Information and democracy

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The International Initiative on Information & Democracy powered by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) aims at bringing guarantees for the freedom of opinion and expression in the global space of information and communication. This project is set to implement Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in the digital era.

One year of international mobilizationMore details

 

 

Three historical steps have already been achieved:

 

 

×
Dear [Name of Candidate],

I am writing to ask you what you plan to do to defend the First Amendment, freedom of the press, and the fundamental rights of journalists to practice their profession freely in what has become an increasingly hostile environment for information and news providers.

The United States, which enshrines press freedom in the First Amendment of its Constitution, is currently witnessing a drastic decline in media freedom. On June 28, one of the most horrific attacks on press freedom in the United States occurred when five employees, including four reporters, were killed at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland. According to the US Press Freedom Tracker, which comprehensively documents press freedom violations in the US committed by national, state, and local authorities as well as private individuals, 33 journalists were arrested, 43 were physically attacked, and 15 seizures of journalists’ equipment occurred in 2017. In one of these incidents, Rep. Greg Gianforte physically assaulted a Guardian journalist the night before his state’s election. While covering the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, journalists were impersonated on social media, impeding their ability to accurately investigate the facts and disseminate information which could be vital to preventing a similar tragedy. This hostility towards the press not only risks compromising the American public’s right to be informed through journalists’ reporting, but can also degrade the public’s trust in the media itself.

This is not a partisan issue; it is a fundamental right that impacts every American no matter their politics. Journalism is at the crux of our democracy, and communities everywhere rely on journalists to provide them with information that is essential to their daily decision-making processes. It was local investigative journalist Curt Guyette who broke the story about Flint, Michigan’s lack of access to clean water in 2014, prompting years of class-action lawsuits, protests, and subsequent federal assistance to the city in order to try to resolve the crisis. Reporters Megan Twohey, Jodi Kantor, and Ronan Farrow publicized sexual assault allegations against influential Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in 2017, leading to the ubiquitous and powerful #MeToo movement which brought decades of sexual abuse and harassment across multiple industries to light.

Yet freedom of the press in the US is currently in dire need of congressional support. It is our civic duty as one of the world’s leading democracies to uphold principles that support and protect the rights of journalists so that they may hold those in power accountable and ensure an informed and engaged community.

If you are elected, what do you plan to do to protect this utterly essential component of our democracy? What are your plans to protect the public’s right to be informed through a free and independent press?

Sincerely,
[Your name]

×
Hello, my name is _______ and I am from [city, state].

I’m calling to let you know that [candidate/representative]'s stance on freedom of the press is extremely important in my decision to vote. I feel that this is not a partisan issue, but a fundamental right that impacts every American no matter their politics.

I have become increasingly concerned with the growing climate of hostility for journalists in this country, and I would like for [candidate/representative] to publicly address what they will do to defend press freedom if [he/she] is elected.

Thank you.

×
Freedom of the press is suffering in the US. @[yourcandidate] if you are elected to serve in Congress, what are your plans to protect journalists and our right to be informed? Will you #DefendPressFreedom?

Democracy depends on a free and independent press and its ability to hold those in power accountable. [@yourcandidate] will you take measures to protect journalism and the First Amendment? Will you #DefendPressFreedom?

In June, four reporters were murdered in an appalling targeted attack on the Capital Gazette and freedom of the press. [@yourcandidate] what will you do to address the growing threat to journalists in this country? #DefendPressFreedom

Press freedom is in steady decline in the US. I want my representative to defend the work of journalists as well as my right to be informed. [@yourcandidate] if you are elected what will you do to protect a free press? #DefendPressFreedom

×
Journalists play a crucial role in our democracy by keeping us informed and holding those in power accountable. And yet in the US, attacks on journalists are becoming more common, undermining the media's role and creating opportunities for government overreach, the erosion of press freedom, and impeding our right to be informed. I’m contacting my candidates and encouraging them to defend press freedom during their midterm election campaign. Join me at DefendPressFreedom.com

A free press is essential to our democracy. Communities everywhere rely on journalists to report on our government’s actions and hold public figures accountable, providing us with the information we need to make decisions every day. And yet physical, verbal, and online attacks against journalists in the US are increasing at an astonishing rate. I’m contacting my candidates and encouraging them to defend press freedom during their midterm election campaign. You should too. Read more at DefendPressFreedom.com

