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Asian-Pacific and European broadcasters discuss how to win the war on disinformation

Asian-Pacific and European broadcasters discuss how to win the war on disinformation.

The Media2020 Conference took place on 3 and 4 October in Bucharest (Romania). Organized by the Asian-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) and Radio Romania, the Conference brought together a high number of broadcasters from Asia and Europe to reflect and debate under the conference theme “What Unites Us: Crossing borders in the digital world”.

Mr Valer Breaz, Minister of Culture and National Identity of Romania, welcomed the participants and expressed satisfaction with such high attendance and the variety and importance of topics to be discussed.

The future of public media in the digital world, copyright and IP in the digital age, how to win the war on disinformation and the potential of 5G were some of the issues covered by an intensive programme that included more than 30 panelists.

During his opening speech, ABU Secretary General Mr Javad Mottaghi spoke of the effective East-West media dialogue and networking opportunities provided by the well-established Media 2020 forum, which has been organized for five consecutive years. Next year the Media 2020 dialogue will be held from 8 to 10 June in Bali (Indonesia).  

UNESCO IPDC Deputy Secretary, Rosa M. Gonzalez presented the Organization’s perspective on disinformation and called on broadcasters to foster quality journalism as an antidote to disinformation. She also offered an overview of current responses worldwide to disinformation and encouraged broadcasters to further investigate orchestrated disinformation. “Disinformation is a very serious matter because it deliberately discredits professional news media; it is bad for democracy and threatens the 2030 agenda, but the good news is that there are many on-going responses to disinformation worldwide and that broadcasters are part of the solution” she concluded.

YLE Finland´s Tuomas Kerkkänen offered an overview of how disinformation is being fought back in Finland, a country that has been recognized as having the best-prepared citizens to identify falsehoods, thanks to a long-standing Media and Information Literacy (MIL) tradition at all educational levels.

EBU Communications Director Vanessa O’Connor reminded the audience about the clear correlation between the existence of public service media in a country and the higher levels of press freedom and overall democratic health.

The gathering welcomed UNESCO´s handbook for journalism education and training on “Journalism, “Fake News” & Disinformation” which was widely disseminated to participating broadcasters. As a follow-up, several training initiatives based on the handbook have already been proposed in several countries.