  

 And the most important thing is that people that before were looking at social media as the first source of information, even the youngsters, now have preferred during this period to go to see to reliable website from traditional media because their life is at stake, and they don't want to take any risk.

 The second area of activities that we have done is also related to the crisis of COVID-19.  And this is about the sustainability of the model -- business model of media.  As you know, in three months since February to April, the advertising revenues of the traditional media market has gone down 75%.  Of course, this impact is different from one media to another.  That's been very devastating for commercial media, for community media, for printed media, less for public service media where they are well-funded through the license fee that has been proving their efficiency as a model for financing.

 But, nevertheless, the problem is systemic.  So we are trying to create awareness in the politicians and in the ruling institutions about this problem, how it could be tackled and how it could be solved.  And we have tried to provide assistance to members and mobilize resources to try to cope with this lack of funding.  But the problem is systemic, as I said.  And this needs to be tackled at the highest level worldwide, globally because this could affect democracy.  If media doesn't function properly, democracy will be in a problem soon or is already quite in a problem.

 Then the last point on which we worked a lot is the creating a sharing hub of experience and best practices.  A lot of technical problems are issued in these days, how to produce a TV program without guests in the studio and without audience.  How to produce radio programs being confined at home.  How to produce news in a safe way.  

 All this problems has been discussed.  We have asked all members to share their best practices and experience.  

 And thanks to that resolution that has been adopted in Switzerland has been then moved and transposed in Poland or in any other country that is member of the Union and even in Africa and other countries.

 So all these activities has been made and are still continuing to be done in order to have a better, more informed, proper world in which the media can perform at the best of their work to assist citizens in their daily life that is complicate in this kind of situation.  

 Thank you very much.  And I wish all of you a nice IGF meeting.