IGF 2020 WS #180 Trust, Media Ethics & Governance During COVID-19 Crisis

Time
Thursday, 12th November, 2020 (14:30 UTC) - Thursday, 12th November, 2020 (16:00 UTC)
Room
Room 3
About this Session
The workshop will address the impact of public health crisis Covid-19 upon the global internet systems and citizens related to trust, media and democracy. Combing local and global perspectives on internet governance and media communication, this session builds a platform for speakers and moderators from China, Europe, India, and Singapore to discuss above issues on an interdisciplinary and multi-dimensional approach from diverse geographic and stakeholder perspectives.
Thematic Track

Organizer 1: Yik Chan Chin, Xi'an Jiao-tong Liverpool University
Organizer 2: Kuo Wu, APNIC
Organizer 3: Elinor Carmi, Liverpool University, UK.

Speaker 1: Amrita Choudhury, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Elinor Carmi, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: shu wang, Private Sector, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 4: Rolf Weber, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 5: Yun Long, Government, Asia-Pacific Group

Additional Speakers

 

  • Prof Ang Peng Hwa         Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore   
  • Dr. Ansgar Koene             Horizon Digital Economy  Research Institue, University of Nottingham, UK
Moderator

Yik Chan Chin, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Online Moderator

Kuo Wu, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group

Rapporteur

Yik Chan Chin, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Format

Panel - Auditorium - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

1) How did media (both traditional and digitla) and digital platform report and present the Covid-19 outbreak and interact with the public at local and global levels? What are the impacts of them on the public trust and quality and free flow of information during the crisis? What are the best practices to improve the online media reporting and rebuilding the trust ?

2) How did the general public participate in the online discussion, such as expressing individual experiences and sharing stories on social media locally and globally? Who is included in the debate and who is not? Whose voice was prioritized and amplified and who was not? (focusing on gender, race, ableism, socio-economic aspects)? How can citizens from various backgrounds can participate in the debate in meaningful ways?

3) How did digital platforms and public authorities in regulating or policing content (such as disinformation, hate speech, political speech and etc) during the Covid-19 public health crisis, and where and how should the balance be struck between freedom of expression, privacy and public safety?

 4) The proliferation of disinformation and misinformation poses threats to the integrity of journalism and the decisions that people make based on that information in facing of Covid-19 crisis. How can technology, media, academics and civil society play a role in tackling them and restoring trust?

The workshop will address the impact of public health crisis Covid-19 upon the global internet systems and citizens in relation to trust, media and democracy. Special issues and challenges include: 1) the roles and responsibilities of digital platforms, social media, governments, and the public in articulating and empowering free flow of information and in protecting human rights and public security during the Covid-19 pandemic; 2) the best practices to refute disinformation, “fake news”, hate speech during a pandemic crisis; 3) the roles of technology, academics and civil society in developing tools and education programs to empower citizens to have adequate data literacies to tackle fake news and misinformation; 4) the best practices of upholding the integrity of online journalism and public trust.

SDGs

GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-Being
GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Description:

