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.
(Video with captions)
>> Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, dear participants at IGF, Katowice and participants through our Livestream, I wish to welcome you all to this UNESCO session, which is officially part of the Internet Governance Forum 2021.
And which will focus on advancing international and multi‑stakeholder efforts to promote media information literacy online and in particular, through digital platforms.
What if we all govern the Internet? This is the title of a study UNESCO published in 2017. The question I think you would agree is equally valid today four years later.
Since the Internet is a shared public resource, it concerns obviously all of us. But what does it take to ensure that everyone is involved in shaping the norms and the rules that operate or do not operate different parts of the Internet. Enables everyone individuals, societies, academia, Governments, companies, to play a proactive part in this process.
At the same time coordinated cooperation among all groups is to sustain and improve the levels of media and information literacy in society.
This in turn is key to ensure that informed and participatory multi‑stakeholder approach governs the Internet. This session as you know will focus on how we can advance an international multi‑stakeholder framework for digital communication, that enables private sector companies to promote media and information literacy in their policies and operations.
This pioneering action follows the successful celebration last October of UNESCO media and information literacy week which as you may recall was hosted by South Africa and organized by UNESCO in cooperation with the European Commission.
This year the theme of our global media and information literate week, the theme was media and information literacy for public good. We believe that this theme is still highly relevant for today's discussion.
For the first time this global week, so regional and international intergovernmental organizations including the African Union, the Arab League, the Asian Cooperation Dialogue and the European Commission expressing their commitment to fostering media literacy at the regional level, but enhancing global information among different stakeholders. During the recently held 41st session of the UNESCO general conference, numerous Member States highlighted in their national statements the importance that media and information literacy plays. They also underscore the relevance of MIL by endorsing unanimously the principles of the Windhoek+30 Declaration which was adopted last May during our World Press Freedom Day celebration that took place in the media. In accordance with today's theme as information as a public good, one of the three key dimensions of the Windhoek+30, focused, calling on all Governments to mainstream in their strategies and action plans.
A second key pillar of Windhoek+30 Declaration ensuring the transparency of how people interact online with digital content and to advance frameworks that promote media and information literacy. This is actually the precise purpose of our session this afternoon.
We must bolster multilateral cooperation that are first moving realities that may have on different societies but also on different groups of people within these diverse societies. Media and information literacy is essential to convert users in to active and informed agents when using digital services.
This is essential to foster what UNESCO calls the Internet universality which is an Internet governed by respect for what we call the ROAM principle. Meaning Human Rights based, open accessible, and multi‑stakeholder model of governance of the Internet and other digital technologies.
I hope that this brief introduction helps frame our discussion. And I hope it enables us to focus on media and information literacy for all beneficiaries. It requires the multi‑stakeholder cooperation I just referred to, whereby everyone is involved and everyone is empowered to contribute to its development and use.
Now please allow me to introduce our distinguished speakers for this session, and I would like to thank them for taking the time to share with us their insights, their perspectives, and their experiences. So we have this afternoon Ms. Vera Jourova, vice‑president and Commissioner of the European Commission. Ms. Sinead McSweeney, a global vice‑president of public policy at Twitter. Ms. Samia Bibars, the director at the monitoring and crisis management department in the media information sector of the Arab League. She will be speaking this afternoon on behalf of the Secretary‑General of the League of Arab States.
Ms. Silvia Bacher, founder of Civil Society Association, and member of the UNESCO media and information literacy alliance. Ms. Sonia Gill, Secretary‑General of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union. And Ms. Clair Deevy, director of global policy programs at WhatsApp.
Before I give the floor to our first speaker I would like to thank the European Commission for its role in championing media and information literacy. The European Commission has been a long‑standing and prominent partner of UNESCO. And I would like here to express my special thanks to Ms. Vera Jourova who has collaborated with UNESCO on several occasions in the past and helped us to promote media and information literacy for all and ensure a prominent place for this subject on the international agenda.
Ms. Vera Jourova, welcome again and the floor is yours.
>> VERA JOUROVA: Thank you very much, Ladies and Gentlemen. First of all, I want to thank you for your very kind words which you have just said on behalf of the others of the Commission and myself. Thank you for inviting me very much for ‑‑ for this panel.
So my greetings to Katowice which is close to my home and my heart. This is a timely event. I will tell you what the Commission is doing, but I will wait for the contributions of the cospeakers because media literature is a fantastic topic which enables us to be creative and to go in to the ‑‑ also new ways of doing things. So it is a great opportunity for me. We see now in today in this era of the pandemic more than before, how media literacy is important.
Because such an avalanche of misinformation and disinformation at unprecedented scale, we never saw it before. And especially now in the pandemic we see that this is a matter of health, of life or death, to either have trustworthy information or to be overloaded with disinformation which really can do a big harm to us as individuals and also the society.
So it is a very timely and important initiative that we continue increasing our efforts to improve media literacy. Together we have to do it together in a whole of society approach, at least it is the Commission approach. And you could see it in all our strategic papers which are relevant.
Online platforms play a key role in this effort. This is why it is essential that I ‑‑ they are part of the dialogue as it is the case in the panel today as well.
Please let me highlight what we have been doing at a European level. We had issued last year in December the so‑called European Democracy Action Plan. The plan aims to improve the resilience of our democracy because we found out it will not protect itself. That's why this whole of society approach we try to take and why the whole society to help, to protect democracy. Coming back to the plan, it is built on three pillars, securing me and fair elections. Second is securing media and third is fighting misinformation.
