“Information and Elections in the Digital Age:” Enroll in Knight Center’s Free Online Course in Four Languages
Countries around the world will see the elections in the next two years, and therefore they will also feel the impact of the digital revolution on information sharing and voting.
To prepare key stakeholders for the impact of new technologies on information and elections, the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas has partnered with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Culture (UNESCO) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to organize a free multilingual conference Online course.
“Information and Elections in the Digital Age” is a massive open online course (MOOC) that will be offered from September 19 to October 23, 2022 in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish. Register today!
UNESCO’s Section for Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists and UNDP worked with the Knight Center to implement this program.
Students will learn about free speech standards and be exposed to recent experiences on how to counter disinformation, misinformation, and hate speech that has spread during electoral processes.
Speakers will include: Alphonse ShiunduAfrica Check, Andrew Puddephatt, Internet Watch Foundation; Benoit LoutrelRegulatory Authority for Audiovisual and Digital Communication (ARCOM); Glen Mashini, Chairman of the Electoral Commission (IEC) of South Africa, Guilherme Canela, Head of Section, UNESCO, Patricia Campos Mellojournalist; Roselyn AkombeHead of Governance and Peacebuilding in Africa for UNDP; Lorenzo Cordova VianelloNational Electoral Institute (INE) Mexico; Sifile Vusumuzi, Panos South Africa, The Supervisory Elections Commission Lebanon and the UNDP regional program; Five UNDP practitioners and experts will present the contribution of the speakers: Dan Malinovic, focal point for elections; Niamh Hanafin, Senior Information Integrity Advisor, Osama Aljaber, Specialist in digital democracy, Sare Knoope and Ajay Patel respectively Program Manager and Conduct expert SELECT Project; Tatyana SilverElectoral Advisor.
“In today’s highly interconnected world, no election, election preparation, or post-election monitoring is immune to the influence of the digital age,” said Guilherme CanelaHead of the Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists Section at UNESCO.
“And that’s not necessarily a negative development. An expanding digital sphere has the potential to strengthen democracy – and freedom of expression, because everyone can publish and share information, ideas, knowledge, concerns, freely or at low cost, with a wide audience through the world,” Canela said. “However, it also harbors risks, such as the proliferation of disinformation, disinformation and hate speech that can serve to undermine and delegitimize the electoral process and democratic institutions as a whole.”
Sarah Lister, Governance Officer at UNDP adds: “Exchange of information is the cornerstone of elections. The open exchange of information and the space for debate and dialogue around competing ideas are fundamental to the democratic and electoral process. Thanks to digitization, the possibilities of seeking, receiving and disseminating political information are unprecedented. However, today’s information ecosystem does not allow for this critical exchange. The legitimacy of the democratic process can be tainted by unverified information, as well as manipulated and polluted by misinformation. This online course is designed to enhance the contribution of a wide range of stakeholders to exploit the new opportunities of digital technologies, while remaining vigilant against emerging threats and contributing to an information ecosystem conducive to inclusive elections, transparent and credible based on democratic dialogue.
The course will consist of five weekly modules:
- Module 1 covers it new information paradigm and electionsincluding how the internet, social media and artificial intelligence (AI) affect electoral processes
- Unit 2 looked disinformation, misinformation, malinformation and hate speechas well as election-related violence, election-related gender-based violence and violence against journalists
- Unit 3 review the impact of misinformation disinformation, misinformation and hate speech in the electoral cycle and answers to cope their,
- Module 4 examined preventive measures to address harmful online practices during elections and regulatory measures
- Unit 5 deepens corrective action through identification, fact-checking and monitoring;
Albertina Piterbarg, electoral expert and journalist working in the Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists section of UNESCO, is the main facilitator of this course. For more than 20 years, Piterbarg has worked in the areas of communications, elections and women’s political participation in the Organization of American States (OAS), United Nations peacekeeping operations, UNDP, UN Women and, more recently, UNESCO. She participated in missions in Niger, Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Libya, East Timor, New Caledonia, Mexico, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Dominican Republic and Venezuela, between others.
Piterbarg will be joined by assistant instructors in the French, Portuguese and Spanish classes. Julie Godignon, expert consultant in electoral assistance and observation, will provide assistance in French. Lucas Novaes Ferreira, former communications consultant at UNESCO in the freedom of expression and protection of journalists section, will provide assistance in Portuguese. And, Cristina Perez Claeys, independent consultant in the fields of political evaluation and analysis of electoral processes, will be an IA in Spanish.
This course is intended for electoral practitioners and key electoral stakeholders, including Election Management Bodies (EMBs), Broadcasting Regulatory Bodies (ARBs), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) Human Rights human and women’s rights, national and international election observers, political actors, academics and fact-checking bodies. Media workers, media representatives and journalists, including community media and citizen journalists, are also welcome to register.
Canela highlighted the need for electoral actors to understand the new digital ecosystem and its impact on elections.
“Be it its citizens, who have a stake in being digitally literate, EMBs who need to identify how to ensure free and fair elections, politicians who want to ensure fair conditions in elections, tech companies who need to ensure that their business model is in line with international human rights law and, the journalists who should be covering the elections taking into account these new developments,” he said.
Canela added that people affected by the digital age, such as EMBs, are asking for help to adapt.
“That’s one of the reasons we’re launching this election MOOC: we respond to the needs and demands of election practitioners and stakeholders,” he said.
“At Knight Center, we are proud of this new partnership with two United Nations agencies that have already helped us train so many journalists around the world. This time, however, the training goes beyond journalism and media, reaching other stakeholders interested in the impact of the digital revolution on electoral processes,” said Professor Rosental Alves, founder and director of the Knight Center. “It will be great to see so many different stakeholders following this MOOC.”
Like all Knight Center courses, this MOOC is asynchronous, meaning activities can be completed on days and times that best suit your schedule. However, there are recommended weekly deadlines so that students do not fall behind.
Piterbarg will teach the course using videos, presentations, readings, discussion forums and quizzes.
Those who successfully complete the course requirements are eligible for a certificate of completion. No formal academic credit is associated with the certificate.
So, let’s face these challenges together and take the first steps in Sign up for this exciting free online course today!