Since the beginning of 2020, the Covid-19 epidemic has been spreading globally. On January 30th, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the situation as a global public health emergency, which drew a wave of media coverage and various debates across the globe. Simultaneously, online dis-/mis-/mal-information and media ethics are also in the spotlight with regard to providing essential information, professionalism, and responsibility of social media in the emergent communication during a public health crisis. “We’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) at a gathering of foreign policy and security experts in Munich, Germany, in mid- February 2020. Infodemics are an excessive amount of information about a problem, which prevents a meaningful and balanced discussion to understand it better and look for possible solutions in various areas. They can spread misinformation, disinformation, and rumors during a health emergency, for example, that 5G radiation is causing the disease. Infodemics can hamper an effective public health response and create confusion and distrust among people. In response, according to news reports, search and media companies like Facebook, Google, Tencent, Sina Weibo, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube are aggressively filtering out unfounded medical advice, hoaxes, and other false information that they say could risk public health. At the same time, because they cannot rely on their human content moderators and use automated machine learning processes for content moderation they are also filtering out essential information like people creating DIY face-masks. Other actors are also seeking measures to counter the spread of rumors, A series of questions regarding the roles of both legacy and digital media, platforms, public, governments, and technology are captured by wide attention in the coronavirus outbreak crisis including • how did social media and digital platform report and present the outbreak and interact with the public? What is the impact of them on the public trust and free flow of information? Should media and technology companies be the only stakeholders invited to the decision-making table? • How can we tackle structural inequalities in societies (around gender, race, socio-economic status, ableism) that prevent specific groups of people to participate, engage and understand this pandemic? What types of digital skills, critical understanding, and proactive practices can be developed to empower citizens to better understand the pandemic and establish a trust relationship with governments and news media? • How did the general public participate in the online discussion, such as expressing individual experiences and sharing stories on social media? What kinds of data literacies do people from various backgrounds need to participate in a meaningful debate on the topic as well as tackle disinformation? What are the impact of them on the public trust and free flow of information? • What are the responsibilities of digital platforms and public authorities in regulating or policing content during the public health crisis, and where and how should the balance be struck between freedom of expression, privacy, and public safety? • What kinds of collaboration between Internet platforms, academics, civil society, and media outlets could work to fight online disinformation, fake news, and hate speech? • The proliferation of disinformation and misinformation poses threats to the integrity of journalism and the decisions that people make based on that information in face of Covid-19 crisis. How can technology, academics, civil societies, and journalists play a role in tackling them and restoring trust? Underpinning these questions is a holistic critique towards the capacity of social media, digital platform, and governance system in responding to such a public health emergency, in particular arguing that this is a social issue that cannot rely exclusively on technological solutions. We also put forward that there is a need for a critical re-evaluation of media and data literacy education tailored for different groups of society, as well as developing ethical principles and regulatory laws of social media and digital platforms. Combing both local and global perspectives on internet governance and media communication during a public crisis, this workshop aims to build an international platform for experts, scholars, policymakers, and practitioners from relevant fields to jointly discuss the above important and timely issues on an interdisciplinary and multi-dimensional approaches. Speakers and moderators from China, Europe, India, and Singapore will discuss the above questions from diverse geographic and stakeholder perspectives. 

Speakers:

  • Professor Yun Long:                          Director of Digital Ethics Institute, Communication University of China; Chair of the Digital Communication Ethics Division, Chinese Society for Science and Technology Journalism
  • Mr. Shu Wang:                                     Deputy Chief Editor, Sina Weibo, China 
  • Ms. Amrita Choudhury:                      Director of CCAOI, India
  • Professor Ang Peng Hwa:                  Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore   
  • Dr Ansgar Koene:                                Horizon Digital Economy  Research Institue, University of Nottingham, UK
  • Dr Elinor Carmi:                                   Department of Communication and Media, University of Liverpool

Moderators: 

  • Dr. Yik Chan Chin                                  Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University 
  • Mr. Kuo-Wei Wu                                    APNIC 
  • Mr. Weinan Yuan                                   XJTLU
Expected Outcomes

Develop a framework for collaborative internet response that includes multi-stakeholders (not only technology companies) such as academics, educators, civil society and other specialists to provide a meaningful platform that tackles the structural inequalities that this pandemic exacerbates. 2) Facilitate the debate as well as shaping the evolution of norms, principles, best practices of online disinformation and fake news refutation, capacity building, and model of Internet governance. 3) Identify differing viewpoints regarding Internet governance approaches regarding help the creation of an environment in which all stakeholders are able to prosper and thrive 4) Policy recommendations and key messages report to the IGF community and stakeholders' organizations.