We want the citizens of the EU to make informed choices and autonomous choice and vote freely on the basis of facts and without manipulation. To do so we have adopted and proposed rules to put some order in the online sphere, making it more transparent. We have also increased our funding support. Our audiovisual rules require EU state to promote the development of media literacy skills. And it obliges with sharing platform to set up media literacy measures and tools to help turn in to reality. We have been working with partners, including media regulators, online platforms, and other stakeholders on a toolbox and the result of this work should be published soon. I tried to get to know more about where we are, without creating this toolbox before this debate today, but it is still raw, not mature enough. But we will have it ready after the new year.
I also presented three weeks ago a proposal on the transparency of political advertising. It is the part of what I said that we want to put some water in the regional sphere. 40% of respond ‑‑ once our new law is adopted the users will be able to distinguish. Paid content will be clearly labeled. Citizens will be able to know why they are seeing an ad, who paid for it, what data were used to target them. And this will clearly contribute to media literacy. I am convinced about that.
Let me also mention our work with online platforms or the code of practice against disinformation. We had the first code already in 2018, but for many reasons we needed to strengthen the code. And we published our vision of how it should be improved in May this year. And we ask for additional efforts to promote media literacy and tools such as trustworthiness indicators focused on the integrating of information sources.
The new code will be ready by March next year. And it will be linked in the future to our proposed Digital Services Act which means we are moving from self‑regulation. If you like some gentlemen agreements, we have as a digital platforms, covers the coregulation. Coregulation means that we will have the Digital Services Act which is a legally binding set of rules for online sphere and code of practice against this information which will be recognized as the mitigating factor which should decrease the level of harm caused by disinformation.
And I have to mention one thing, we make a very clear distinction between illegal content, which is hate speech, extremism, terrorism, child pornography and disinformation which is legal speech but harmful speech and sometimes dangerous speech. That's why we take different ways how to minimize the better impact. I am happy to see new signatories of the code of practice. I just on Monday agreed with NICGLAD that WhatsApp is joining the code as the new signatory. Let me highlight a big part of our work is to protect and support media pluralism because journalists, especially are in the front to line fight disinformation. Media literacy can contribute to the sustainability of trustworthy media outlets as informed and empowered users will be more likely to consult such outlets.
After the rules, let me give you some example of how we use EU funding to support media literacy. We are mobilizing a different funding program for the first time. We will have at least 75 million Euros for media pluralism and freedom under the creative Europe program. This is the budget for seven years.
But the first call for proposals related to media literacy will be published early in '22. We are also supporting the European digital media observatory, so‑called EDMO which brings together independent fact checkers and academic researchers. It supports media literacy at a national and multi‑national level. And the Commission recently announced grants for a total amount of 11 million Euros to establish eight more hubs.
We are supporting teachers and educators. We support a sort of e‑training platform for teachers across Europe to communicate and deliberate and develop projects. And this year the priority is media literacy and the fight against disinformation. I have to mention also being in the panel organized by UNESCO in cooperation also with the Commission, international cooperation plays a crucial role. And this is why it is important for me to be here today with you.
I am very curious and looking forward to other panelists. And I really seek to get more inspirations. Thank you very much.
>> TAWFIK JELASSI: Thank you very much for all your intervention and information and announcements which you made. I would like now to proceed. Before I do that let me mention to our participants in case they are not aware of it, that you have dual English/French translation. And if they click on the button on the lower right‑hand side of the screen, then they can choose the language that suits them.
UNESCO would like also to thank Twitter for its cooperation on promoting media and information literacy. And we certainly look forward to continuing our work with Twitter to place this topic on the global agenda. I would like now to give the floor to Ms. Sinead McSweeney, global vice‑president of public policy at Twitter.
>> SINEAD MCSWEENEY: Good afternoon and thank you very much for inviting me to participate today. It's great to contribute to what is a really critical and important conversation. And to do so as part of our ongoing and valuable partnership with UNESCO, on media and information literacy is even more satisfying. It's really exciting work and I know that the people from Twitter who are involved in that partnership are really motivated and excited by it.
You know, when you look at it, the open Internet has effectively put a user friendly tap on the world's reservoir of information. But that means that we are sometimes overwhelmed with information. There is so much information available now on‑demand. And people of all ages are left kind of trying to parse between what's credible, what's not. And kind of honing that capacity to consume, digest and understand information requires the development of media and information literacy skills. I was struck myself here at home the other night by my 12‑year‑old had been asked to do a project on Universal Declaration on Human Rights from school and he started opining on something. And I said where did you hear that. He said that Google said it. I said that Google doesn't say anything. You are sign posted by a search engine to a website which is giving a view on Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Tell me who is running that website. And I said it can be anybody from the UN to Human Rights Watch to Amnesty International to a particular Government offering a defense of their record on Human Rights.
And it was like a mini lesson on that sense of identifying what's important and what's critical in that moment. And it reminded me of, you know, I sometimes become attacked and somebody will say Twitter is saying. I will go Twitter is not saying anything. People who use the Twitter platform are saying. Did you check the profile. Did you see who it was. Is it reputable information. I think it highlights the different elements of our work here as a company so that we can play our part in promoting that media and information literacy and talk about that.
And then the second part is our own responsibilities and duties and obligations as a company to challenge harmful disinformation. So there is the enhancing the skill set amongst the people who are consuming the information. And then our responsibility and our work whether it is through our product or policy, and to enable them to deploy those literacy skills and in our reliable and safe environment. Underpinning that is Twitter's advocacy for the open Internet and a support for international frameworks such as is what we are talking about today.