Press freedom is declining in the US at an alarming rate. Physical, verbal, and online attacks against journalists have increased drastically in the last two years. As the US midterm elections approach, we must remind our congressional candidates that journalists play a crucial role in our democracy by keeping us informed and holding those in power accountable. I’m contacting my representatives and encouraging them to defend press freedom during their midterm election campaign. Join in and help me spread the word at DefendPressFreedom.com
 

×

Stay updated on #DefendPressFreedom

* indicates required


 
 

 

 

Creation of the Commission on Information & Democracy

In November 2018, RSF gathered an International Commission on Information & Democracy composed of 25 figures from 18 different countries and various background (Nobel laureates, experts in new technologies, journalists, former international organizations directors, etc.)
This Commission ^published the International Declaration on Information & Democracy on November 5th, 2018. It outlines the fundamental principles governing the global space of information and communication.

 

The commitment from Heads of States and Governments

During the first edition of the Paris Peace Forum (November 2018), twelve Heads of States and Governments committed to launch a political process based on the Declaration on Information & Democracy. This initial commitment will result in an international Partnership on Information & Democracy.

 

Towards the creation of a new entity to implement these principles:

×
Dear [Name of Candidate],

I am writing to ask you what you plan to do to defend the First Amendment, freedom of the press, and the fundamental rights of journalists to practice their profession freely in what has become an increasingly hostile environment for information and news providers.

The United States, which enshrines press freedom in the First Amendment of its Constitution, is currently witnessing a drastic decline in media freedom. On June 28, one of the most horrific attacks on press freedom in the United States occurred when five employees, including four reporters, were killed at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland. According to the US Press Freedom Tracker, which comprehensively documents press freedom violations in the US committed by national, state, and local authorities as well as private individuals, 33 journalists were arrested, 43 were physically attacked, and 15 seizures of journalists’ equipment occurred in 2017. In one of these incidents, Rep. Greg Gianforte physically assaulted a Guardian journalist the night before his state’s election. While covering the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, journalists were impersonated on social media, impeding their ability to accurately investigate the facts and disseminate information which could be vital to preventing a similar tragedy. This hostility towards the press not only risks compromising the American public’s right to be informed through journalists’ reporting, but can also degrade the public’s trust in the media itself.

This is not a partisan issue; it is a fundamental right that impacts every American no matter their politics. Journalism is at the crux of our democracy, and communities everywhere rely on journalists to provide them with information that is essential to their daily decision-making processes. It was local investigative journalist Curt Guyette who broke the story about Flint, Michigan’s lack of access to clean water in 2014, prompting years of class-action lawsuits, protests, and subsequent federal assistance to the city in order to try to resolve the crisis. Reporters Megan Twohey, Jodi Kantor, and Ronan Farrow publicized sexual assault allegations against influential Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in 2017, leading to the ubiquitous and powerful #MeToo movement which brought decades of sexual abuse and harassment across multiple industries to light.

Yet freedom of the press in the US is currently in dire need of congressional support. It is our civic duty as one of the world’s leading democracies to uphold principles that support and protect the rights of journalists so that they may hold those in power accountable and ensure an informed and engaged community.

If you are elected, what do you plan to do to protect this utterly essential component of our democracy? What are your plans to protect the public’s right to be informed through a free and independent press?

Sincerely,
[Your name]

×
Hello, my name is _______ and I am from [city, state].

I’m calling to let you know that [candidate/representative]'s stance on freedom of the press is extremely important in my decision to vote. I feel that this is not a partisan issue, but a fundamental right that impacts every American no matter their politics.

I have become increasingly concerned with the growing climate of hostility for journalists in this country, and I would like for [candidate/representative] to publicly address what they will do to defend press freedom if [he/she] is elected.

Thank you.

×
Freedom of the press is suffering in the US. @[yourcandidate] if you are elected to serve in Congress, what are your plans to protect journalists and our right to be informed? Will you #DefendPressFreedom?

Democracy depends on a free and independent press and its ability to hold those in power accountable. [@yourcandidate] will you take measures to protect journalism and the First Amendment? Will you #DefendPressFreedom?

