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tv   Inside Story  Al Jazeera  May 3, 2022 8:30pm-9:01pm AST

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will not obey the law, you get to appoint them where people are saying to know, i'm just so sick of it. and that's what we get into the mode on the doorstep. municipal council elections despite their obvious focus on local issues, can often be a useful indicator of where national politics a heading. so if opinion polls predicting major conservative losses are correct, especially across these former red wool areas. well, that could be a sign that the blue defense may not hold when the next national election comes around, which is why these elections could spell trouble for boris johnson. here on a visit to barry last week, a bad set of results could be the trigger for a vote of confidence in the prime minister. he's already facing the possibility of more police fines for those lockdown rule breaking parties and an inquiry into whether he lied about them to parliament. jonah hall al jazeera barry. ah,
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hello, what you know to 0? these are the top stories this allen view as chief justice has confirmed the old implicity of a late to document about plans to overturn abortion rights. justice john robert says the lake is now being investigated. documents suggests the u. s. talk court will scrap roe v wade. the us president has urged congress to pass legislation protecting abortion rights. oh, if this decision whole is really quite a radical decision. it basically says, all the decision, your private blood will you know whether or not you decide to see the child or not, whether not, i'm on the voice range of other decision whether or not how you raise your child. what is your school in florida? they can decide they're going to pass a law in that marriage is not visible against the law in florida. so there's
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a whole one know sure. in american group, women children and the elderly who were allowed to leave the besiege, still works in mary. a poll on sunday have finally made it to the relative safety, $101.00 arrive dean, the ukrainian controlled city of zap risha. a 200 others remain trapped in the still complex. britton's prime minister has received a standing ovation from ukrainian members of parliament after telling them that the war with russia will be one bars. johnson also played to further $375000000.00 in military aid. he's the 1st world leader to video link with parliamentarians there since the war began. those are the headlines i am emily anglin. the niece continues here on al jazeera, after inside story, to stay with us. ah,
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media, under attack journalists face increasing threats in the field and online from this information and censorship, to what can be done to protect the free flow of news and information. this is inside story. ah hello and welcome to the program. i'm hammer jim's room. the internet is a place for the free flow of information, as well as attempts to control and suppress it. this years you in world press
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freedom day is highlighting threats to the media, especially online rushes war on ukraine is a major example. the committee to protect journalists says at least 7 media workers have died in the field since the invasion began in february. the media has become the battle ground for competing narratives on the conflict. britain's government has accused russia of running a so called troll factory and st. petersburg to spread this information and lies on the internet. and the u. n. says online attacks on journalists and information are eroding public trust. this year's world press freedom indexed by the n g o reporters without borders issued warnings on how propaganda and unregulated social media are fueling divisions within and between countries. examples include russia's propaganda campaigns before its invasion of ukraine. the united states, france, and poland. the report says are facing some of the worst media polarization due to misinformation and opinion driven media. the civil society organization, forum of information and democracy,
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wants countries to adopt legal frameworks and systems to protect information online . the european union has proposed laws to limit lawsuits designed to silence journalists and human rights advocates. they would give courts more power to dismiss cases if they're found to be abusive or unjustified. the, you criticize some governments and businesses for using defamation proceedings as a form of harassment. the role of generalists and it dos that keep follow in check is tremendous. the package that we propose today, a directive and recommendation to members states will ensure that they can exercise this role in some, not all member states. defamation is still a criminal offense that carries at prison sentence. member states are there full, encouraged to abolish prison sentences for defamation cases. they should favor the use of administrative or civil law instead of criminal law for such cases.