So starting with that, that piece, which I find particularly engaging, the promotion of media and information literacy, you know, we champion the free flow of information of people's right to expression online. And those complimentary commitments intersect where we discuss this particular issue. And that sense of empowering people to use Twitter to engage critically with the content that we see.
And so the partnerships that we have operate at a national level, regional level, global level. Here in Ireland where I'm based, we work with Media Literacy Ireland and we support their Be Media Smart campaign and have done so over the last few years and encouraging people to stop, think, check the voracity of information, helping parents like myself I suppose to challenge kids as they take ‑‑ they head to the Internet to do their homework.
At the global level as we already mentioned we have this incredible partnership with UNESCO, since 2018. And in 2019 we launched our teaching and learning with Twitter handbook and this was developed for educators of all kinds and exploring how to teach media and information literacy skills in the Digital Age. And it is localized in to ten languages on ambition on our part to do even more. And, you know, that partnership then continues participating in events like global media and information literacy. And we continue to explore ways to expand our partnership and just get the maximum reach that we can globally right in to 2022.
So that's the media and information literacy part. It is powerful and it is ‑‑ and it is essential and it is exciting work. But sometimes interventions, we need interventions which have a more immediate and decisive short‑term impact and that's where our responsibility as a platform lies, will come in and in making those decisions our focus is very much on the potential for harm. Across three core areas it is how we look at it, synthetic and manipulated media and elections and COVID‑19 which has been with us for almost two years.
Our approach to misleading information is determined by that concept of harm and Commissioner Vera Jourova referred to that as well. Are people manipulating election outcomes by distributing false information about how people should participate in the Democratic process.
And is someone suggesting that others should try an unproven so‑called cure for COVID. And so those are the questions that we mull over as we decide how to intervene in particular cases. Will somebody be hurt by this information. Will society be damaged by this information and our interventions are designed to mitigate that harm. But the main thing that we discovered in 2020 we actually had a public consultation looking for feedback from people on Twitter, experts, academics and others about how we should be doing this work. And one thing was clear, and that was that they didn't want Twitter determining the truthfulness or otherwise of information. But they did want us to provide context and additional information to allow people to make up their own minds when the substance of a tweet is disputed. So then ‑‑ so we have to look at end product and other policy changes to enable that, looking at how content is amplified on the platform. How people can, be directed to reliable sources and we made other changes such as labeling, moving away from that takedown or stay‑ up content moderation, pointing people to a collection of authoritative sources on a particular issue, kind of linking that out of a disputed tweet.
And know the fact prompts when people search on these issues, that they are sign posted to authoritative sources. Retweet prompts, asking somebody when it is clear they haven't read an Article, why they are retweeting it and would they like to reconsider that.
And then we have the bird watch project, the pilot project where we have this community‑based approach to annotating Tweets where there are ‑‑ where there are question marks over whether they are accurate or not.
So all of those moves and tactics by us combined with the media literacy information, literacy skills work encompassing and improve and protect the open Internet for all. And that concept of protecting the open Internet is something that is bigger than any one company. The power of an open Internet is obvious. It goes without saying it has been a force for good and how do we protect the good and continue to confront the bad. And we see Governments all over the world grappling with that challenge as we speak. But we are concerned that some of the measures that are being proposed may have the opposite effect. It is important whether it is individual Governments or an international framework that there are certain fundamental principles that would unpin our work here. It should be available to all and should be built on open standards and protection of Human Rights.
And trust is essential and trust is built on transparency and fairness and privacy protections. And we believe that recommendation and ranking algorithms there is not much point to working in tech and not being able to pronounce algorithms. They should be subject to human choice and control.
We recently published a paper on all of this that I would ask people to take the time to read. I think we have seen how the multi‑stakeholder governance model works. And we have seen it in the EU. Commissioner Vera Jourova has been a magnificent champion of that. We have had in the EU code of practice and conduct and we have seen how those codes have evolved and iterated on. We believe that's the way forward. And we look forward to continuing it at the EU level and taking the earnings and burning it globally.
>> TAWFIK JELASSI: Thank you very much. You certainly ‑‑ you are certainly right in mentioning accountability, transparency, and trust as fundamental when it comes to digital content but also to the moderation of content that you find on the Internet. And the other key issue, how can we combat misinformation, disinformation, hate speech while ensuring the freedom of expression online. We don't have a definite answer for that but we would keep joining forces to address it.
Let's now move to our third speaker, and as an introduction I want to state that UNESCO is committed to strengthening its cooperation with the League of Arab States to promote media information literacy. UNESCO supports the Arab States in identifying strategic approaches and possible partnerships in media and information literacy. I would like to thank Ms. Samia Bibars for her third appearance on UNESCO final on a topic related to media and information literacy.
Ms. Samia Bibars, the floor is yours.
>> SAMIA BIBARS: Thank you. Thank you. Good afternoon, everyone, from Cairo. Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is a great honor to participate today in the Internet Governance Forum. I would like to express the League of Arab States' appreciation to UNESCO for its exerted efforts. I seize this opportunity to reaffirm the league's willingness to widen and deepen its partnership with UNESCO in terms of promoting MIL, aiming to combat misinformation, raising awareness of online risks, promoting equality of opportunity, tolerance, Human Rights as well as helping individuals to make informed economic decision as media consumers. In a deregulated market driven economy people need to be responsible for their own behavior as consumers rather than depending on the Government's regulations, to protect them from the negative aspects of market forces they need to learn how to protect themselves.