In June, four reporters were murdered in an appalling targeted attack on the Capital Gazette and freedom of the press. [@yourcandidate] what will you do to address the growing threat to journalists in this country? #DefendPressFreedom

Press freedom is in steady decline in the US. I want my representative to defend the work of journalists as well as my right to be informed. [@yourcandidate] if you are elected what will you do to protect a free press? #DefendPressFreedom

×
Journalists play a crucial role in our democracy by keeping us informed and holding those in power accountable. And yet in the US, attacks on journalists are becoming more common, undermining the media's role and creating opportunities for government overreach, the erosion of press freedom, and impeding our right to be informed. I’m contacting my candidates and encouraging them to defend press freedom during their midterm election campaign. Join me at DefendPressFreedom.com

A free press is essential to our democracy. Communities everywhere rely on journalists to report on our government’s actions and hold public figures accountable, providing us with the information we need to make decisions every day. And yet physical, verbal, and online attacks against journalists in the US are increasing at an astonishing rate. I’m contacting my candidates and encouraging them to defend press freedom during their midterm election campaign. You should too. Read more at DefendPressFreedom.com

Press freedom is declining in the US at an alarming rate. Physical, verbal, and online attacks against journalists have increased drastically in the last two years. As the US midterm elections approach, we must remind our congressional candidates that journalists play a crucial role in our democracy by keeping us informed and holding those in power accountable. I’m contacting my representatives and encouraging them to defend press freedom during their midterm election campaign. Join in and help me spread the word at DefendPressFreedom.com
 

×

Stay updated on #DefendPressFreedom

* indicates required


 
 

The International Forum on Information & Democracy

According to the Declaration, a new organization will be created to gather the different stakeholder around a same objective: implement the fundamental principles of the global space of information and communication in order to guarantee freedom of opinion and expression and to strengthen democracies. 

This Forum is:

  •  Created and governed by civil society to ensure total independence towards governments and private companies. ;
  • Tasked with a clear mandate based on the International Declaration on Information & Democracy. ;
  • Endowed with necessary means to evaluate the norms and architectures of the information and communication space, formulate recommendations to all the stakeholders, facilitate the implementation of concrete solutions and sustain the independence, pluralism and reliability of information. 

 

 

 

With the support from Antonio Guterres, UN secretary-general:  

 

“I commend your initiative to establish a Commission on Information and Democracy. It comes at a crucial time when new means of communicating and disseminating information are transforming our world. Access to relevant and reliable information is therefore even more fundamental than ever. Yet, more and more, it is under threat (...) Now more than ever, we must reaffirm the importance of rigorous public debate that is informed, pluralistic and respectful. I thank you for helping to lead the way.”

 

 

The commission

The International Commission on Information & Democracy

Seventy years after the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Paris, the action of the International Commission on Information & Democracy gathered by RSF acts in a context where “the crisis of trust in democracies and the growing influence of despotic regimes pose a major threat to freedoms, civil harmony and peace.”

 

Political control of information in a globalized public space, the influence of private interests, the growing power of corporate actors who escape democratic control and the undermining of quality journalism are the leading causes.

 

The Commission on information & democracy, co-chaired by Christophe Deloire, Secretary General of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, met for the first time on September 11th, 2018.

 

According to the mission statement, “The Declaration’s function will be to state principles, define objectives for decision-makers and propose forms of governance”. It “must set out human rights, especially those relating to freedom of expression, the principles of journalistic ethics, and an ethical code for the development and use of technologies and provide guidelines for both public and private-sector decision-makers”.

 

The International Commission on Information & Democracy is composed of the following members:

 

The declaration

The International Declaration on Information and Democracy is establishing fundamental principles for the global information and communication space, which its preamble defines as a “common good of humankind.” The management of this space “is the responsibility of humankind in its entirety, through democratic institutions,” the preamble adds.

 

This six-page document published on November 5th 2018, sets out democratic guarantees for the READ THE DECLARATIONHEREfreedom, independence, pluralism and reliability of information at a time when the public space has been globalized, digitalized and destabilized.

The Declaration rolls out in 5 parts:

  • Preamble: The global space of information and communication, a common good of humankind
  • Principles
  • Entities that create means, architectures and norms for information and communication
  • Media and journalism
  • Toward an international framework for information and democracy

Political commitment

On November 11th, 2018, a few days after the publication of the Declaration and on the during the first edition of the Paris Peace Forum, 12 states responded to an appeal from the Commission on Information and Democracy chaired by RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire and Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi.

