Empowering Civil Society in Strengthening Media and Information Literacy –
Best practices and pathways for future action
This side event aims to illustrate how civil society organizations contribute to preventing or tackling disinformation and misinformation, both online and off-line, thus strengthening the resilience of societies, nationally and globally. It will feature speakers representing diverse organisations and viewpoints, from human rights defenders to journalists or online platforms, in a conversation about their respective roles in a rapidly changing political and technological landscape.
Participants from the civil society will share best practices from successful experiences and innovative solutions to foster media and information literacy while fully upholding fundamental rights.
PROGRAMModerator Ms. Melissa Fleming is Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications at the United Nations. Ms. Fleming previously served 10 years at the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) as its Head of Global Communications, and before that worked in senior communications roles for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. She is author of the book, A Hope More Powerful than the Sea, and host of the award-winning UN podcast, Awake at Night.
PANEL I: Journalists and citizens’ role in addressing disinformation and promoting reliable and accessible information online and offline
PANEL II: Case studies of cooperation between government and civil society organizations
As UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres underlines in his report “Our Common Agenda”, “now is the time to end the ‘infodemic’ plaguing our world by defending a common, empirically backed consensus around facts, science and knowledge.” Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the international community has deployed unprecedented efforts, including through the “Verified” campaign launched by the UN, to call out and respond to misinformation and disinformation, prompting best practices of multi-stakeholder cooperation both within and between countries.
On 21 March 2021, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted the Resolution proclaiming a Global Media and Information Literacy Week (A/75/L.68), from 24 to 31 October every year, which invites all Member States and civil society to raise awareness on disinformation and misinformation. It is also of paramount importance to tackle this scourge while upholding the freedoms of expression, information and thought, as well as the unrestricted access to accurate, scientific and verifiable information. Through this Resolution and beyond, we have called for enhanced collaboration among state institutions, non-state actors, media professionals, academia and youth, and encouraged initiatives in favour of lifelong education to acquire the necessary skills. Civil society organizations, together with the media and social media platforms, play an increasing role in this effort.