Therefore, media and information literacy is crucial for full and active citizenship through creating well behaved citizen consumers. Essentially as regulatory initiative, it also has the dimensions of inclusion and participation aiming to ensure that everyone has the skills to use technology including digital media for full participation in society. Among other things MIL seems to involve developing skills in handling technology, promoting inclusion of excluded groups, in using technology, protecting children against harmful content, and raising their awareness of online risks. In this context it is necessary to formulate binding policies on media literacy as well as integrating it in the education and curriculums at schools and universities, aiming to ensure dissemination.
It also might be useful to design benchmarks to measure the individual's access and functional operational skills. How frequently do people go online. How efficient are online search skills. Ladies and Gentlemen, in the digital era we are living in media is changing in many ways, ranging from the way people perceive it to the way it is operated as a business.
We all well know that many media companies are promoted entities which operate on a competition basis. Therefore, we have to accept the media is a business which has sustainability concerns just as any other business.
Consequently it is necessary having the adequate skills to understand what is required for media business prospects and sustainability as well as identifying main stakeholders of media business. Also disruptive innovations and technologies brought by joining digital media companies are forcing media managers to be more literate than ever due to being challenged in terms of digital advertising revenues.
Therefore, digital media literacy became essential and indispensable for digital communication companies. Digital literacy makes good business sense. A digitally literate workforce can help businesses sell products and services.
In today's digital ecosystem understanding how challenges were having the capability to use data to deal with customers as well as having an informed conversation with them, the customer, of course, are vital skills marked as needed in order to make statistic decisions and to gain business value.
Distinguished Guests, developing an international multi‑stakeholder framework for digital communications companies is undoubtedly a useful approach in terms of promoting MIL. The main stakeholders are Governments, digital communication companies, media managers, customers, competitors, international and Intergovernmental organizations and Civil Society Institutions.
All these stakeholders should work together to address the MIL challenges. In this context it is necessary to issue protechnology regulations and to launch initiatives to ensure an ongoing focus on digital innovations as well as the needed knowledge and skills to upgrade and upskill the employees working in the digital communication companies. Areas of focus also include ethical online advertising, quality standards and developing a digital media strategy.
Ladies and Gentlemen, before concluding I would like to point out that in the face of today's widespread lack of digital media literacy we might allow machines to assist us in better understanding interpreting and evaluating news, information and data. Artificial Intelligence is one of those technologies that directly lends itself. It is important that the foundation of the AI, of the Artificial Intelligence is built ethically with a diverse team of programmers to ensure it's free of virus. I would like again to extend my thanks and gratitude to UNESCO to giving me this opportunity to be a panelist and key speaker in such a very interesting session.
Thank you very much for your kind attention.
>> TAWFIK JELASSI: Thank you for your intervention. You mentioned in the concluding part the increasing importance of Artificial Intelligence and the need to ethically develop and use and deploy AI based systems. Let me here just share a piece of news that maybe some of our participants are not aware of. A couple of weeks ago at the UNESCO 41st session of the General Conference our 193 Member States adopted the UNESCO recommendation on the ethics of Artificial Intelligence. This is the first of its kind, worldwide. It is a normative instrument that you are making available to 193 countries to use.
And now after this adoption we are moving to the implementation of this ground ‑‑ groundbreaking recommendation. So you are absolutely right. Technologies, especially AI needs to be developed and used and deplored in an ethical way, in a human‑centered way.
Let me move on to the next speaker, a founder of non‑profit civil association that has played an active role in setting an educational agenda through creation of programs and establishing alliances both in Latin America and also in Spain. We are pleased to have her as a member of the UNESCO MIL alliance and to have her obviously on this panel.
Let me give the floor now to Ms. Silvia Bacher.
>> SILVIA BACHER: For me it is good afternoon. I'm in Argentina. I want to thank the UNESCO, the Internet Governance Forum, the European Union for inviting me to participate in this meeting.
The topic addressed in this panel is urgent and challenging in order to think about such a particular time in the history of humanity in which a global pandemic encloses and at the same time connect us through virtuality. A pandemic that deepened unequaling structures, gaps through circular gaps, economics, social, gender, environment, education among others.
My experience in the media and information literacy field began three decades ago. Then and until not so long ago, MIL was the responsibility of formal education. Schools and their teachers had to take this challenge in their hands but they didn't have the training to do so. In the meantime Governments sent technology to the classrooms without taking in to account the complex social cultural transformation that is a direct impact on the health of the school and society as a world.
In Spanish we have a name that explains this. For data we looked at the tree without being able to see the forest. The school was asked to reserve in solitude a challenge of era. A deep transformation that involved in this culture, involved it in this culture and transformation. Fortunately, today we know that MIL is the responsibility of many. Indeed of all social, cultural, political and economic actors in a world without virtual borders. Let me say that this panel on MIL in this Forum is an event that should be celebrated.
The history of media and information literacy is extensive. And I am not going to share it at this time, but I would like to point out that in Latin America research and experiences have been key to the development of policies and laws that hold up insufficient, are beginning to have visibility in areas outside of the education system.
And the media education and media law, for example, already incorporate ‑‑ are already incorporating MIL concepts, which has a positive impact as policies begin to give visibility to MIL issues.
This expansion of media information literacy in digital spaces and media is fast and presents new challenges. However we must understand plenty of the previous existing challenges have not been solved. And that happens in large because part ‑‑ large part because of the complexity of the point out ‑‑ that I point out.
The school alone could not solve them. Nor could any of the stakeholders in isolation. The school alone cannot solve it. Remember this. And also any of the stakeholders in isolation could do.
