The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> DAN O'MALEY: Hello, everyone. We're going to go ahead and get started now. Welcome to the Dynamic Coalition on the sustainability of journalism and news media. Our topic is Unbreaking the News: Media Sustainability in the Digital Age.
The nexus between long‑term news sustainability and Internet governance is more undeniable than ever. How our Internet policies are affecting the ability of news organisations and journalists to sustain public interest journalist in the post‑pandemic world. What can we expect from proposals that attack technology platforms and how do online advertising models affect Internet governance and digital journalism? These are some of the questions that we're here to talk about today. It's really a pleasure to see you all here.
My name is Daniel O'Maley. I'm from the Center for International Media Assistance in Washington, D.C. I'm one of the co‑coordinators of the Dynamic Coalition alongside Courtney Radsch who's joining us virtually from California and Waqas Naeem who is joining us from Pakistan online as well.
We have a really great session for you. We're going to start with an interactive panel of three specialists in this area. Courtney Radsch. Anya Schiffrin. And Mijal Iastrebner. So that will last about 30 minutes. Then we'll have an open session where members of our Dynamic Coalition will be able to share some of the news and research they've been working on over the past year. Finally, we'll have an open discussion with all the participants in the room.
Before we get started, before we get started with the panel discussion, I want to talk a little bit about the Dynamic Coalition. Our key functions as a part of the IGF system are, one, to inform Internet Governance community about the challenges to journalism in the digital age. To disseminate information with our existing stakeholders through articles, blog posts, research. We also published an annual report on these topics. And we're also a Dynamic Coalition that seeks to advocate for the voices of the journalism sector in broader policy discussions.
We're an active and open multistakeholder forum. If you ‑‑ we're always looking for more people to join us. We have a host of activities lined up for 2023 and we'd love to have more voices in our Dynamic Coalition. I'd urge you to check out our website which is on the IGF website. And sign up for the LISTSERV to learn about the learning calls that we're organizing as well as other activities throughout the year including others.
Now it's going to be my honor to pass this over to Waqas, co‑coordinator. The Dynamic Coalition, who's going to be moderating our panel discussion that will get started. Waqas I'm going to hand it over to you.
>> WAQAS NAEEM: Thank you so much, Daniel. Greetings to everybody who's in the room in Addis Ababa. I hope you had a productive IGF so far. I hope you find our discussion today useful.
Warm welcome to everyone who's also joined us online. Please feel free to use the chat function to share your comments and post your questions. We'll hopefully get to your questions right at the end of the session when we have time allocated for Q&A.
Thank you, Dan, also for an excellent introduction to the Dynamic Coalition on Sustainability. Our colleague, Laura, has posted a link to the coalition in the chat. I'm sure that we can make the link available to our participants on‑site in the conference room.
Our panelist discussion today will tease out the links between Internet Governance and media sustainability by examining trends and the practices of digital native media organisations as well as regulatory frameworks that may create new revenue streams for journalism.
Our discussion is organized around three themes. And I'm really proud to say that we have three illustrious guest speakers on the panel today whom Dan has mentioned. But I will also briefly introduce them along with the themes we'll talk about today.
We have with us first Mijal Iastrebner, co‑founder and Executive Director of Sembra Media, helping digital media entrepreneurs to build more sustainable and independent media organisations. Mijal, herself, is a journalist and entrepreneur. She's helped hundreds of startups with management, fundamentals and sustainability. We're going to speak to her about the sustainability of independent digital native media organisations especially in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Mijal, we're very grateful that you've joined us today.
Next up, we have Dr. Courtney Radsch. A journalist, scholar, and free expression advocate who writes and speaks about the nexus of technology, media and policy. Her work focuses on issues of tech policy and human rights, Internet governance and, of course, media sustainability and the future of journalism. She's a fellow at the UCLA Institute for Technology Law and Policy. We hope to talk to you about platform payments to news publishers.
Finally, we hope to be shortly joined by Anya Schiffrin, the Director of Technology, Media, communications at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and teaches global media, human rights and writes prolifically on journalism and development topics. We hope to speak with her about enforcement experiences of regulatory frameworks that may potentially benefit sustainability.
Mijal, I'll begin with you. Sembra Media published Inflection Point International Study a year ago. Most of us in the media sector have benefited greatly from the finding of the report over the last year. Because of its rich insights about digital native media organisations from Latin America, Asia and Africa. The report relied on over 200 interviews with media organisations from these three regions. And included media organisations that are producing significant public interest journalism work despite threats to their safety.
One very important finding from the inflection point and national study was about the sources of revenue for digital native media. And the study highlighted that grant funding was a leading source across all media regions followed closely by ad revenue. My question to you is how do you see these trends holding up during 2022? And do you feel there are risks involved in digital native media online, donor grant funding, especially as we're moving out of the pandemic slowly? Please, go ahead.
