Wrap-up

site.btaUPDATED International Conference "New Horizons in Journalism: Elections and Democracy" Held in Sofia

International Conference "New Horizons in Journalism: Elections and Democracy" Held in Sofia
International Conference "New Horizons in Journalism: Elections and Democracy" Held in Sofia
AEJ Photo

An international conference entitled New Horizons in Journalism: Elections and Democracy, was held in Sofia on Tuesday. At the height of the election campaign, journalists and experts from around the world discussed the role of the press as a guardian of democracy.

The conference was officially opened by America for Bulgaria Foundation President Nancy Schiller, Chair of the Association of European Journalists in Bulgaria Irina Nedeva and Board Chairman of the World Press Institute David McDonald. The event continued with discussions of the upcoming European Parliament elections and challenges in journalism.

Thе modern journalism faces many obstacles, including disinformation, artificial intelligence and hostile attitudes to media from the public and politicians around the world, said James Jordan, the Associated Press' (AP) Europe and Asia news director.

In his words, verifying information and finding proof in cases of disinformation is a very difficult, expensive and intellectually challenging task for media. AP cannot be the internet police and cannot be the conscience of a nation, he added.

Prof. Jane E. Kirtley, Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law at the University of Minnesota, stressed that journalists are on the front lines of the fight to keep democracy alive. She participated in a panel discussion on "Disinformation and Polarization in High-Stakes Election Situations." Prof. Kurtley said that the tools of democracy can be used for both good and evil purposes, and that is why journalists cannot say that the issue of keeping democracy alive is not their problem.

The discussion also included Patrik Szicherle, Research Fellow at the Centre for Democracy & Resilience in GLOBSEC, Hungary, and Madalina Voinea, researcher at EFOR, Romania. The moderator was journalist and media consultant from South Africa, Camilla Bath.

Szicherle said that currently anyone can become a journalist, can start an online blog, a YouTube channel, provide information through a social media account. He noted that everyone wants to be the first to report something, but that opens up potential for mistakes, for false information,and  this ultimately affects trust in the media, and its decline increases people's susceptibility to misinformation.

Voinea focused her speech on the European legislation on digital services. For the first time, there will be real mechanisms to ask the big platforms with over 45 million users for access to information, she noted, adding that these data are important in the work on investigations, including those related to the subject of the elections. However, the chance of journalists from Eastern Europe or a smaller market getting information from such platforms is close to zero, she noted.

Geopolitics and US elections were among the highlights of lectures by Thomas Hanson, a diplomat at the Institute of International Affairs at the University of Minnesota, and David Schultz, a professor at Hamlin University in the US, within the conference.

/MY, VE/

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By 18:06 on 22.06.2024 Today`s news

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