Nowadays the importance of MIL is more than ever due to the rapid advancement of algorithms and Artificial Intelligence was just a comment in the lips of people and societies in all their dimension. It is necessary as I said that the tree does not prevent us from seeing the forest. A forest that is none other than an ecosystem that we inhabit as humanity. Wherever as a producer, consumer, that is why MIL media and information literacy must occupy a key place in the public agenda.
Before moving on, I would like to remind you that when we talk about MIL, we are talking about basic Human Rights. Why? Because MIL involves the right to education, the right to communication, freedom of press, the right to information, the right to expression, the right to participation, access to connectivity, and comprehensive and sustainable use of technology among others.
The most important thing is that this right should reach ‑‑ should reach all human beings, minorities of all kinds, children, others, seniors without decision of gender without condition of any kind. The MIL is a bridge, a network to stop the media, to think about citizens and their rights.
Implicit in MIL is the ability to rid the world with a critical eye. To tell it and to communicate in order to influence and transform it.
But for this to happen, not only traditional education spaces will be involved, because their responsibility includes people, companies of all kinds, social movements, societies, Government, and also cities, MIL cities. The MIL is a way to promote participatory citizenship in a world that has digital preeminence. This is indicative in the sole declaration on media and information literacy for everyone and by everyone.
Media and information is a core competency of addressing academia. Freedom of expression, protection of privacy, prevention of violence, extremist promotion and combatting health speech, that it promotes diversity, particularly in terms of their ability of marginalized people to create and disseminate content and expression of their world view. And intercultural view also it was said in the first place intention.
As we have said, transformation is only possible if a collective commitment is real. So sustainability action and partnership are needed beyond short‑term initiatives.
In part by Governments taking responsibility and providing budget for a diversity of media and information literacy programs, the media taking on the urgent commitment to train the professionals who work there in the different roles, to understand how to report on children, youths and vulnerable minorities, and why to open their microphones to them. Teachers guiding children and youth to find their own voices, young people claiming their rights. These are just a few of many other references that we warrant this misinformation. We are convinced about the benefits of media and information literacy to media and digital platforms to sustainability and transparency.
Don't hesitate. It is urgent to advance intentional, international, multi‑stakeholders, framework for private, digital platform media. To promote media and information ‑‑ and information literacy. Is it a collective challenge? And MIL is a unique opportunity to promote inclusive Democratic, diverse society and more than better informed voices, more plural as I said, more Democratic, more ethical and sensitive.
Thank you very much. I feel proud to be able to be part of this Forum. And I thank you for your attention.
>> TAWFIK JELASSI: Thank you, Ms. Silvia Bacher, for this interesting perspective coming from a Civil Society Association.
This, of course, Civil Society plays a key role in what we advocate truly multi‑stakeholder approach to this topic. Thank you.
As an introduction to our next speaker, let me say that the Caribbean Broadcasting Union is the only Pan‑Caribbean Association with media houses from 15 nations of the Caribbean community. A long time partner of UNESCO, the Caribbean Broadcasting Union brings together public service and commercial broadcasters in the region. Today we know that broadcasting media is key to foster media and information literacy also through digital spaces. I would like to invite Ms. Sonia Gill, Secretary‑General of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union. The floor is yours.
>> SONIA GILL: Thank you very much, Moderator. And I extend very warm greetings from the Caribbean Broadcasting Union on behalf of our President, our board of directors and 37 members in the Dutch, English, French and Spanish Caribbean. We are grateful to UNESCO for the invitation to speak to this workshop. I'm pretty pleased with how I have been placed in this discussion because what I have to say I think will resonate with what has been said by the previous speakers. I however believe that the perspective of the Caribbean media organizations are very relevant given our positioning at a crossroads, geographically, technologically and socially. We sit between South and North America but we have a distinct identity.
Our legacy media established as part of national independence efforts are also at a crossroads as they seek to restructure as public service media, very often without any kind of State's Convention in a context of fierce competition in a largely privatized media environment. And in doing so the Caribbean media are having a middle ground experience in terms of digital technology. They have come a long way. Providing content dominated by extraregional forces and morays. While streaming multi‑channel outlets such as one spot media, they are the group in Jamaica and Cariflixs are in the vanguard. All the members of CBU and the wider Caribbean media sector have an online presence.
These experiences while they may seem specific to the Caribbean, actually have something to offer in terms of today's discussion, on a multi‑stakeholder framework for media and information literacy in digital contexts.
And in these couple of minutes I just want to highlight a couple of principles I believe need to be embedded in that framework that we are developing.
The first one I want to refer to is collaboration. And I was thinking a little bit about the work done by Helmet Wagner in science and interaction theory, not to get too theoretical here but it was important to come back to this discussion to talk about creation of meaning. It is not a process of just objectively interpreting symbols. Meaning is always as he said subjectively intended and interpreted and is always culturally derived. Here in the Caribbean an example is the word hush. In the rest of the Caribbean it can be interpreted as a rude injunction to be silent, even though it is meant to express sympathy and offer comfort.
The Caribbean media over the decades through institutions such as the CBU and the Caribbean news agency have had a good deal of valuable experience in demonstrating how working on media content meant for audiences from diverse language groups, with very cultural experiences, can be done with success. And I'd like to posit that collaboration is fundamental to developing media and information literacy. Different meanings are going to be generated by those experiencing the content. It is possible to achieve common understanding through collaborative efforts.
