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tv   Inside Story  Al Jazeera  May 4, 2022 10:30am-11:01am AST

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cedar pulled galactic or to white. now dozens of shells embedded in a pavement outside a shopping center in thailand have been found to be fossils of an extinct marine creature. paleontologist fe, the snail shaped specimens in bangkok or a type of mollusk which died out more than 66000000 years ago. go into local media . the fossils may have been inserted as decorations by contractors during recent repairs. ah, no, without his era, these are all top stories. the leader of the european union has proposed a complete ban on all russian oil imports by the end of this year. as lavonne delay and announce more sanctions targeting russian banks and a high ranking officers suspected of committing a war crimes. we will make sure that we phase out russian oil in an orderly fashion . so in
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a way that allows us and our partners to secure alternative supply routes and at the same time, be very careful that we minimize the impact on the global market. with all these steps, we are depriving the russian economy from its ability to diversify and to modernize 14 wanted to wipe out ukraine from the map. and he will clearly not succeed. ukrainian officials and the un hope they can keep bringing more civilians out of a bond out steel mill in the port city of mario po. some civilians and scores of ukrainian fighters are still hold up in the plant, which is surrounded by russian forces on tuesday more than a 150 people. most of them women, children, and the elderly, were evacuated and taken to a ukrainian controlled city, south korea and japan say north korea has fired a ballistic missile over its east coast towards the sea and say it was launched from the soonest area. it would be north to his 14th known weapons test this year
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from so has robbed mcbride, the south korean military confirming that so this was a ballistic missile, but where they relatively a short flight path. certainly compared with a more recent missile launches, they say that it reached a total altitude of 780 kilometers and flu, a total distance of nearly 500 kilometers east landing in this sea that separates japan and the korean peninsula. now, south korea has a strong be condemned. this launched, a japanese prime minister has said that it's totally unacceptable pro and anti abortion protesters rallied across the us after an unprecedented leak of a draft opinion from the supreme court. it suggests women's right to abortion in america could be reversed, right? was guaranteed nationally almost 50 years ago. and the supreme court roe vs wade ruling up to date with this. ours headlines. more news. how now to sarah, of the inside story,
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say with us teaching now you can watch to see when english streaming light on itc channels plus thousands of our programs. award winning documentaries and death news reports. subscribe t u t v dot com, forward slash al jazeera english 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 stored ah hello and welcome to the program. i'm how much of jerome the internet is a place for the free flow of information,
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as well as attempts to control and suppress it. this years you in world press freedom day is highlighting threats to the media, especially online rushes war on ukraine is a major example. the committee to protect journalist 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 in 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,
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forum of information and democracy, once 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 will give courts more power to dismiss cases if they are found to be abusive or unjustified. the eel criticize some governments and businesses for using defamation proceedings as a form of harassment. the role of journalists and it dos that keep follow in check is tremendous. a package that we proposed today, a directive and recommendation to members face will ensure that they can exercise this role in some but not all member states. defamation is still a criminal offense that carries at prison sentence. member states are therefore encouraged to abolish prison sentences for defamation cases. they should
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favor the use of administrative or civil law instead of criminal law for such cases . 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 valencia and ukraine is romeo cookery etzky. he is managing editor at the new voice of ukraine. also, joining us from london is tim squirrel. he is head of 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 to day . 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
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indicating that their country situation for press freedom is very bad. we've 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
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we have developed media because we are that is very resistant to russian. this information. and i think now finally we've been able to start export a good that kind of resistant because we're to the rest of the world. because russian, this 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 on, for example, and for those who are living in on you by territory. and i mean, they are incredibly brave and i am incredibly grateful for the work that they're doing. um, but as these areas stay under occupation for longer i,
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it will only grow more and more dangerous for the journalists. i'm working in 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, talk about the pernicious effects of russian propaganda and disinformation 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 are 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? so there's
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a few things to tease out here. so i don't necessarily share the same kind of optimism of romeo around the resilience of the informations fair. outside the crane . we've suddenly seen the consensus tenants from pro kremlin forces to push the narratives elsewhere on social media in mainstream media and various other spaces. so for example, in the aftermath of the future atrocities, when they came out, i see the study looked at the 200 posts which were most shared across facebook in 20 different countries. and found that while a minority of about 55 were disputing the kind of true account of what happened in boucher they were more sad than the other 145 combined. and so the still quite a lot of the social media platforms and tech companies need to do to try to clean up the information ecosystem and make it more resilient to the kinds of narratives and propaganda the coming out of the kremlin in touch. your 2nd question around whether with whether we were the west of winning the information was, i think it's
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a complex picture. so obviously around the beginning of the we have a lot of people say. so lensky in particular is doing extremely well. and ukraine broadly was taken is quite a western oriented view. and if you look at some of the studies coming out of i s d and elsewhere, you can see that there are real inroads being made a lot of non anglo sphere communities by the kremlin. so for example, an r t, an arabic is doing extremely well. if you look in a number of other countries, you can see those across the social media landscape as well. so while it may be the case in the west, they're doing reasonably well. rusher is attempting to push it's. ready narratives and when the information for a number of different fronts, and we can't afford to that are gone down. romeo, 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
