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Media Independence and Countering Violent Extremism: BBC Media Action and GFMD @ UNESCO World Press Freedom Day

27 April 2017
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GFMD and BBC Media Action will be co-hosting a talk on Media Independence and Countering Violent Extremism at UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day in Jakarta. The panel participants include GFMD steering committee members Diana Senghor, PANOS Institute (West Africa), Kateryna Myasnikova, Independent Association of Broadcasters (Ukraine), GFMD Chairman Ricardo Corredor, FNPI (Colombia) as well as Jake Lucci from Google. The session will be moderated by James Deane, Director of Policy and Programmes at BBC Media Action and GFMD Steering Committee member.

The panel will discuss the ramifications of enlisting media organisations in the development of counter-narratives to violent extremism, including the risk of compromising their independence, credibility, and influence by being complicit in such a role.

Free and independent media can act as a lighthouse in the storm of aggressive and chaotic narratives and counter-narratives by providing a solid and reliable benchmark for news and discussions, both offline and online. Different approaches exist throughout the media landscape to counter violent extremism, which are dependent on the medium itself as well as its core audience. However, these strategies are not without their consequences: they can have an impact on the independence of reporting and media freedom, as they proactively guide narratives. In addition, the effectiveness of these strategies are yet to be ascertained.

Professional and critical media can provide a sense of reason and calm in the face of fear-mongering by various sides. These issues are covered in the new UNESCO publications “Terrorism and the Media: A Handbook for Journalists” and “Social Media and the Radicalization of Youth in the Digital Age”, which will be launched during the session.

The session will take place in Jakarta on 3 May 2017 from 16:15-17:45 in Merak I. More information on the WPFD programme can be found here.