The second principle I wanted to raise and it has been discussed so far very eloquently is accountability. And I won't take up your time elaborating on current events which have brought to mind the absence of a culture of accountability in large part, in the production of a lot of media content that we are seeing deliberately designed to misinform and cause harm. Now the straits that we find ourselves in at this point while they are totally unacceptable are quite foreseeable. Media influence is social, political and economic power. And power always attracts those who wish to misuse it.
Now while systems of regulation can be corrupted and abused that doesn't mean that we do away with all together. I'm happy to hear from the panelists their own thoughts on this. I wanted to say that however the process of media and information literacy is bolstered by regulation, by methods of holding responsible those who deliberately seek to do harm. And accountability has to be accepted by all stakeholders, including media content users. But particularly by those who are literally profiting from that content.
And again the experience. The Caribbean in this respect has been useful. We have seen the production of state supported instruments, for holding those who are doing harm accountable. For example, we have the children's code for programming, which indicates a role for the producers, and distributes content in a process of coregulation as mentioned before.
Although its origins were in legacy media there is broad recognition that the time has passed for the digital media environment to be subject to these kinds of accountability mechanisms, well supported by media information, literacy, capacity building.
And the third principle I wanted to speak to is resources. As already mentioned, just like ordinary literacy and numeracy, media and information literacy must be work structured. Not just the education sector. We have to be together as stakeholders bringing the resources both human and material to this work.
A worthy example from the Caribbean piloted in Jamaica, worked with the West Indies department, and that collaboration produced audiovisual teaching content on different aspects of media and information literacy for use by teachers who were working with cohorts of children under the age of 11.
So we had a teaching resource, but you had a regulatory part of the process. And you had the media sector part of the process. It was welcomed by all. And if you are interested you can check the website of the Broadcasting Commission of the results and ongoing impact. I want to note with interest in our discussion the manual produced by UNESCO for media and information literacy in journalism. I'm looking forward to seeing that translated in to practical capacity building programs for producers of content both individually and institutionally.
Fortunately since the CBU has recently joined the media and information literacy alliance, the MIL alliance as well as the Latin America and Caribbean chapter. I do hope these few thoughts have been of interest. And let me iterate the commitment of Caribbean media. It is a life and death matter. And we need to come to grips with it even as we deal with the opportunities and challenges of the digital environment.
I thank you for your attention. And I look forward to the rest of the discussion.
>> TAWFIK JELASSI: Thank you very much, Ms. Sonia Gill, for your intervention. I take away from it the three key points you made about the need of collaboration, and the creation of meaning, establishing a culture of accountability, and the crucial importance of resources, of course, going forward.
Thank you for that. Before I give the floor to the last speaker, I would like to announce to our participants both at IGF in Katowice but also our Livestream participants they can use ‑‑ for IGF participants you can post your questions through the Q and A box. And for our Livestream participants if you would like to post a question you can use the chat box.
Our last speaker for this panel is Ms. Clair Deevy, who heads a global policy at WhatsApp. Her work focuses on creating cross‑sectorial partnerships for sustainable social impact. She founded Facebook's #shemeansbusiness program. Outreach in the area of digital and media literacy. Ms. Clair Deevy, the floor is yours.
>> CLAIR DEEVY: Thank you. It has been fantastic to hear from the speakers, particularly Ms. Sonia Gill who was before me. I am going to talk you through some of the areas that we've been working on across three different parts. What we are able to do in our product, in terms of the product what we try and do given that we are an encrypted private message space and are unable to see the content that people are sharing, what are the nudges that we can use to encourage people to make smart decisions or inferred decisions about the content that they see. So in 2018, what we introduced a limit to chats that someone could forward to a person. Small conversations as opposed to things going viral. And what we saw then was a 20% reduction in the amount of messages that were forwarded.
We started to label these messages as forwarded as well so people could see and understand that the message didn't come from the person who sent it. We then went one step further to something that we called highly forwarded messages. These messages have been sent five times. And we label with two arrows. You know not only is it not from my mother or father or sister, not from somebody who sent it to them. It has gone through at least five people. And with the introduction of this in to the product, this nudge, what we saw was a 70% reduction in the number of highly forwarded messages that were on WhatsApp.
The next thing is fact checking. In 2016 Facebook started a fact checking program. And since that time, this partnership with Facebook has grown to around 60 languages in the world and around 80 partnerships. As that progressed we saw an opportunity for WhatsApp to be part of that fact checking. And we have launched and with a number of organizations fact checking chatbots. And in these what an individual can do is post a key word, hyperlink or story in to the chatbot and it will return whether it is true, false or in question. The other purpose that surfaces it helps the fact checkers to see what is top of mind of people or things that they should be aware of.
The next thing that I will focus on again in the spirit of collaboration is understanding how we can work with researchers and how we can look at new and interesting ways of tackling misinformation. From 2018 we funded research with the university of Cambridge around inoculation theory. What these researchers came up with is the idea of exposing people through gamification. And when you first look at this theory it seems very counterintuitive because it feels like you are teaching people how to share misinformation. But what the research has shown and WhatsApp has funded an extension of research to trial in five more countries is that people are more likely to be able to identify misinformation, asked if they have been through the simulation and seen how it is generated. And the research also found that ‑‑ coming back to people that affect was long lasting.
So we want to see how this works in a number of different cultural nuances and what we can do to use this idea of inoculating and gamification, for audiences who perhaps feel they already understand or identify misinformation. We are trying to look at ways of education partnerships of not the lowest of digital literacy but people who think they already understand.