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all right, let's go ahead and bring in our guests. rebecca vincent is director of operations and campaigns at reporters without borders. she joins us from london. joining us from vanessia and ukraine is romeo cookery etzky. he's managing editor at the new voice of ukraine. also, joining us from london is tim squirrel. he has had a communications and editorial at the institute for strategic dialogue, a very warm welcome to you all and thanks so much for joining us today on inside story. rebecca. let me start with you today. where does the state of press freedom worldwide stand right now? unfortunately, we've reached another real press freedom day where the state of press freedom around the world has gotten worse. this year, a record total of $28.00 countries have dipped into our worst category of the index indicating that there are countries situation for press. freedom is very bad. we've
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highlighted a number of times in the analysis that comes out with our index. but the overarching theme of this year really being that we've entered a new era, a polarization. and so we've looked at how polarization, both within countries and between countries has impacted the state of media, freedom around the world. and the impact has indeed been significant. romeo just how difficult and dangerous are things right now for ukrainian journalists. and also how tough is it to counter disinformation and propaganda and to make sure that accurate reporting is getting out? it's not. i would say that over the past few years, ukrainians have become masters of countering rush and information of the escalation of propaganda during the war is to be expected. but i think that ukrainians have we have developed media because we are that is very resistant to russian. this
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information. and i think now finally, we've been able to start export that kind of resistance because we're to the rest of the world. because russian does information is i think, as everyone here knows, incredibly pernicious and has basically infiltrated nearly every aspect of, of the modern narratives that we have. last for the dangers of reporting. i mean, it is a wars them. a lot of cities are, however, safe reporting from levine does not merely carry the same risks as reporting from occupied here. so for example, and for those. busy who are living in on you by territory? i mean, they are incredibly brave and i am incredibly grateful for the work they're doing. um, but as these areas stay under occupation for longer i, it will only grow more and more dangerous for the journalists. i'm working in
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russian occupied areas, of course, for journals that go and visit the front lines. but generally, i would say most journalists are in relatively safe cities. and we for now, have about the same level security we did before the war barring the occasional missiles, right? tim, you heard romeo, there are talk about the pernicious effects of russian propaganda and dis, information i, i saw you nodding along so i want to get your reaction. but also i want to talk to you about the fact that the british government is now saying that russian internet trolls based in st. petersburg are targeting world leaders online. that, that there's spreading support for hooton's invasion of ukraine. you know, initially many had considered that russia was losing the information where when it came to propaganda about ukraine, is that changing at this point? say there's a few things to tease out here. i don't necessary show the same kind of optimism
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around the resilience of the informations fair outside of ukraine. we've suddenly seen concerts, attendance from pro kremlin forces to push their narratives elsewhere on social media in mainstream media, embarrass other spaces. so for example, in the aftermath of the church trustees, when they came out, i sd to study, looked at the $200.00 posts, which are most shad across facebook in 20 different countries and found that while a minority of about $55.00 would be using the kind of true account of what happened in which they were more shad than the other $145.00 combined. and so there's still quite a lot that social media platforms and tech companies need to do to try to clean up the information ecosystem and make it more resilient to and the kinds of narratives and propaganda the coming out of the kremlin. in terms of your 2nd question around whether with whether we or the west are winning the information was, i think it's a complex picture. so obviously around the beginning of the war, he had a lot of people say to landscape particulars doing strange well and ukraine. more
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broadly was taken as quite a western oriented view and if you look at some of the studies coming out via do you know why you can see that the real inroads being made a lot of non anglo communities by the kremlin. so for example, an r t and arabic is doing extremely well. if you look in a number of other countries, you can see that across the social media landscape as well. so while it may be the case, then the western, they're doing reasonably well. rusher is attempting to push it. ready narratives and when the information more a number of different fronts and we can't afford to the golf down the road. let me also ask you about about what the british government is saying, because they've also alerted international partners that they're going to work closely with allies and media platforms in order to undermine russian information operations from your perspective. what are the steps that need to be taken in order
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to counter this and what can be done to protect the free flow of news and information? i think one of the biggest tools, ah, that's the kind of liberal democratic world has to counter this. doesn't mean specifically on social media is the fact that social media companies are based in little democracy are they are accepting, of course, for the child. so chinese social media companies, they're mostly based out of silicon valley or somewhere else in the united states. and that means that they must respond to regulatory pressure. they must respond to policy makers. they must respond to legislation. and the greatest tool that we have in order to really ensure that the social media companies clean up their act, that they stop giving a platform on to obvious conspiracy mongers. obvious paddlers of this information is to mandate them in some way. am i not a policy expert?
