Collaboration Key to Societies’ Resilience against the risks of Harmful Content Online
At a time when we are increasingly connected through digital technology, how to harness their potential to promote peace? How to balance the fight against hate speech and the respect to fundamental rights such as Freedom of Expression and Access to Information? Those questions posed by H.E Vincent Piket, Ambassador of the European Union to Indonesia were the focus of an online event entitled “Countering Online Disinformation and Hate Speech to Foster Peace” held on 23 June 2021 to mark the launching of the Social Media 4 Peace Project in Indonesia.
“It is our hope that the Social Media 4 Peace project will contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Goal 16 and to the UN Action Plan of Action on Hate Speech launched by UN Secretary General Antonio Gutierrez to combat the online disturbing groundswell of xenophobia, racism and intolerance” Ms Julliand noted in her introductory remarks.
“The Government of Indonesia calls for all relevant stakeholders to work hand in hand to address the risk of information disorder and hate speech. Stakeholders have their share to ensure a safe and peaceful digital world for our nation. Through our collaborative efforts, we can greet the benefits of Indonesia digital transformation agenda for better Indonesia and moving towards an inclusive and robust digital society,” said Ms Mira Tayyiba, Secretary General of the Ministry of Communication and Informatics, Republic of Indonesia
The second half of the event saw practitioners and experts explored and discussed the various aspects of the spread of harmful content through social media and the strategies to increase resilience of the people to those consequences both online and offline. Present at the discussion was Dr Novi Kurnia from the Department of Communication, Universitas Gadjah Mada and Indonesian Digital Literacy Community, Ms. Anita Wahid from Indonesian Anti-Hoax Community, Mr. Agung Yudha, the Director of Public Policy Twitter Indonesia and Malaysia and Mr. Asep Setiawan, Head of Organizational Development, the Indonesian Press Council.
It was clear from the discussion that different stakeholders need to come together and seek collaborative solutions to answer the pressing issue of the spread of harmful content online, including disinformation and hate speech. One of the core objectives of Funded by the European Union Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace and led by UNESCO, the Social Media 4 Peace project aims to strengthen the capacities of societies be be resilient against the risks of harmful content spread online, notably through social media. The project also aims to enhance the understanding of roots causes of harmful content online as well as promote multi-stakeholders collaboration Indonesia is one of the three pilot countries alongside Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Kenya. The lessons learnt at the country level will feed into the global discussion.
As the UN Agency with the mandate to promote and protect freedom of expression, UNESCO brings together relevant stakeholders including representatives of social media platforms, national authorities, civil society organizations promoting freedom of expression, conflict prevention and peace building organization as well as conflict-affected communities through this project. UNESCO is the principal UN agency that promotes the freedom of expression including its corollary of press freedom and access to information. UNESCO contributes to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals 16 to promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies.
For more information: Social Media 4 Peace (unesco.org)