The session will be opened by the moderator Dr. Chin to provide participants an overview of the policy questions discussed in the session, the professional background of the speakers, and the format of interaction. The moderator Dr. Chin will ensure the audience from online being able to ask questions to the speakers immediately following their presentations to encourage active participation. In the part 3), the session will move to debate. The moderator will invite each speaker to express their views on a set of questions generated from their presentations and guide the debate amongst speakers and the audience to foreground their common ground and differences. In the part 4)  Two moderators will invite questions from online participants, the question time will last about 20 minutes in order to provide sufficient interactions amongst speakers and online participants. Online participants will be given priority to speak, and their participation will be encouraged by moderators. The moderators and speakers  will summarise the findings and recommendations and future actions of the panel. Online Participation: The moderators will participate in the online training course for the Official Online Participation Platform provided by the IGF Secretariat's technical team to ensure the online participation tool will be properly and smoothly used during the session.

Relevance to Internet Governance: Trust is a prerequisite for the Internet to develop its potential as a tool for empowerment, agency, and self determination, a channel of free speech and an engine of economic development. The proposed workshop will discuss the timely issues of impact of Covid-19 public health crisis on global information security, online safety and public trust. It will also explore the responsibility and best practices of the public, academics, civil society, digital platforms, social media, legacy media, government and technical sector in articulating and regulating the free flow of information and content and building up trust amid the pandemic crisis in the Internet governance. It will involve speakers from the private sector, civil society, and policy maker at major Covid-19 pandemic centers (China, Europe, US, India) across developed and developing regions to share their professional knowledge, experiences, best practices, and policy framework. The proposed workshop will facilitate the global debate as well as shaping the evolution of norms, principles, best practices of online disinformation and ‘fake news’ mitigation, best practices of capacity building, and model of Internet governance.

Relevance to Theme: This workshop directly addresses the theme of Trust and its subtheme of Trust, Media and Democracy. This theme is to discuss strategies and best practices for protecting security, safety, stability & resilience of both the global internet and citizens, the appropriate roles and responsibilities of governments, academics, industry and other stakeholders , and the relationship between security and people’s human rights through multidisciplinary perspectives. The panel will directly address above theme by specifically looking at the subtheme Trust, Media and Democracy. It will explore topics of impact of public health crisis Covid-19 upon the global internet systems and citizens in relation to trust, media and democracy. Specifically, the workshop will discuss: 1) the roles and responsibilities of digital platforms, social media, governments and the public in articulating and empowering free flow of information and in protecting human rights and public security during the Covid-19 pandemic ; 2) the best practices to refute disinformation, “fake news”, hate speech during an pandemic crisis; 3) the roles of technology, academics and civil society in developing tools and education programs to empower citizens to have adequate data literacies to tackle fake news and misinformation; 4) the best practices of upholding the integrity of online journalism and public trust;

Online Participation

 

Usage of IGF Official Tool.

 

Agenda
  1. Setting the scene:  moderator, Dr. Chin, 3 minutes    
  2. Six presentations, each speaks for 8 minutes with 1 minute of immediate response
  • Professor Yun Long:                          Director of Digital Ethics Institute, Communication University of China; Chair of the Digital Communication Ethics Division, Chinese Society for Science and Technology Journalism
  • Mr. Shu Wang:                                     Deputy Chief Editor, Sina Weibo, China 
  • Ms. Amrita Choudhury:                      Director of CCAOI, India
  • Professor Ang Peng Hwa:                  Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore   
  • Dr Ansgar Koene:                                Horizon Digital Economy  Research Institue, University of Nottingham, UK
  • Dr Elinor Carmi:                                   Department of Communication and Media, University of Liverpool
  1. Discussions amongst speakers           7 minutes  moderated by Dr. Chin               
  2. Interactive question and answer session,  20 minutes  moderated by Dr. Chin and Mr. Wu
  3. wrap-up       7 minutes
1. Key Policy Questions and related issues
What are the roles and responsibilities of digital platforms, social media, governments, and the public in articulating and empowering free flow of information and in protecting human rights and public security during the Covid-19 pandemic;
How can technology help to improve the efficiency in tackling COVID-19 pandemic? How can stakeholders better understand and address the positive and negative impacts technology has on free flow of information, critical media literacies, privacy and public security? How to provide citizens with appropriate data literacies for the pandemic and beyond
How to uphold the integrity of online journalism and public trust during the health crisis? How could collaboration among digital platforms, media outlets and other online content producers be an effective mechanism to fight disinformation, “fake news” and hate speech online?
2. Summary of Issues Discussed