 

Leaders of Burkina Faso, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Norway, Senegal, Switzerland and Tunisia committed to launch a political process aiming at implementing the principles from the Declaration.

 

 

UNESCO director-general Audrey Azoulay, Council of Europe secretary general Thorbjørn Jagland and UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres also expressed their support on this occasion. 

 

For Antonio Guterres, this initiative “comes at a crucial time when new means of communicating and disseminating information are transforming our world. Access to relevant and reliable information is therefore even more fundamental than ever.”

 

Since then, around twenty countries have been working on the International Partnership on Information and Democracy. This Partnership should be signed before the end of 2019 and will materialize the initial commitment taken during the Paris Peace Forum.

 

This Partnership has been negotiated by States sharing the same democratic values and the same vision for the global space of information and communication. 

 

Support from Heads of State and Government: 

 

“We are at a major turning point today, 70 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, because freedom of opinion and expression, which underpins our democracies and whose progress we had assumed to be irreversible, is in fact again threatened and questioned. I support your initiative and I am in favor of our agreeing on a set of undertakings based on the declaration presented today. I am in favor of our trying to get as many other countries as possible to join in these undertakings. And I am in favor of our creating a group of international experts on this subject, because there is no happiness without freedom and no freedom without courage. You decided to do your duty and I think we, as heads of state and government, should do the same. I would therefore like to say here that France is fully committed to backing this and I thank my fellow heads of state and government here today, who I know share this commitment.”

Emmanuel Macron

 

“A global communication and information space built on the freedom of expression is essential. Without freedom of expression and a real communication and information space, rule of law is at risk. Carefully built institutions could be undermined.” 

Erna Solberg

 

“In Africa, there is an ever-stronger determination to guarantee the protection of journalists and to create the conditions for this process to be carried out properly. I fully commit to supporting the Pledge for Information and Democracy.”

Macky Sall

 

“We came here to tell you: yes, we are in favour of this initiative and it is the future that will provide us with the proof of this.”

Beji Caïd Essebsi

 

“We need to support the need to have strong and independent media in which our fellow citizens have confidence.” Canada, he said “undertakes to defend a free press through the Commission initiated by Reporters Without Borders.”

Justin Trudeau

 

“Pluralism and freedom of opinion must be guaranteed. Access to factual data and access to knowledge, especially knowledge of actual events, are a fundamental right.”

Carlos Alvarado

 

 

 

 

 

The partnership

31 UN members states signed the International Partnership on Information and Democracy at the UN General Assembly today, a historic inter-governmental accord initiated by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) to promote democratic principles in the online public arena.

 

Made possible by RSF’s Information and Democracy Initiative, the signing of this unprecedented agreement in New York opens the way to the implementation of democratic guarantees for the READ THE PARTNERSHIPglobal online information and communication space.

The International Partnership on Information and Democracy commits the 31 signatory countries* to promote online access to news and information that is freely and independently reported, diverse and reliable. It establishes democratic principles, including political, ideological and religious neutrality for algorithms and transparency in the way they function. And it focuses on the responsibility of online service providers to promote trustworthy content and pluralism in order to escape the current “information chaos.”

 

In an appeal to more than 50 foreign ministers and 20 representatives from delegations attending today’s launch of the “Alliance for Multilateralism” at the UN, RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said: “If the democracies don’t set the rules, private interests and dictators will do it for us (...) They are the ones, not parliaments, that have regulated the online information and communication space (...) This is why we have set about rebuilding a system of democratic guarantees adapted to the digital era.

 

Co-chaired by Deloire and Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi, the International Information and Democracy Commission met for the first time on 11 September 2018 and issued its Declaration on Information and Democracy in early November. It quickly won the support of 12 heads of state and government and was hailed by UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres, UNESCO director-general Audrey Azoulay and Council of Europe secretary general Thorbjørn Jagland.

 

The Commission’s Declaration launched a political process which, as a result of French President Emmanuel Macron’s initiative, received the G7’s unanimous support in Biarritz in August 2019 before finally reaching the UN General Assembly.

 

This international accord is a major step forward,” Deloire said. “Initiated by civil society, this project has the support of regional champions such as South Korea, Costa Rica, Canada and Tunisia. It has strong momentum and will be able to enlist the online platforms because the power they wield over the way the online public space functions entails great responsibilities.”