>> MIJAL IASTREBNER: Thank you, everyone, for attending the special and really meaningful panel. And I want to thank you for the support they provide for this report.
The influence is still very high in 2020, at least in Latin America. We've just seen that we are ending this year with a lot of influence from grant money. It might change over the next few years if grant money from organisations leaves the sector. Since our first Inflection Point published in 2017, we've been recommending to media grant funders to be careful with leaving abruptly because that could kill the media they've been financing. Such a problem for membership. Over the last seven years, the research, we confirmed over and over again that diversification is key to sustainability. Especially for digital business models. An ecosystem where the user behavior changes super fast.
>> Sembra Media works as a granter in the acceleration programme. Not only we advise granters to provide extra holistic support along with funding, but we also recommend, preaching those media to burn their money in a short amount of time. This is a really bad practice and happens a lot because the grant programmes have a timeline. They have a start and an end date. So sometimes granters forget to teach the media to be super aware of spending the money wisely. We at Sembra Media extend that timeline for them to spend their core money. We recommend creating their own emergency fund if they can. We always expect that at least 10% of the grant money should be overhead. For them to learn to replicate that with clients and build their own reserves.
So this is something they should do with all the different revenue sources. Not only the grants. And the problem is not over‑depending on grants. It's over-depending in revenue source.
>> WAQAS NAEEM: Thank you so much, Mijal. Over to you, Courtney. You just heard about some of the traditional revenue streams and about the importance of diversification. But your recent report published by Sema titled Making Big Tech Pay for the News they Use. In that report, you discussed three key policy interventions trying to compel tech platforms to pay publishers. Can you please walk us through these interventions and also your impressions of what are the key issues in implementing these approaches especially in the context of Internet governance?
>> COURTNEY RADSCH: Sure, thanks so much for the invitation today. I explored three policy interventions, rebalancing what is seen as an equal relationship between digital platforms and news media that depend on the platforms to reach their audience, to monetize and to just kind of exist in the 21st Century.
Those specifically are taxation. Usually taxation of digital advertising. Competition policy. That's looking at antitrust interventions such as giving news media the right to collectively bargain but bypassing antitrust interventions. Or antitrust interventions aimed at the platforms such as antitrust interventions to rebalance the imbalance in the digital advertising ecosystem. Where Google and Facebook dominate about 90% of that. And control not just kind of the advertising market but the entire infrastructure on which digital advertising is built. Very complicated and opaque infrastructure with lots of intermediaries but which is dominated by tech platforms.
And then also looking at intellectual property interventions. This includes new licensing and copyright frameworks. So copyright. The idea of ancillary or neighboring rights for copyright which is essentially the idea that publishers also retain copyright over published materials. So news publishers having the right to, therefore, license their content if they own copyright over it. Then being able to charge a fee for the use of snippets, for example.
There are also subsidy interventions which are both direct and indirect which I didn't get into so much in the report. That's something that's looked at. And all of it is about how can regulators think about either taking some of the funds, the money that platforms have and record profit‑breaking years until this year and redistribute a small tiny fraction of that. Or looking at the power that these platforms have in trying to redistribute a tiny fraction of that back to the news media.
I think what we saw, for example, in Australia was it really got people interested in these types of interventions. Australia passed the News Media Bargaining Code which gave the news media the right to collectively bargain. Sorry, gave the news media the right to bargain and license their content to tech platforms and forces mandatory arbitration with those tech platforms if they don't agree to negotiate. And it also implemented something like algorithmic transparency in certain instances where major technology updates to either algorithms or policy systems, for example, favoring video, de‑favoring information by organisations, that sort of thing would be conveyed in advance to those news organisations.
And that so far has had actually a pretty good impact. We have seen some assessments done. They are ‑‑ actually I would say Australia is a really excellent case because they're actually doing a review right now to assess the impact. And one of the big challenges of the Australian approach is the lack of transparency into the licensing deals. That is being addressed in other legislation around the world that is kind of looking at the Australian and thinking about implementing similar legislation in Canada, in India, in the United States, or taking portions of that approach.
Europe has focused on updating its copyright policy. Its copyright directive, rather. And providing, again, for ancillary rights and then creating frameworks for negotiating at the individual outlet or collective outlet level with the tech platforms.
So I think that ‑‑ there's been a lot of criticism of that about the potential to break the Internet. Critics have called that the link tax. So far, we have not seen that the Internet is broken. I think we're still concerned about the lack of transparency. So some of the interventions that are being considered including in the United States which probably has the most power to mandate transparency over the platforms that are most central to news industry, there are considerations for mandating transparency which we absolutely need. Because one of the big takeaways from all of these interventions is they're happening in an information vacuum. There is a lack of data about the link between advertising and revenue. About the ‑‑ about how different types of interventions by tech platforms impact the ability of news media to monetize. And kind of the value of news. There's a big disagreement about whether it is, you know, kind of the monetary value of news, which Facebook and Google claim is not very large. And then Australia's Competition Authority and others who have intervened about the actual cost of news but also the inherent value of news and what that brings to the platforms.
