Is democracy in danger in the age of information technologies?
The World Forum for Democracy will take place for the eighth time in the Palace of Europe in the city of Strasbourg, France on November 6- November 8. The winners of this year DYTIATKO Media Festival, who paid attention to the vast range of questions of the field of local self-government, went there to follow the course of events. For the record, for the eighth time as well, because the Council of Europe has been a partner of the media festival and has been awarding trips to the headquarter of the Council of Europe to the winners of the special nomination “We are local self-government!” since 2012.
Sergii Chernov, President of the DYTIATKO International Children’s Media Festival, Chairman of Kharkiv Regional Council, upon an initiative of which a special nomination was established, thinks that attention to the question of development of local self-government from school age will help bring up people ready to undertake responsibility and be architects of their future.
“The fact of the matter is that the nomination “We are local self-government!” allows executing far-flung, even complex task. The children studios, preparing the video about governance of their communities, initially find out what it is. It means they learn. They gain confidence in their power and aspire to new horizons by winning and traveling to Strasbourg. By talking to the top officials of the Congress of the Council of Europe, European Court of Human Rights, European Youth Center, the winners of the festival adopt really efficient and approved practices of democratic manner.
In my opinion, the most conspicuous example is this one: Having returned from the trip to Strasbourg, one of the studios in Kharkiv region made a video for the competition again. They won the second time. It couldn’t have happened any other way. The children organized everything themselves, planted flowers in the park, took care of the territory, painted benches, made the center of their locality exactly as they wanted. This is true governance to me. I am glad that the DYTIATKO Festival and participation in the World Forum for Democracy became the boost,” Sergii Chernov said.
The World Forum for Democracy goes back to 2012. Back then it started with a quite broad paradigm “Bridge construction: Democracy between old models and new realities.” The next forum identified the priority of “Restarting democracy: Establishing communication between institutions and citizens in the digital age”. Subsequent forums sought the answer to the question of whether youth can activate democracy, what freedom against control can be; how education and democracy help overcome social differences; whether populism is a problem.
This year forum will study whether democracy is in danger in the information era. In three days, politicians, cultural public figures, experts and activists are planning to discuss reliability of information, how it helps or hinders citizens, which take part in democratic processes, as well as what lessons society has to learn to ensure free distribution of information in the future.
The Forum will consist of three plenary session directions: democracy dies in the dark: do we get the necessary information; renewal of confidence in the news; information and technology: friends of foes.
Ten laboratories and seventeen forum discussions will be focused on the nuances of an artificial intellect and information, rebuilding confidence in institutions, disinformation and fake news, voting under influence, forming resistance to disinformation, gender equality in mass media, information, freedom integrity and accountability of social media, facts checking, the search for truth in the world of “post-truth”, freedom of speech and accountability of social media.
Apart from working at the forum, the winners of the DYTIATKO Media Festival – Kharkiv Studio “Novyi Kadr”, Chuhuiv Studio “ObovsemKa” and “School of Young Journalists” from Zhytomyr will talk to the representatives of the key institutions of the Council of Europe. After all, they surely know how a democratic society should react in order to counter the information threats of the present.