(2 September 2022) EPSU and a large number of organisations have endorsed a 10-point plan to tackle media disinformation and address the information crisis. The plan builds on the ‘People’s Declaration' from 2021 and which was supported by EPSU.
Presented at the Nobel Peace Center's conference on 2 September and supported by Nobel laureates Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov(*), the plan seeks to tackle problems caused by Big Tech companies pervasive undermining of truth, democracy and freedom.
The plan sets out 10 key demands, including
- A requirement for tech companies to carry out independent human rights impact assessments that must be made public as well as demand transparency on all aspects of their business – from content moderation to algorithm impacts to data processing to integrity policies.
- The ambitious enforcement of the Digital Services and Digital Markets Acts so these laws amount to more than just ‘new paperwork’ for the companies and instead force them to make changes to their business model, such as ending algorithmic amplification that threatens fundamental rights and spreads disinformation and hate, including in cases where the risks originate outside EU borders.
- New legislation to ban surveillance advertising, recognizing this practice is fundamentally incompatible with human rights.
- Restrictions on the extraordinary lobbying machinery of tech companies, an end to astroturfing(**) campaigns, and a ban on recruitment involving ‘revolving doors’ between big tech companies and European governments and institutions.
The plan underlines the need for technology to be built in service of humanity and for global public space protects human rights above profits. Today, the huge potential of technology to advance our societies has been undermined by the business model and design of the dominant online platforms. The plan reminds everyone that true human progress comes from harnessing technology to advance rights and freedoms for all, not sacrificing them for the wealth and power of a few.
(*) Journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov. Were awarded the prize in 2021 for their courageous fight for freedom of expression in the Philippines and in Russia.
(**) Astroturfing is the deceptive practice of presenting an orchestrated marketing or public relations campaign in the guise of unsolicited comments from members of the public.