I have to say, if you look at the amount of money that platforms are spending on fact checking which is essentially another word for journalism, I think we can see there is a lot of value to factual reported information.
So let me leave it with that. Happy to bet into more of the details.
>> WAQAS NAEEM: Thank you so much, Courtney, for that level of detail. I think that gives us a very nice segue to our question to Anya Schiffrin who's joined us online. Welcome, Anya. And thank you so much for posting the link to your CIMA report in the chat.
My question is related to your reflections and observations regarding Australia's News Media Bargaining Code. As Courtney mentioned, there has been some reporting on potential benefits from the code to Australia's news media organisations. How do you see this success? Are we being overoptimistic about the code's benefits and its sort of potential replication around the world? Or is there really, you know, reason to be confident?
>> ANYA SCHIFFRIN: Oh, thank you very much for having me. Great to be with such illustrious colleagues. Really glad to be here.
The Australian News Media Bargaining Code, I wouldn't say it's for everybody but I think it's done well for Australia. I think there's a few things to kind of know about it. One is that it was just a very, very practical effort by a lot of people in Australia.
So what happened was the liberals, the conservatives, and the greens, and pretty much everyone else in between, just said you know what, let's get some money out of Google and Facebook. It may not be forever. It may not be perfect. But let's just do it. There was a pragmatic pragmatism to their policymaking. I do admire that. I think it's really easy in the situation where in sort of an emergency situation, I think it's really easy to kind of sit back and say, oh, this isn't perfect. This could have terrible implications. I think we have to give them credit for actually just doing something.
And, of course, the worry, you know, always when you design policy to help media, in a way you're designing for the incumbents, not the startups. Because the startups don't exist. Right? Or you don't know what's going to come later. What they said, yep, Murdoch will get most of the money but we're going to find ways to make sure other people get it, too. The estimates are a couple hundred million dollars have gone into Australian journalism.
After the first round, Emma McDonald worked with smaller outlets so they could get some money as well. At this point, nearly all the Australian outlets have gotten money. They're doing a lot of hiring. Created a lot of jobs. Lack of transparency. We don't know what they're spending their money on. People are monitoring want ads to see who's hiring or spent money on something else.
Under Australian law, the treasury has to do a review of the code. That just came out today or yesterday I guess in Australian time. They found it's largely a success. Google has associated with more outlets than Meta. There was talk about maybe they would designate Meta which means they would require them to go into negotiations. But they haven't. And I think they're now looking at TikTok and wondering who else should be included in the fold. Super pragmatic. It's not the perfect solution. It raised a bunch of money in the short tell.
I think that ‑‑ I was looking at Gabby Miller's piece on the Canadian bill. I can put that in the chat. One of the points of the Canadian bill is there would be a requirement to the news outlets to at least report to government what they're getting. That's not the full transparency that a lot of people would like, but it's certainly a step in the right direction. I think there's still disagreement. We've been talking about this a lot in the U.S. Of whether or not there should be requirements or conditions put on the outlets that receive money. For example, saying you have to cap executive pay or you have to put the money into journalism. I mean, funds are fungible. It's a little bit hard to make those requirements. I don't see why you couldn't try. Dean Baker says if you're getting a bunch of money under some kind of government law like the Journalism Competition Preservation Act, then you should not be allowed to have a pay wall, direction. The idea is if you're getting a subsidy for the information, it should be made available to everybody.
Yeah, I don't think it's the perfect solution for everyone. It's worked well for Australia. It's absolutely worth considering.
I see in the chat people saying we shouldn't take tech money because of surveillance economy. You know, all money comes with risks. Right? Whether it's advertising money. Whether it's subscription money. Whether it's money from foundations. All of those have risks. In fact, we have a lot of academic literature on the risks of all of those.
I think another point to make about what happened in Australia, it wasn't just the Bargaining Code. They also put money into saving the Australian News Wire. They've given a whole range of grants. So it was part of a package of measures. I have to say that that's admirable.
So, yeah. That's my take on that. I think also to the person in the comment who's talking about surveillance capitalism, I mean, another problem about all these companies is they're actually not paying taxes very much. They're really not paying taxes, right? We know how they put their headquarters in countries so they don't pay taxes, et cetera, or minimize their tax burden. This is true, all of them. If we tax them, we'd be taking their money as el. Perhaps it's not the collection, it's how the money is disbursed. That's why economists don't like earmark taxes. They'd much rather see all the money go to the government tax pile pot and figure out who gets what. Earmarked taxes are risky. I don't now whether the folks in the comments would find that acceptable or if you're saying there shouldn't be any taxation, either. Obviously, Courtney's point about copyright is also incredibly important.