The text of the partnership hails the work undertaken by RSF to promote its implementation by creating an Information and Democracy Forum tasked with proposing the principles on which regulation and self-regulation can be based. It will be a new organization, one steered by civil society.

 

The Forum’s principles of governance will guarantee its independence and will ensure that all stakeholders, including governments, online platforms and the media, are brought around the same table in order to promote appropriate forms of regulation and self-regulation,” said Thomas Friang, the head of advocacy at RSF.

 

The Forum was inaugurated in Paris in mid-November by a coalition of independent organizations.

* List of signatory countries :

 

  • South Africa

  • Germany*

  • Andorra*

  • Australia

  • Benin*

  • Bulgaria*

  • Canada

  • Chile*

  • South Korea

  • Costa Rica*

  • Croatia*

  • Denmark*

  • Finland*

  • France*

  • India

  • Italy

  • Latvia

  • Lebanon

  • Liechtenstein *

  • Lithuania*

  • Malta*

  • Montenegro*

  • Norway*

  • Netherlands

  • Czech republic*

  • Senegal

  • Spain

  • Sweden*

  • Switzerland*

  • Tunisia *

  • UK

 

* States that have physically signed the Partnership at the "Alliance for Multilateralism" event

 

The Forum

According to the Declaration, a new framework of reflection and action is necessary to keep up with the challenge facing the global space of information and communication in the digital era.

 

 The Forum on Information and Democracy is an independent international organization which will The Forum websiteheregather States, civil society, media and digital platforms to discuss through regulation and self-regulation solutions to ensure democratic safeguards in the digital era. It is part of the International Initiative on Information & Democracy led by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).


One year of international mobilization

A new organization governed by civil society

A Multi-Stakeholder approach

Concrete recommendations and solutions

Moving Forward

The Forum’s founding members


 

 

 

One year of international mobilization

 

 

 

A new organization governed by civil society

 

Alongside its partners from civil society and gathering different types of stakeholder (States, online service providers, media organization and civil society), RSF is leading the creation of a new entity: The International Forum on Information & Democracy.

This new organization will be run by civil society organisation in order to ensure its independence both from States and private entities. It will have the following mandate: 

  • Evaluatethe means, norms and architectures of the global space of information and communication
  • Investigate platforms compliance with principles of the Partnership and its implementation.
  • Formulate non-binding recommendations to States and Online Service Providers (i.e. digital platforms) to regulate this global space by norms or good practices.
  • Facilitatethe emergence of self-regulatory solutions by and for the actors in this space 
  • Sustainljournalism with supportive solutions and forward-looking policy recommendations on viable business models in the information industry. 

 

The Forum is a Paris-based non-profit organization created and governed by independent organizations from civil society and academia. 

It received the support of the G7 leaders and has been welcomed by a coalition of 30 States through the signature of the International Partnership on Information & Democracy during the UN General Assembly (September 26th, 2019). 

It is tasked to implement the principles from this intergovernmental agreement.

A Multi-Stakeholder approach

 

Recommendations are prepared by the Working Groups with the support of the Secretariat prior to validation by the Steering Committee. Then, recommendations of the Forum can be issued to different groups of stakeholders.

  • States joining the Partnership on Information and Democracy will receive recommendations to better regulate the global space of information and communication.
  • Online Service Providerswill receive recommendations on ways to implement regulations or to initiate auto-regulations based on the Partnership’s principles.  
  • Media organizationswill be informed of all policy recommendations (regulation/autoregulation) issued by the forum to comment on them, as well as provide with their outlook on the implementation plans responding to such recommendations.
  • Other non-governmental organizations and civil society at large will participate in the process of the Forum, in particular to comment the recommendations and their implementations by relevant stakeholders. 

All stakeholders will be gathered in an annual plenary meeting. This meeting is meant to release the annual policy report of the Forum with its main recommendations and to announce measures adopted by the States or the Online Service Providers based on recommendations of the Forum. 