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operations from your perspective. what are the steps that need to be taken in order 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 liberal democracies on 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. muggers are obvious paddlers of this
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information is to mandate them in some way. am i not a policy expert? 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 has 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
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can't rely on the attack companies themselves. the social media platforms themselves to self regulate because our 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 our borders world press freedom index. and one of the issues that that highlights is what it calls 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 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. this information
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proliferating on social media, but also outright propaganda. and that's not just a matter of an 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, report a somewhat is published a landmark report just in december, really examining the,
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the spread of china's model of information control, which china is now trying to proliferate throughout the region. and in fact, 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 can 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
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protect information online to, to counter dis, information. of course, one example, 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. 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,
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as researchers to access data to encourage rigorous levels of transparency. so we 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 frameworks enshrined in law. and i really do hope in addition to the dsa, in addition to my safety belt, that other countries with crowds and with large numbers of users in them stopped with don't base because the talent they have it directly proportional to how much of the market of a tech company is regulated, so the, the d s a in europe means much more for me on my safety on the u. k. if you 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 picks up, which is a bit of a problem because of the fact that it is chinese iron. it doesn't have the same
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kind of regulation or accessibility as nearly any other platform. it's the most pe, 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,
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twitter and facebook don't work like to fail, tick tock and instagram don't work like any. there is no one size fits all framework. 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. and i think this is incredibly important insight to remember when we consider kind of what the, the future of different mitigation is going to look like. now that we have mature enough to, to encounter these massive, massive information roles. 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, but in principle, of course,
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there is a need for greater protections in particular for journalists online. and it, 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 her 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 had countering propaganda. this information
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well, from reporters without borders, that we have actually focused on fact checking initiatives because our crust read 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 the 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 encourage 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 he 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?
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i think that's extremely important to know, because fact checking is one thing and so is stopping frivolous all over loose hitches lawsuits. but we have to address the root cause of this, which is at 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 actors. and the demand side of this information isn't being addressed over so it's not just the people are being supplied. i've range of different narratives. my range of different boxes is also that 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 people feel like they can't trust or, or say ortiz. 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 explanations than many of the things,
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many of the real mechanisms which underpin the way the world works. and so that's deeply problematic, and we know that many regimes and also many governments saw in and political parties in states are engaging in these sorts of campaigns to undermine trust. we saw it during the trump p, as in the us, we see it with russia, right? now we see it with, for example, north african regimes like the train regime. we see it in eastern europe, it with hungary central real problem and that stupid, problematic. so i think we aren't really quite dias state right now with respect to the amount of trust we place in journalists and the amount of attacks that happen in the online space, as well as offline, as well as the prosecutions and the kinds of lawsuits. romeo, do you think we're at a moment where we'll see a drive 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
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a consistent trend over the past few years. and in basically the opposite direction. there has been a huge move in which i is based around the had a 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 on mosque. i said he was going to buy twitter and bring free speech, but that rhetoric actually serves to obscure i the actual practical effects of what these so whole 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 my dog biling in terms of i smears and further road trust in any kind of institution. good in general to once so unless governments really take
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a long term and i kind of layered on you want to look at situation instead of simply bowing to the rhetoric. oh, we need more free speech. we need less regulation. they're controlling your speech a less that kind of rhetoric is ignored and on the question is, prob, 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 policy. 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,
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certain risky topics or individuals. it's also worth mentioning, the impact immediately the, 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, often disproportionately targeting women journalists, too often now can translate into real life manifestation of such threats and sometimes by the acts. and so in our broader work, in a, in the sort of more classic areas of 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 climate. 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
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of our guests. rebecca vincent, romeo cookery out ski and tim squirrel. and thank you for watching. you can see the program again any time by visiting our website, algebra 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 of human holding here doha, i for know. ah, ne analysis era frontline reporting an in depth analysis. we bring you the latest on the ukraine war and unfolding humanitarian crisis documentary but inspire whitney springs world issues into focus through compelling human stories. the philippines votes in one of asia, biggest election over 35 years since the country emerged from his father's
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