The last two areas that I'm going to talk about quickly are local partnerships that we have gotten. To the point that many of the previous panelists made for any of these interventions on the education side to work while as WhatsApp we understand the technology and we understand what it can do, we will never have the depth of understanding of the local nuance of how to land it. We don't have the experience with the pedagogy in Indonesia and creative aspects are in Nigeria. One is a partnership in Indonesia that we have been working on for two years. And over the course of the last 12 months in particular, we have actually worked through six different types of interventions. And this is included, production of online courses with the partners, resources for teachers. It recorded bite‑sized content.
Many people trying to absorb a huge amount of education in one go is quite overwhelming. The part of that though that I am kind of most proud of and really has had a significant impact was we worked with ICT watch to identify 60 youth Ambassadors and provided them education not just on media or in digital literacy on how to create content. And they have worked in local communities creating all kinds of content in social media. This is not benefitting media literacy, but it is setting them up in terms of careers and creators in the future as well.
The last partnership that I will share with you and ‑‑ I'm not able to share at the moment. So I can't share the audio clips that I had prepared and it was a shame. But we worked in Nigeria and in Nigeria we wanted to ensure because it is the first time that WhatsApp has done any outreach or education, we created very local and was going to resonate. It is live in Nigeria. At the moment is a series of jingles on the radio called Media Hypes which are longer discussions about understanding literacy and misinformation.
And we have run these on very local radio stations in five different languages. Now when we ran Focus Groups on what we had created, some of the feedback included people asking us for the jingles so they can share it on. 100% of the people in the Focus Groups felt they had learned more about how to identify misinformation. But the other really interesting part for me, the Focus Groups set across demographics. What we saw they really liked the short, sharp, song, jingles. Older demographics preferred the longer things. In everything that you have produced in all the partnerships we have understanding who is the audience right down to the country and the focused audience inside that and making sure that whatever intervention you do, it is going to be relevant to them.
And I think if you look across all the things that I have spoken on, you have got a mix of all those things. What are the interventions in your product that you can do? What is the role around fact checking and research contribute to the greater knowledge and investing in local education.
>> TAWFIK JELASSI: Thank you very much, Ms. Clair Deevy. And your inputs on the crucial importance of fact checking. And how you go about that. And the impressive number of partnerships that you set up regarding this matter. But also what you shared with us about tackling misinformation.
Let me ‑‑ here we have now about ten minutes left for Q and A. I know that Ms. Vera Jourova has to leave us quite soon. One question that came to my attention was how to protect Human Rights on social media. This is a broad question. It is quite a sensitive matter, politically charged sometimes. It is fundamental. We did touch on this one. I think it was the first speakers talked about how to combat misinformation while ensuring freedom of expression.
So the point here is how to protect a Human Rights on social media. Ms. Vera Jourova, since you have to leave us quite soon, I give you the floor first.
>> VERA JOUROVA: Yes. Indeed. Thank you for this indeed very, very complex and broad question which I might be able to reply in a simple way. How to protect fundamental rights online. Being tough and insisting that all the rights which we have developed over decades, if not centuries, for normal life of people for offline, for our modern civilization, all these rights have to be respected and enforced when it comes to online. This is behind the philosophy that we use in the European Union. It started with GDPR as the data protection regulation. Now it goes through the Digital Services Act and other pieces of work that we have in the center of our interest and affect the individual citizen of the EU. Not consumer. Citizen. Who has the fundamental rights guaranteed by the charter and by international Treaties by many different documents. And we want this person to enjoy these rights also when he or she moves to the online sphere. How to do that.
Not to reinvent the wheel. Not to create rights for online. How to do that, it requires a lot of cooperation, also on the rules which are pushing the platforms to guarantee the respect for the rights. We need a lot of cooperation with the media, with the international organizations, because this will not happen overnight. We lived for a long time in a very naive conviction for the Internet. There should be no rules, no rights. It is just a new world which lives its own life. It is very dangerous and we want to stop it. I appreciate the cooperation of stakeholders who are participating in this international platform. Thank you very much. I'm looking forward to future cooperation. We are doing something extremely important.
>> TAWFIK JELASSI: Thank you very much. Let me share one view on this matter from UNESCO and the work that has been ongoing here, issue of freedom of expression online while combatting misinformation. We recognize a couple of widely used approaches. One is a les faire attitude. The Internet being the Wild West. The other approach is regulation. But with regulation sometimes you fall in to overregulation. Which, of course, goes against the freedom of expression.
So we have been lately working on a third way which we call the transparency of Internet companies and digital platforms. And we came up with 26 high level let's say principles to ensure much stronger transparency but, of course, the key questions is transparency for whom, what type of expected outcomes. So these are the issues that as we speak are working on to in partnership with digital companies, with the Internet firms. In a truly multi‑stakeholder approach, public, private sector academia, Civil Society, of course, et cetera.
So thank you for your inputs through this complex matter as you called it. I think we have to join forces to be ‑‑ to do something about this.
Let me look at our next questions here. How can social media platforms promote MIL, media and information literacy learning in digital spaces and ensure that it is sustainable. How can social media platforms promote MIL in digital spaces and ensure its sustainability down the road? Who among the other panelists would like to maybe take a view on this? Maybe some of the platform companies since the question is how can social media platforms promote MIL learning in a digital space in a sustainable way.
>> SINEAD MCSWEENEY: I think both of the ‑‑ this is Sinead from Twitter. I think that both Clair and myself have highlighted some initiatives that companies like ourselves have embarked on. There are a couple of elements to it. That in order for the work to be sustainable, the partnerships need to be sustainable. And that's why I think it is important that we choose a combination of, you know, global organizations that have significant reach, like yourselves, and then work locally as we do in many parts of the world. And Clair gave the example of their work in Nigeria that spoke to particular challenges that can exist. I agree very much with Commissioner Vera Jourova that this sense, that online is different, is misplaced and naive is also a good word for it. I often say there are no new problems in the world. We just ‑‑ they are just the same old problems but taking place in a different environment. And we just require more innovative solutions.