Areas of broad support/agreement:

1) Uncertain and discredited information and news undermined the public trust

2) Media and social media played a major role in helping people stay in touch, mobilised resources, and helped migrants, economically impacted people, and displaced people. And social media became the major resource for COVID-19 information, thus increasing social media activity multifold. social media platforms can empower the  credibility of the media if using properly.

3) To build trust online, there is a need to connect everyone meaningfully, and focus on media literacy and governance. Businesses need to be more transparent about their initiatives,and social media platforms  need to be more transparent on their takedown policies.  It is not enough only to be aware about data protection and privacy , there are  well-recognised limits and public health emergencies are one of them. The  public needs to understand the broader online ecosystem and how the social media platforms work and how they are funded.

- Areas of no agreement/areas needing further discussion and development

Whether social media platform should be treated as media and subject to similar or different regulations like other media organizations ?

3. Key Takeaways

Credible information is crucial amid the Covid-19 Pandemic crisis, and social media platform plays a major role in helping the public stay in touch, mobiles resources and as major resource for keeping the public informed even empowering the credibility of the traditional media. Therefore, whether social media platforms should be treated as media and subject to similar or different regulations like other media organizations is a pressing issue needed to be  discussed widely, immediately and immensely.

To build trust online,  the public need to be connected meaningfully, and policy makers need to  focus on media literacy and governance. Businesses and digital platforms need to be more transparent about their initiatives and takedown policies.  The  public needs to understand the broader online ecosystem and how the social media platforms work and how they are funded. In dispelling COVID-19 myths and misinformation, a hybrid model of combining online and offline campaigns worked well in both India and China.    

We need to look at innovative approaches to rebuild trust on the Internet and it has to be a concerted effort amongst stakeholders and nations so that we can address the gap.

 

6. Final Speakers
  • Professor Yun Long:                          Director of Digital Ethics Institute, Communication University of China; Chair of the Digital Communication Ethics Division, Chinese Society for Science and Technology Journalism 
  • Ms. Amrita Choudhury:                      Director of CCAOI,  President Internet Society Delhi Chapter, Vice Chair Asia Pacific Internet Governance Forum, and the Nominating Commitee 2021 Member at ICANN
  • Mr. Shu Wang:                                     Deputy Chief Editor, Sina Weibo, China
  • Dr Elinor Carmi:                                   Postdoc Research Associate - Digital Media & Society, Department of Communication and Media, Liverpool University, UK.
  • Professor Ang Peng Hwa:                  Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore   
  • Dr Ansgar Koene:                              Senior Research Fellow at the Horizon Digital Economy Research institute (University of Nottingham) and Global AI Ethics an Regulatory Leader at EY

 

7. Reflection to Gender Issues

During the session it was briefly highlighted how misinformation, lack of access during Covid 19 was harming women, LGBTQI communities and minorities. There is a need for policy makers to ensure policies drafted are inclusive of the needs of all communities

 

8. Session Outputs

A following up panel entitled "reflection on technology literature and ethcs during the covid-19 reporting"  will be held in the communication University of China in Beijing on 6th December. Professor Yun Long and Dr. Yik Chan Chin of this session will be particpating in the panel. Further collaboration between speakers and their insittuions are also under discussions. 

An interview about the session is given by the session organisor Dr. Yik Chan Chin to the Univresity of Xi'an Jiaotong-liverpool Univiersty to disseminate the session outputs to academic community. 

An report of this session is proudced by the Geneve Internet Platform: https://dig.watch/resources/igf-2020-ws-180-trust-media-ethics-governance-during-covid-19-crisis

 

 

9. Group Photo
IGF 2020 WS #180 Trust, Media Ethics & Governance During COVID-19 Crisis