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i don't think that my word is gospel, but there must be a real conversation about a legislative approach or regulatory framework that can be applied to the social media platforms. that will somehow cause constrain the operation, especially of bots, because a lot of the system ration is not being shared organically. it is 1st boosted to an insane degree on by bart networks. and then once that initial engagement had been registered by the algorithms, only then is, does it begin to get traction organically and spread from there? so there has to be something to constrain the activity of these parts. often these are networks on, as we know in russia, these are networks funded and operated by state actors. i am taking anything less than a regulatory or legislative approach to that problem is not going to fix it. you can't rely on the attack companies themselves. the social media platforms
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themselves to self regulate because of 1st their incentives are not there to do so . and secondly, they are not state actors and they don't really have the resources necessary to counter a state working on a different disinformation on direction, on their own. rebecca, we were speaking before about the 2022 edition of the reporters of that borders world. press freedom index. and one of the issues that that highlights is what it caused the disastrous effect of news and information. chaos. i want to ask you, what is the impact of a globalized and unregulated online information space that encourages fake news and propaganda and, and how bad is it all getting? well, that again is one of the major themes that we highlighted in the index is the impact of all of this on the state of press freedom around the world. so when we talk about polarization, we mean exactly that the sort of the impacts of disorder, dis, information proliferating on social media,
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but also outright propaganda. and that's not just a matter of internet trolling that can be actually done on official media channels . and so, um this year we have seen that within countries including our own democracy. so i know we're, we're mostly talking about rush at the moment, but it's worth noting that part of the trend is even within our democracies, the proliferation of opinion media, the sort of fox news, if occasion of media is also contributing to this chaos. and then of course, the propaganda wars of authoritarian states including russia against democracies. it's all creating a lot of tension when it comes to, to global crass freedom. so it's worth noting that of course, while the ukraine of conflict was preceded by an information war, this is not a new phenomenon. this has been building for years when it comes to russia, and it's not only russia we've pointed to for a number of years to concerned with china. for example, on report. is that what is published? a landmark report just in december, really examining the, the spread of china's model of information control, which china is now trying to proliferate throughout the region. and in fact,
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internationally as well it's, it's not just a rush, a problem. it's broader than we think of reporters. it's on board, as we do think that there needs to be greater responsibility of the platforms. what that looks like, and it has to be done in a way that protects press freedom and freedom of information at the core. we've engaged in advocacy around the european dsa, for example, which we think currently looks like a good model of how this could be accomplished. here in london, i'm watching carefully what the u. k. government is doing with the the online safety bill. we've got a few concerns, i have to say, but it's clear that the space does meet some regulation. so tim, you heard a, rebecca there talk about the fact that the, these online spaces are from her vantage point. you need more regulation. i also heard romeo a talk about that there should be frameworks put in place to help a safeguard information that's out there. i want to ask you, you know, there's growing calls for countries to adopt legal frameworks and systems to protect information online to, to counter dis, information. of course, one example,
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rebecca mentioned that the dia say a with the you. but, but do you think that we're going to see more of this? is this trend going to continue? are there countries out there that are going to be setting up systems or passing legislation in order to do this? well, it's absolutely necessary if the kinds of regulatory frameworks be introduced. and i just want to give a quick word about what they need to look like, as well as the fact they need to exist. because up until now, we've both relied upon platforms to moderate themselves and also taking a really piecemeal approach to content moderation, which looks at specific pieces of content or types of content and tries to remove them, rather than examining the underlying business. most of the companies, rather than looking at how their own models and how that and algorithms can encourage the kinds of problems that we're seeing. so what we really need is a systemic approach, which allows us, for example, as researchers to access data to encourage rigorous levels of transparency. so we