So in the same way, that we have, you know, used schools, used parenting, used all of these things to instill a sense of civic duty, citizenship those same skills, those same approaches to life and life's decisions and life's problems we need to incorporate in to school curricula, in to ‑‑ after school activities but then and try to reach the people who are out of formal education as well. I think it is being nimble and agile but being consistent in terms of the type of messaging that we are trying to get across to people about engaging critically with information.
We could also just try teaching philosophy in schools, which is obviously something that I ‑‑ that I'm a big fan of, that ability to encourage critical thinking amongst everyone.
>> TAWFIK JELASSI: Thank you, Ms. Sinead McSweeney. Ms. Clair Deevy, anything to add on this specific question from your side?
>> CLAIR DEEVY: I think that Sinead has done a phenomenal job on summarizing. One thing I would say is investing in creator economy, this is in terms of educating at a level of what you create and giving them the skills and opportunity to create and share content that addresses literacy and fact checking. And I think that layers on top of taking a pedagogical approach and taking a media approach of what you push out in terms of content and bringing those together.
>> TAWFIK JELASSI: Thank you. Let me invite Samia Bibars and Ms. Sonia Gill and Ms. Silvia Bacher, they have one minute concluding message before we wrap up the session. Ms. Samia Bibars.
>> SAMIA BIBARS: Thank you, Moderator. Just to give a very small and very short intervention, regarding how to protect the Human Rights, especially freedom of expression in terms of social media, or media, I would like to again emphasize on two issues. The first issue is to emphasize on the ethics, the ethical Guidelines which we need to follow in order to protect the Human Rights and especially the freedom of expression. The second issue it is again which I need also to emphasize it is again the education. The importance of education, the importance of integrating MIL in the schools and University curriculums, which is I think it is much more important even to ‑‑ when ‑‑ more important than issuing regulations. Regulations is on one hand important. Education is much more important than issue regulations.
So I would like to conclude by we need to let's say to design ethical benchmarks for Guidelines for participation on digital media which the participants have the ‑‑ to follow. And as well we need to put some regulations, but on the other hand, we need to emphasize on the importance of integration of the MIL in the educational process which I think this is much more important than issuing regulations.
>> TAWFIK JELASSI: Thank you. Ms. Silvia Bacher, I think you would like to say something.
>> SILVIA BACHER: It is really interesting. Really interesting all the points of view but I would like to ask something. What means education? Because when mostly when we talk about education, we talk about school. And we know because the UNESCO debate during a long time that the right of education is long life and intercultural. And for everyone not only at school, I think this is the commitment and the ‑‑ accountability that only society, all the platforms, all the media and also the school, of course, should understand that education is right for everyone at ‑‑ everyone is responsible. It is not only the school. They are responsible to take a bunch of these situations so special, because we have the opportunity to build a new world. This digital environment really can do it.
And also just let me say I agree with the first woman that talked from the European Union. She said and I agree, absolutely that the right ‑‑ the Human Rights are almost the same, offline and online. But that let me agree, let me say that two new Human Rights, that we need to spread them. That is one is right of connectivity. Internet as a human right. We need to spread this also as education in ‑‑ as well as the access to all the technology for everybody.
>> TAWFIK JELASSI: Thank you very much. Ms. Gill, your final one minute message, please.
>> SONIA GILL: I'm a trained broadcaster. So I know how to do it. Very briefly.
>> TAWFIK JELASSI: We have to learn from you how to do it.
>> SONIA GILL: I want to emphasize what we are discussing is not esoteric, not academic. These are life and death issues as we all know. I, therefore, just want to emphasize and I think we are all in agreement that collaboration is very, very important. The resources are critical. And the accountability must be what drives us. Thank you.
>> TAWFIK JELASSI: Thank you so much. Let me build on what you said. It is a matter of life or death. Let me here quote the Ambassador of the Member State of UNESCO who recently in a meeting with me told me we see media and information literacy as a national security matter. And I don't think that's an exaggeration.
Maybe I would like to end by echoing a comment that came through the chat. One participant, he said I am Bangalil and there are so many local languages that are not present online. We know that. There are about 140, 150 languages that you can find in cyberspace. While based on the latest study more than 8,000 languages are there. Giving a computer to people or financial the ability to subscribe to the Internet, we overlook the linguistic barrier. How can you do it in my local language? You are not present through a number of languages that maybe through them, people spread hate speech, speech of violence and radicalism and the like.
Let me also finish by saying that on the question of Human Rights online, I mentioned our ROAM approach, Human Rights based open and multi‑stakeholder, that's one contribution from us at UNESCO to really call for a full respect of Human Rights in cyberspace.
On the language matter we are about to start the international decade of indigenous languages at 2022‑2032. And we launched a couple of weeks ago the World Atlas of Languages that has 8,300 languages that we worked on. We want to have an Internet that's multi‑lingual as well. It can help media and information literacy. Thank you all. I saw some really positive feedback from participants saying this was an excellent discussion. Thank you to the panelists for sharing with us your perspectives, your insights and your experiences. Until we see you again on a future UNESCO MIL event we wish you to stay safe, to be well. And we tell you happy holidays ahead of the holidays. Thank you and good‑bye to all participants.