At the Global Conference for World Press Freedom Day, May 2-5 in Uruguay, DW Akademie is hosting a panel on digital authoritarianism. International media experts will weigh in on fighting disinformation and censorship.
Panelists Nanjala Nyabola, Laís Martins, Vladimir Cortés Roshdestvensky and Annie Zaman (from left to right)
Digital authoritarianism – when governments assert power and control information using digital tools and the internet – disrupts journalism and can endanger reporters and human rights defenders.
Deployed in order to influence citizens, digital authoritarianism can undermine elections, prolong wars and instill fear. The coronavirus pandemic has emboldened many autocratic governments to repress and disorient citizens.
In response, DW Akademie, Global Voices and Article 19 are discussing workable solutions to strengthen transparency and protection. May 2-5, 2022, UNESCO, together with the government of Uruguay, will host the annual Global Conference for the celebration of World Press Freedom Day (WPFD), with both live and virtual participation, and a focus on “Journalism Under Digital Siege”.
As part of the World Press Freedom Conference, DW Akademie will host the panel discussion "Monitoring unfreedom, taking action – How human rights activists and journalists react to the different faces of digital authoritarianism" on May 3, 23:30 - 0:30 (CET) | 18:30 - 19:30 (UYT).
Researcher and award-winning writer Nanjala Nyabola will introduce the concept of digital authoritarianism and its most recent developments across the globe and present DW Akademie and Global Voices’ new joint research project "Unfreedom Monitor". It is an unprecedented investigation of digital authoritarianism in ten countries, including Brazil, Russia and Eastern Ukraine, among others.
"We're seeing surveillance practices normalized in some places," said Nyabola, who directs Advox, Global Voices' Digital Rights Program. "We are in a vulnerable moment."
Moderator Carsten von Nahmen, Managing Director of DW Akademie, will guide the discussion to illustrate the various faces of digital repression. Moreover, the panel discussions will explore how digital authoritarianism disrupts journalistic work and how media workers can recognize it and stay safe while serving the public good. Speakers will also highlight how media professionals can navigate in a country besieged by digital authoritarianism, how to identify it and how to mitigate the impact on their work.
Nanjala Nyabola, a Rhodes Scholar and 2017 Foreign Policy Interrupted Fellow, has written numerous analyses and commentaries for publications around the world and is the author of "Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics: How the Internet Era is Transforming Politics in Kenya".
Laís Martins is a Brazilian journalist and Pulitzer Center Persephone Miel fellow who has reported for Reuters and now freelances for Brazilian media and international news outlets. Her work focuses on the intersection between human rights, politics, society, and technology, and she has a special interest in tech policy and investigating how extremist groups behave online.
Vladimir Cortés Roshdestvensky is a human rights activist whose work has focused on internet governance; surveillance technologies and strategic litigation for the defense of freedom of expression on the internet; social media content moderation; disinformation; and Mexico's digital divide.
Annie Zaman's work the last 15 years has explored freedom of expression, and the safety and security of journalists and humanitarian aid workers. She has managed teams and newsrooms in crisis situations in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Myanmar. She has worked on two continents, in five countries and in three languages. Zaman is Community Representative on the Board of Global Voices. In 2021, after the coup in Myanmar, she co-founded The Exile Hub to support Burmese media and critical voices in exile.