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can see just how big the problems are and how they are functioning. because all this data shouldn't be in house at 10 company should be available for scrutiny by those who are qualified to look at that. and so we need to make sure that these regulatory framework enshrined in law. and i really do hope, in addition to the d. s a in addition to my safety belt, that other countries with crowds and with large numbers of users in them stops with don't base because the power they have is directly proportional to how much of the market of a tech company is regulated. so the, the dsa in europe means much more comp me on my thank you. k. if the us wanted to introduce similar kinds of legislation that would have much more power still, partly because of these companies being based primarily in silicon valley. and then i guess if i may a word about texas, which is a bit of a problem because of the fact that it is chinese iron, it doesn't have the same kind of regulation or accessibility as nearly any other
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platform. it's the most opaque. you basically have to do any kind of research on manually. we have no conception of the scale. the problem that but the manual qualitative research we have done shows that there are huge amounts of propaganda being pumped on to the platform from stay active, non stance. the like margarita simonian, the editor of russia today, all t has extremely pull your account on that, even with all t and sputnik being bans. and it's important to know that base platform in particular, has become a massive new vector dis information. and we really need to do something about romeo. it looked to me like you were reacting to some of what tim was saying, did you want to jump in? no, i just wanted to mention that. yes. as tim said, i think taking this individualized approach to crating regulatory remarks for these are social media platforms. i mean twitter and facebook don't work like to fame, tick tock and instagram. don't work like any. there is no one size fits all framework
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. you can place on all these platforms and say, well, the problem solved, you do have to approach them individually based on how the platform operates. so i think this is incredibly important inside your number when we consider kind of what the, the future of the joint negation is going to look like. now that we have mature enough to, to encounter these massive, massive information belts. rebecca, so in april the european commission announced that it wants to see the e, we're down to law to protect journalists and civil rights activists from lawsuits aimed at censoring them. but in order to take effect, this proposal is going to need approval from you member countries and from lawmakers in the european parliament. first and foremost, do you think that this is going to happen? and secondly, how significant would it be if it does? it has to scrutinize the, the billing question by, in principle of course, there is a need for greater protections in particular for journalists online. and it,
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i don't know if that particular bill is focus just on the sort of disinformation side of it, possibly my expense to, for example, a covering slap strategic lawsuit against public participation. because i know there's been a lot of advocacy towards securing protections against slaps, particularly that target journalists at the level um from, from my perspective, that would be a positive thing. but again, we have to see what is tables and, and, and to assess indeed what support it has. and if that might then be possible not only at the european level, but possibly replicable osler. rebecca, i also want to ask you from your vantage point, how much better equipped are, are fact checking organizations. now, a dealing with disinformation, whether it's surrounding the worn ukraine, whether it's surrounding the pandemic. other propaganda efforts is just how much better have fact checkers online gotten at countering propaganda. this information well from reporters about border said, we have actually focused on fact checking initiatives because our crust read
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amended means we focus on journalism. and frankly, if something has not been fact, it is not professional journalism. we have worked in states to develop that journalism trust initiative, which is essentially a white listing exercise. we've developed a standard initially at the european level, but which we're now working to roll out more globally. that looks to sort of encouraged and incentive fi incentivized. journalism that has gone through a rigorous chat to show that it is about professional ethical standards of journalism. so we feel strongly that it shouldn't be about the content, but about the process, because then you address the content issues that arise. but if you only address content as act checking initiatives, do that his own li, addressing the symptom and the disease. it's him, the un has said that the online attacks on journalists and information are eroding trust from your vantage point. how bad are things getting? i think those extremely important tonight, because fact checking is one thing and so is stopping frivolous all over the citrus
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lawsuits. but we have to address the records of this, which is least to some degree that trust in journalism trust in democratic institutions. trust in electoral processes is really being eroded on systematic level by a variety of axes. and the demand side of disinformation isn't being addressed. so it's not just the people are being supplied or a range of different narratives. my range of different access is also they are looking for that kind of information because in many ways a lot of things in the world feel like they're getting was he will feel like they can't trust or thursday forties. and so consequently, they end up going, looking for things which make totalizing conclusions about well, which see in black and white terms, which often appeal to conspiracy theories. because those give them more satisfying explanation. but many of the things, many, the real mechanisms which underpin the way the world works and sit ups deeply
