IGF 2022 Open Forum #70 Open Forum: Shaping digital platforms for the public good

Tuesday, 29th November, 2022 (14:30 UTC) - Tuesday, 29th November, 2022 (15:30 UTC)
Caucus Room 11

Panel - Auditorium - 60 Min


UNESCO Social Media 4 Peace project funded by the European Union, has revealed gaps in current policies and practices for managing online content, especially hate speech and harmful content. In many countries, regulatory frameworks are either absent or insufficient or strongly restrictive affecting peoples’ right to freedom of expression. In addition, platforms have not invested the resources needed to adequately detect and deal with potentially harmful content online while respecting freedom of expression, particularly at the local level. 

In this context, UNESCO is piloting a model framework for shaping digital platforms for securing information as a public good while respecting freedom of expression. The draft framework will be presented and discussed at a global conference that will take place in February 2023 at UNESCO.  

Therefore, the objectives of this UNESCO Open Forum will be to:  

  1. Showcase the testimonies and findings of the Social Media 4 Peace Project, which informs UNESCO's approach to address online harmful content 

  1. Facilitate a multi-stakeholder consultation around UNESCO's draft model regulatory framework for digital platforms to secure information as a public good, as an open consultation ahead of the global conference in February 2023: https://www.unesco.org/en/internet-conference

As this Open Forum consists of a consultation session, the discussion will be led in a participatory manner so that both speakers and audience members will be able to actively interact, and share questions, comments, and inputs. These will subsequently be considered for reviewing the approach to harmful content online to be presented at the conference. 

The session will also be of value to the Future Summit 2023 and more specifically the Global Digital Compact outcomes.

First, we will ensure fluent communication between our onsite and online moderators to keep track of the questions and comments from both groups and ensure that everyone has a chance to voice their thoughts. Through audio and visual equipment, we will allow online participants to have both auditive and visual input in the online session.

Also, to ensure dynamic input throughout the session we will also allow for a chat function (accessible for everyone onsite and online via their phones or computers) so that attendees can post their questions, thoughts, and comments online and have a back-and-forth conversation. As this Open forum consists of a consultation session, we will also make sure that everyone involved is aware of the format and content of the policy papers and the session in advance, so that they can prepare any questions, comments, or input they might have.

We will hold a synchronous hybrid conference session where both online and onsite participants are present at the same time and can interact with each other in real-time. We will provide clear instructions to both onsite and online participants before the session. This means sending out an agenda, the draft outcome of the policy papers and principles, providing clear instructions on how to join the conference, and accessing any materials that will be used during the session.

We will make sure the audio and video quality of the speakers online, and of the participant’s room onsite is good for all participants. This means using a high-quality microphone and camera and testing the audio and video setup in advance. By ensuring a specific camera angle (on-site), we would like to have all participants in camera for the online viewers, to ensure fluent communication between both. We will plan for interactive elements that will engage both onsite and online participants. This could include things like breakout rooms for small group discussions, polls and surveys, workshop fill-in documents, and Q&A sessions.

To ensure dynamic and fluent communication between onsite and online participants, we will make sure to have the appropriate audio/visual equipment on-site to support interactive discussion on both sides. As we are planning to have a synchronous hybrid conference session, we will make sure that you have a strong and reliable Internet connection to support both the onsite and online participants. Tools: A chat tool such as Zoom allows participants to ask questions and engage in discussion both during and after the session A virtual whiteboard tool such as Miro to brainstorm ideas and collaborate on projects in real-time


Tawfik Jelassi, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information UNESCO  

Marielza Oliveira, Director for Programmes and Operational Programme Monitoring UNESCO

Cedric Wachholz, Chief of Section Digital Innovation and Transformation for Communication and Information Sector UNESCO

Guilherme Canela de Souza Godoi, Chief of Section Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists Communication and Information Sector UNESCO

Misako Ito, Regional Advisor for Communication and Information in Africa, UNESCO Nairobi 

Rachel Pollack, Associate Programme Specialist, Section Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalist UNESCO 

Charline d’Oultremont, Consultant Digital Innovation, and Transformation, Communication and Information Sector UNESCO


Opening remarks: Tawfik Jelassi, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information UNESCO

John Okande, Project Officer for the social media for Peace in Kenya, UNESCO Nairobi  

Andrew Puddephatt, Senior Consultant, UNESCO  

Anriette Esterhuysen, Senior advisor global and regional internet governance, Association for Progressive Communications (APC)

Alison Gillwald, Executive Director, Research ICT Africa (RIA) 

Menno Cox, Head of Sector, DG-CONNECT, European Commission

Onsite Moderator

Cédric Wachholz, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization

Online Moderator

Rachel Pollack, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization


Misako Ito, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization


16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
Targets: There are many Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) linked to regulating digital platforms, but some of the most relevant ones include SDG 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions), SDG 5 (gender equality), and SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities). In terms of SDG 16, online platforms can be used to spread misinformation and hate speech, which can undermine peace and justice. Also, online platforms can be a source of fake news and propaganda, which can distort public debate and decision-making. One of the policy synopses for this session will tackle regulatory issues regarding human rights impact assessments – especially freedom of expression, access to information, and privacy – and has a direct link to SDG 16. Along with these, the synopsis on Developing digital preservation is also linked to Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions. The synopsis on ‘Achieving digital inclusion – diversity in access and in content moderation and promotion of multilingualism and local content’ relates to SGD 17 to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development. Achieving digital inclusion also helps to reach SDGs 5 and 10 as regulating digital platforms can help reduce inequality within and among countries.

Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)

UNESCO is developing a draft regulatory framework for digital platforms that will address harmful content such as mis- and disinformation and hate speech, while safeguarding freedom of expression and other human rights. The framework will focus on processes and will guided by the principles of transparency, content management policies consistent with human rights, user empowerment mechanisms, accountability, and independent oversight.

Call to Action (* deadline 2 hours after session)

The draft framework should provide a set of principles for social media platforms to fulfil their due diligence obligations regarding management of content that damages democracy and human rights. It should be a contribution to the global conversation on online content moderation to empower users, in particular the most vulnerable groups as well as users of minority languages.