Round table “Fake news and validation of information in social networks”
On March 12th, the round table “Fake news and validation of information in social networks” was held in Kyiv, Ukraine to present findings of the COMPACT project on approaches and practices of counterfeiting and regulation of social media in EU countries in the context of convergence. To present experience and tools of Ukrainian organizations in these areas, to discuss, in an open discussion format, the key proposals of the new draft law on regulation of online media and social networks in Ukraine, as well as the possibility of cooperation with the EU in this area in the context of European integration processes and existing EU grant programs.
The main topics of the speeches and discussions:
- Fakes and opposition to propaganda
- Misinformation – the main types and tools of fight
- Freedom of expression, free access to networks and changing the rules of online platforms
- What are the key trends in approaches to regulating online media and social networks
- Case law tackling information disorder
- The extent of the responsibility for disseminating misinformation and disinformation
- The development of media literacy and the role of education and civil society
- What are the prospects for the development of online media and social networks
- Ukraine – as a testing ground for hybrid information warfare tools
54 representatives of policy makers, media, NGOs, universities and research organizations have registered for the roundtable. 28 participants participated onsite, 4 participants participated online with their presentations and around 16 online viewers were watching live broadcasting.
The video of the event is available at: https://youtu.be/fwzGq92LgEY.
The materials (Presentations etc.) are available at: https://aei.org.ua/2630.
The agenda was divided into two parts:
- Part I: 10:00 – 13:00 (Working Language English) Presentation of the main results of COMPACT project and experience of leading Ukrainian organizations
- Part 2: 14:00 – 16:30 (Working Language Ukrainian, English). Discussion panel on how to take into account COMPACT materials in the formulation of a regulatory policy in the field of media in Ukraine, and how Ukraine will fulfil its obligations in the field of media within the framework of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement and what could be the next prospects for the development of cooperation with the EU.
Two members of parliament (member of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine) – Mykola Kniazhytsky and Mykyta Poturaiev participated in the event which made the discussion interesting as they are in the process of new bill in media regulation including internet and social media, issues of disinformation and many more.
Mr. Poturaiev expressed his hope that the analytical materials of the COMPACT project would help to find answers to these questions. The Committee of Verkhovna Rada is working with experts from different EU countries to confirm that there are many disinformation issues in EU countries where there are many opposing views on this topic, especially the reservations against restrictions on free speech.
Dr. Lukasz Porwol, Dr. Andrej Skolkay and Dr. Evangelia Psychogiopoulou presented the findings of the COMPACT project. COMPACT findings are available at the link: https://aei.org.ua/2630/. and on the project website: http://compact-media.eu/.
The participants of the event emphasized the great role of supporting media literacy and teaching media culture, especially among young people. In this regard, there are high expectations for the inclusion of these topics in secondary and high school educational programs. Collaboration with think tanks, NGOs and other stakeholders is also needed.
Participants confirmed that media legislation in Ukraine is already outdated and takes very little account of media convergence processes. Therefore, legislative changes are necessary. This requires taking into account COMPACT materials in the formulation of a regulatory policy in the media field in Ukraine and how Ukraine will fulfill its obligations in the media field within the framework of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement and what could be the next prospects for the development of cooperation with the EU.
Expected changes in the regulation of online and social media in Ukraine.
During the last three months discussions with media representatives and experts from different environments, legislators, in the person of representatives of the Chairman of the Committee on Humanitarian and Information Policy of the Verkhovna Rada (O. Tkachenko and M. Poturaev), expressed their readiness to take into account the peculiarities of regulation of online media and to make certain changes in the bill «On media» described below.
The Committee notes that online dissemination is gaining more and more coverage every year and becoming a major source of information for most people. Therefore, Ukraine needs to respond to the challenges that exist in this area. Rules and regulations for online media and social media, including, must be established. The Committee’s Working Group has made changes to the first edition of the bill «On media», which greatly simplify the regulation of online media. Their activities will be regulated to a minimum, with voluntary registration. That is, those who do not want to receive media status will continue to work easy as before.
They also opted out of mandatory registration for platforms such as Netflix and social networks. With respect to the latter, emphasis will be put on developing common policies for the national regulator and network owners / administrations. However, for now social networks will not have special regulation.
The only thing that online media equates to “traditional” media is to comply with the content requirements set by the media law and the regulatory body.
The new version of the bill will provide a motivational component for registering and gaining official media online status.
After all, having such an official status of the media, they will have the opportunity to participate in the joint regulatory body, full protection of the professional activity of journalists and operators, which is provided by the criminal code, the possibility of accreditation in the authorities and access to open events of the authorities, to participate in tenders for coverage activities of authorities and local self-government, etc.
Also, having a media status, a journalist will be able to much easier defend in court against claims of honor and dignity, non-pecuniary damage, and criminal cases when journalists attempt to interrogate as witnesses or harass privacy.
With regard to other aspects of regulating online and social media, the VR Committee Working Group has decided not to introduce broader regulation but to take into account European trends, as new legislation is being developed in Europe right now. That is why there is great interest in the results and the recommendation of the