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problematic. and we know that many of regimes and also many governments are in and political parties in states are engaging in these sorts of campaigns to undermine trusts. we saw it during the trump years in the us. we see it with russia right now . we see it with, for example, north african regime or train regime. we see it in eastern europe. it was hungry. oh, central problem. and that's problematic. so i think we are really quite dia, state right now with respect to be mount trust replacing journalists and the amount of attacks that happen in the online space, as well as offline, as well as the prosecutions and not the kinds of lawsuits romeo do you think we're at a moment where we'll see dr by more members of the international community to actually strengthen protections for journalists and for journalism. unfortunately, i can't really say that i'm optimistic in this sense. there has been a consistent trend over the past few years. in basically the opposite
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direction. there has been a huge move in which i is based around the kind of concept of free speech, or at least that's the rhetoric that they use and use of our some of this with a billionaire. you must. i said he was going to buy twitter and bring free speech, but that rhetoric actually serves too obscure. i the actual practical effects of what these so hold free speech policies will bring, which would be an end to moderation or incredibly hands off moderation, which in turn will only i intensify. attacks and dental by dog piling in terms of i smears and further road trust in any kind of institution including journalistic ones. so unless governments really take a long term and are kind of layered on you want to look at situation instead
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of simply bowing to the rhetoric, oh, we need more free speech. we need less regulation. they're controlling your speech unless that kind of rhetoric is ignored and the question is probe further by policy makers are then i don't see that situation improving, especially when it has on such get a wide support from a very influential individuals in the box. rebecca, how much have surveillance and hacking compromise journalists of late and not just journalists, but also their sources and, and whistle blowers. how much dangerous has, how much more dangerous has gotten for them all? it is certainly increased. i think tensions it sometimes can lead to self center censorship if, if somebody feels very ill at ease and investigating, for example, certain risky topics or individuals. it's also worth mentioning, the impact immediately the,
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all of this house on the safety of journalists in parallel to trolling this active sort of abuse and rats. and these, you know, vast highlands that can happen very easily towards journalists. and in particular, are often disproportionately targeting women journalists, too often now can translate into real life manifestation of such threats and sometimes buying the acts. and so in our broader work, in a, in the sort of more classic areas of press freedoms, the safety of journalists, is also having a massive impact as well. it's all part of the evolving nature of threats to journalism. and certainly states are not doing enough, at least in a concrete way beyond just statements. we need to see more action, including by our democracies to ensure that their own house is in order with the domestic frustrating. i'm and that includes ensuring that the online space is a safe and enabling environment for journalists to be able to do their jobs. all right, well we have run out of time, so we're going to have to leave the conversation there today. thanks so much to all of our guests. rebecca vincent, romeo cookery out ski and tim squirrel and thank you to for watching. you can see
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the program again any time by visiting our website or dot com. and for further discussion, go to our facebook page. that's facebook dot com, forward slash ha inside stuart. you can also during the conversation on twitter, our handle is at a j inside story. i mean, how much improvement holding your doha, i for now. ah, journalism is under siege in the digital age surveillance threatens to stifle
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price realism, online violence and dangers, the safety of journalists, the spread of disinformation, corrupt public trust in the media. truth becomes a casualty. journalism on the digital siege will press freedom day 3rd of may, 2022, a conflict between india and pakistan. a prestige kept mounted. one in one east. the kashmiris pioneering a new scheme industry. on the slopes on al jazeera, how social of social media platforms, if many young uses feel isolated, anxious, and depressed. currently, there is a grand national experiment that is taking place upon our kids. why take companies
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not sufficiently regulated? they don't want people to know what's happening on their platform, and when will society catch up, turn people that i knew in high school that may suicide full lines investigates, a toxic feed, social media and teen mental health on al jazeera. ah, this is al jazeera ah, hello, i'm emily. ang, when this is the news, our live from doha. coming up in the next 60 minutes. the u. s. supreme court launches an investigation that's after a late to document reveal justices are considering scrapping. a landmark abortion more women children and the elderly arrive in the ukrainian controlled, severe as apparition after spending almost summer.


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