IGF 2017 WS #197 Fighting Fake News, Protecting Free Speech: Global Perspectives on Combatting Online Misinformation

Short Title: 
Fighting Fake News While Protecting Free Speech

Proposer's Name: Mr. James Tager
Proposer's Organization: PEN America
Co-Proposer's Name: Ms. Katy Glenn Bass
Co-Proposer's Organization: PEN America
Co-Organizers:
Free Expression Programs Manager, James TAGER, Civil society, PEN America
Director of Free Expression Research and Policy, Katy GLENN BASS, Civil society, PEN America
(PEN America will also communicate with other PEN Chapters globally about co-organizing, pending proposal approval)

Additional Speakers: 

LIST OF SPEAKERS HAS CHANGED; PLEASE SEE AGENDA (BELOW) FOR NEW LIST OF SPEAKERS

1. Dunja Mijatovic

Dunja Mijatovic, an expert on media law and regulation, is the former OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, having served from 2010-2016.

2. Andreas Vlachos

Andreas Vlachos is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Sheffield and Chief Research Scientist for Factmata, a British company using artificial intelligence to create and strengthen fact-checking tools.

3. Rasha Abdulla (tbc)

Rasha Abdulla is an Associate Professor at the University of Cairo and an expert in social media and new media, particularly in the Arab world.

 

 

Agenda: 

Workshop Overview

The rise of “fake news”—which is primarily spread on the internet through the sharing of online articles and chain e-letters, and posts on social media platforms—has given rise to widespread concern about its negative societal impact, including influencing elections, undermining public faith in institutions, and eroding support for democratic principles. In response, governments and technology companies around the world are working quickly to curb its spread. However, some of the approaches being advanced have the potential to restrict free speech online, limit legitimate civic debate, and damage press freedom. As this ongoing debate continues, how do we ensure that efforts to combat fake news do not unduly burden free expression online?

Questions Posed:

• What role, if any, should the government play in combatting fake news? What are the different regulatory approaches to fake news being considered, and which ones are most or least consistent with free expression principles?

• What are the specific pros and cons of specific regulatory approaches being proposed?  E.g. proposals to fine social media providers who do not remove fake news in a timely manner; government-funded fact-checkers; government-initiated take-down notices against fake news purveyors; ‘media freezes’ or Internet shutdowns before major civic occasions

• What responsibilities do technology and social media companies bear for addressing fake news?
• What risks to free speech are entailed by efforts to curb the flow of misinformation? What are the tension points between free expression and the fight against ‘fake news’?
• What role can/should civil society play in combatting fake news online, and/or ensuring that government responses to ‘fake news’ do not infringe on our rights?

Workshop Agenda

1. Introduction and Moderating Remarks, James Tager, PEN America (5-10 Minutes)

2. Opening Panelist Remarks (8 minutes each, for a total of 40 minutes)

Each panelist will be instructed to prepare their comments with the intent of addressing one or more of the questions posed (above) in addition to sharing their own professional engagement or relevant national context on the issue of fake news.

- Muhammad Ashif Entaz Rabi (remotely)

Ashif Rabi is a Bangladeshi blogger, social activist, and former TV show host on the front lines for the fight for free expression. He is currently a National Endowment for Democracy Fellow exploring ways to form responsible civic digital spaces.

- Yehven Fedchenko                             

Yehven Fedchenko is the Director of the Mohyla School of Journalism in Kyiv, Ukraine, and the co-founder of StopFake.org, a fact-checking project aimed at refuting fake news and misinformation in and about Ukraine.

- Dunja Mijatovic

Dunja Mijatovic, an expert on media law and regulation, is the former OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, having served from 2010-2016.

- Andreas Vlachos

Andreas Vlachos is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Sheffield and Chief Research Scientist for Factmata, a British company using artificial intelligence to create and strengthen fact-checking tools.

- Rasha Abdulla

Rasha Abdulla is an Associate Professor at the University of Cairo and an expert in social media and new media, particularly in the Arab world.

- Paolo Cesarini

Paolo Cesarini is head of unit at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition, and will be speaking on the EC's newest work to address the issue of fake news..

 

3. Moderated Inter-Panelist Conversation (15-20 minutes)

Panelists will respond briefly to each other’s opening comments, prompted by questions from the Moderator where necessary.

4. Audience Questions (approx. 30 minutes, until end of Workshop)

The audience—both online and in-person—will be invited to join in discussion with the panelists, raising their own questions and (briefly) sharing their own experiences and perspectives where relevant.

Contact Information

United Nations
Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Villa Le Bocage
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland

igf [at] un [dot] org
+41 (0) 229 173 678