 

Concrete recommendations and solutions

 

 Composed of international experts, the different WORKING GROUPS of the Forum will provide: 

  • Principles and safeguards for policy recommendations addressed to public policy-makers. 
  • Self-regulatory standards and best practices addressed to the private sector (platforms and media outlets). 
  • Facilitation and promotion of projects and solutions related to the Forum’s recommendation. 
  • The annual policy report of the Forum, which will monitor:

    - The means, norms and architecture of the global space of information and communication;

    - The compliance of platforms with the principles of the Partnership;

Moving Forward

 

• Inauguration of the Forum on Information & Democracy - 12th November 2019

• Gather the stakeholders which will take part in the activities of the Forum. 

• Define the work plan with the participation of the International Commission on Information & Democracy

• Create the first working groups with international experts from various fields. Their work will be facilitated by the permanent secretariat of the Forum. 

• Organize the first annual plenary by the end of 2020 to gather all the stakeholders for a review of recommendations and commitments.

The Forum’s founding members

 

   
   
   
 

 

 

Forum on Information and Democracy 250 recommendations on how to stop “infodemics”

As false or manipulated information continues to proliferate online during the Covid-19 epidemic, the Forum on Information and Democracy is publishing a report entitled How to end infodemics. Based on more than 100 contributions from international experts, it offers 250 recommendations on how to rein in a phenomenon that threatens democracies and human rights, including the right to health.

 

Launched in 2019 by 11 non-governmental organizations and research centres, the Forum on Read the reportHEREInformation and Democracy created a working group on infodemics in June to devise a “regulatory framework” to respond to the information chaos on online platforms and social media. After five months of work, this group, whose steering committee is co-chaired by Maria Ressa and Marietje Schaake, is publishing a detailed report with 250 recommendations for governments and digital platforms.

The report, written by a team of rapporteurs led by Delphine Halgand-Mishra, identifies four structural challenges and proposes concrete solutions for each of them:  

  • platform transparency
  • content moderation
  • promotion of reliable news and information
  • private messaging services 

 

Many countries that are members of the Alliance for Multilateralism expressed their support when the Forum’s president, Christophe Deloire, gave a presentation about the working group to nearly 50 foreign ministers during an Alliance meeting on 26 June that was also attended by World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and UNESCO director-general Audrey Azoulay

During another meeting of the Alliance to be held on 12 November as part of the Paris Peace Forum, Deloire will give a presentation on the Forum on Information and Democracy report and its main recommendations to Alliance foreign ministers.

“This report is proof that a structural solution is possible for ending the information chaos that poses a deadly danger to our democracies,” Christophe Deloire said. “All those adopting legislative initiatives with regard to platforms should be guided by this report, whether in India with Section 79, the United States with Section 230, Canada with the Digital Charter, the United Kingdom with the Online Harms Bill and, of course, the European Union with the Digital Services Act.”

 

 

"It's been an honor to work with experts across many disciplines - exactly what is needed today, says Maria Ressa, co-chair of the steering committee. These times show more than ever that information is power, and when lies spread faster than facts, all human endeavor is threatened. It's an existential moment for democracy and journalism. This is a concrete step forward to find systemic global solutions." 

 

 

“Democracy is under threat and the lack of trust or outright manipulation increasingly has an information component, explains Marietje Schaake, also co-chair of the steering committee. Governance of our digital world must be wrestled back from private companies and authoritarian states alike if democracy is to survive. Democratic leaders must take their responsibility to preserve democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms now.”

 

 


The twelve main recommendations of the working group

Public regulation is needed to impose transparency requirements on online service providers.

  1. Transparency requirements should relate to all platforms’ core functions in the public information ecosystem: content moderation, content ranking, content targeting, and social influence building. 
  2. Regulators in charge of enforcing transparency requirements should have strong democratic oversight and audit processes.
  3. Sanctions for non-compliance could include large fines, mandatory publicity in the form of banners, liability of the CEO, and administrative sanctions such as closing access to a country’s market.

A new model of meta-regulation with regards to content moderation is required.

  1. Platforms should follow a set of Human Rights Principles for Content Moderation based on international human rights law: legality, necessity and proportionality, legitimacy, equality and non discrimination.
  2. Platforms should assume the same kinds of obligation in terms of pluralism that broadcasters have in the different jurisdictions where they operate. An example would be the voluntary fairness doctrine.
  3. Platforms should expand the number of moderators and spend a minimal percentage of their income to improve quality of content review, and particularly, in at-risk countries.

New approaches to the design of platforms have to be initiated.

