Nobel Peace Laureates Call for Action Against Online Disinformation | Digital media
A group of Nobel Peace Prize laureates have called on governments to adopt a technology action plan to tackle the “existential threat” to democracies posed by online disinformation, hate speech and abuse.
The 10-point manifesto was presented by 2021 Nobel laureates, campaign journalists Dmitry Muratov and Maria Ressa, in Oslo on Friday. He warns that the technology’s potential to advance societies has been undermined by the business models of dominant online platforms.
“We urge rights-respecting democracies to wake up to the existential threat posed by information ecosystems distorted by a Big Tech business model obsessed with collecting data and people’s attention, even as it undermines the serious journalism and polarizes debate in society and political life,” the plan states.
The proposals are endorsed by eight other peace prize winners, including Nadia Murad, who received the prize in 2018 for her efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, and Leymah Gbowee, the winner 2011 for leading the women’s peace movement. that ended the Liberian civil war.
The plan, presented at the conference on freedom of expression at the Nobel Peace Center in Norway, comes with three general demands: an end to the “for-profit surveillance” business model that harvests user data to maximizing engagement and underpins multi-billion dollar spend. by advertisers on social media companies; asking tech companies to treat all users the same around the world; and urging newsrooms and governments to support independent journalism.
In addition, “rights-respecting democratic governments” are urged to: require tech companies to conduct independent human rights impact assessments; introduce strong data protection laws; and funding and aiding independent media under attack around the world.
Six proposals for the European Union include: challenging the “extraordinary lobbying mechanism” of tech companies; and rigorously enforce historic laws on digital services and digital marketplaces, to ensure they stop the spread of disinformation via algorithms and change the business models of tech companies.
The latest proposal asks the UN to create a special envoy responsible for the safety of journalists.
Ressa, the managing director of Rappler, a Filipino news site, and Muratov, the editor of Novaya Gazeta, an independent Russian newspaper, were jointly awarded the Peace Prize last year for their “courageous fight for freedom of expression, a prerequisite for democracy and lasting peace”.