  1. Safety and quality standards of digital architecture and software engineering should be enforced by a Digital Standards Enforcement Agency. The Forum on Information and Democracy could launch a feasibility study on how such an agency would operate.
  2. Conflicts of interests of platforms should be prohibited, in order to avoid the information and communication space being governed or influenced by commercial, political or any other interests.
  3. A co-regulatory framework for the promotion of public interest journalistic contents should be defined, based on self-regulatory standards such as the Journalism Trust Initiative; friction to slow down the spread of potentially harmful viral content should be added.

Safeguards should be established in closed messaging services when they enter into a public space logic.

  1. Measures that limit the virality of misleading content should be implemented through limitations of some functionalities; opt-in features to receive group messages, and measures to combat bulk messaging and automated behavior.
  2. Online service providers should be required to better inform users regarding the origin of the messages they receive, especially by labelling those which have been forwarded.
  3. Notification mechanisms of illegal content by users, and appeal mechanisms for users that were banned from services should be reinforced.

Members of the steering committee

  • Maria Ressa (co-chair) : Journalist, CEO of the investigation website Rappler in the Philippines. Time magazine Person of the Year in 2018. Member of the Commission on Information and Democracy.
  • Marietje Schaake (co-chair): Former member of the European Parliament (2009 – 2019). Currently international policy director of the Stanford Cyber Policy Center and president of the Cyber Peace Institute. 
  • Sinan Aral: David Austin Professor of Management, Marketing, IT and Data Science at MIT, Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE) and a founding partner at Manifest Capital. Author of forthcoming book The Hype Machine.
  • Julia Cagé: Author of bestselling books about democracy and media. Assistant Professor of Economics at Sciences Po and co-director of LIEPP “Evaluation of Democracy” Research Group. Specialized in development economics, political economy, and economic history.
  • Ronald Deibert: Professor of Political Science and Director of the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, University of Toronto. Co-founder and principal investigator of the OpenNet Initiative and Information Warfare Monitor projects.
  • Camille François: Chief Innovation Officer at Graphika, leads the company’s work to detect and mitigate disinformation and media manipulation. Previously the Principal Researcher at Jigsaw.
  • Roukaya Kasenally : CEO of the African Media Initiative. Associate Professor in Media and Political Systems at the University of Mauritius. Chair Board of the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa.
  • David Kaye: Former United Nations special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression. Clinical professor of law at the University of California, Irvine, School of Law.
  • Edison Lanza: Lawyer, former special rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Directed and founded several non-governmental organizations which defend the right to freedom of expression.
  • Roger McNamee: Author of Zucked: waking up the Facebook catastrophe and tech venture capitalist. Founding partner of Elevation Partners. Former investor in Facebook. 
  • Jun Murai: Distinguished Professor, Keio University. Co-Director, Keio University Cyber Civilization Research Center. Founder of the Japan University UNIX Network (JUNET) and the WIDE project. Known as the “father of the Internet in Japan”.
  • Peter Pomerantsev: Journalist, author and TV producer. Visiting Senior Fellow at the Institute of Global Affairs at the London School of Economics. Senior Fellow at the Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University.
  • Julie Posetti: Global Director of Research at the International Center for Journalists. Previously, Senior Research Fellow and lead of the Journalism Innovation Project at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. 
  • Anya Schiffrin: Former journalist, director of the Technology, Media, and Communications specialization at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and lecturer at the School of International and Public Affairs.
  • Vivian Schiller: Executive director of Aspen Digital program at the Aspen Institute. Former President and CEO of NPR and founding head of the Civil Foundation. Board member of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) USA. 
  • Wolfgang Schulz: Director of the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. Lecturer within the field of information and communication at the law faculty of the University of Hamburg. Member of the directorate of the Hans-Bredow Institut.
  • Christopher Wylie: Data scientist and the whistleblower who reported Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. Listed in TIME 100 Most Influential People in the World and Forbes’ 30 Under 30. Author of bestselling book Mindf*ck: inside Cambridge Analytica’s plot to break the world.

Contacts

General inquiry: Camille Grenier, Project Officer (cgrenier(a)rsf.org)

Press inquiry: Pauline Adès-Mével in charge of press relations (padesmevel(a)rsf.org-07 82 37 23 12)

Publié le 28.04.2022