One way to look at it, the argument of the platform, my last comment, is they're driving traffic to the websites or to the outlets. It's the outlet's fall if they can't monetize it. What economists call cream skimming. If you take the headline off the story and the first few lines and make it available on Google, you've actually taken the very best part of the news item and you've diminished the value of what remains. I tell my students imagine someone comes along with a cupcake or muffin, take the top and eat that and leave behind the old dry part at the bottom and say to everybody, well, it's not your fault you can't sell the old dry part. That's what cream skimming is and what the tech companies do when they take the highlights of the news items. I think the whole thing about we drive traffic, like, they've got a point but there's also other ways to look at it.
>> WAQAS NAEEM: Thank you, Anya. That's a great analogy. I think we need more discussions about the ethical dimensions of this money and how news organisations around the world can use it.
We'll talk shortly about the regulatory disparity and obviously the different circumstances in, you know, news markets around the world who might not have the same capacity as maybe Australia or Canada to implement some of these approaches.
But I'll take on one point that you made, you know, when policy is made it's usually for the incumbents and not for the startups. As a former journalist, I feel startups especially in the Global South need the most support because these are media organisations that are really focusing on public interest journalism and reaching out to and reporting on marginalized communities. Improving their access to information.
So Mijal, I'll come back to you. I think this is an opportunity for us to give out practical advice related to media sustainability. Using our platform today.
Another finding of the Inflection Point in national study is most media organisations fall into the bottom tiers in terms of business maturity. They might have a low initial investment and low financial security. Especially in the context of, you know, these policies not really being addressed to them. Not really supporting them maybe from the get‑go. Also your earlier point about diversification. What advice would you have for founders and teams of digital native media organisations that are really starting in the bottom tier?
>> MIJAL IASTREBNER: Yeah, many of the journalists who start new media have almost no knowledge about business. And have never had a conversation with another entrepreneur. Previous to funding their own. Those two key elements are key for them to make a couple of really important judgments. The business maturity has a greater correlation with management than with the initial investment. Equity is common among social entrepreneurs, not only journalists. The lack of skill and knowledge about how to build a team ready to grow with their organisation, relevant and social impact, is still something that is a minority of the entrepreneurs thinks of.
It is possible that if media users had a better understanding of what building a social startup entails, they will also be more proactive and more skilled in looking for initial investments.
Our recommendation for entrepreneurs out there is to plan your goals with a clear social purpose in mind. Spend time communicating it to your team building practices, looking for talent, and planning for growth.
Sustainability isn't money at the bank. It is your ability to plan your development five years ahead. And I really think that ‑‑ I agree that many of the policies are built for longlasting media companies and traditional media. But the social role that the media startups ‑‑ not all of the digital media we study are startups. Some of them are, like, ten years old. These media entrepreneurs, they actually change the course of the laws. They change the course of the life of their communities. And they are key to avoid having so many ‑‑ so much misinformation spreading and these different informational that we've seen in the last decade.
So I do think it's important to think what type of policy we can develop around this specific group. Because our industry is under huge employment crisis. The different type of job descriptions and the roles in the media are different. The skills are different. And many of the most prepared and really committed journalists are starting their own media or have already started their own media. And our journalistic students are going to have to create their own media to be able to work. And to accomplish their purposes as journalists.
So I think it's important to start thinking now what type of policy we develop for this important independent journalistic growth to thrive.
>> WAQAS NAEEM: Thank you, Mijal. I'll take your comments and address my next question to Courtney. Especially sort of in the context of what Mijal said. Talking about, you know, digital native independent media organisations in countries of the Global South where we may not have well‑developed news markets and news media organisations are also hard pressed by authoritarian regimes or actors.
You mentioned the regulatory disparity in your report. In your recommendations. What do you think are specific recommendations when it comes to these kinds of policies? Of compelling tech platforms to pay news publishers in sort of the broader global context. You already touched upon this. But really with a focus on policymakers and media organisations in the Global South. Do you think there are steps that the they can take?
>> COURTNEY RADSCH: So I think, fir off, I mean, as Mijal suggested, a lot of news organisations in the Global South are small alternative non‑English‑speaking news outlets. They are particularly struggling in the platform era. And you hear a lot, especially in the U.S., about, well, if they can't make money, that's their fault. We have to recognize in many parts of the world where Internet connectivity was later, mobile penetration is the main way people get their news, et cetera, these news organisations have a constrained playing field on which they're playing. The playing field has been created by these Global North dominant platforms. The rules of the game are set. It's really hard to play by other rules. Especially as you suggested in countries where there are restrictions on access to information or restrictions on independent journalism. Not to mention just less developed countries where the economies make it really hard for them to participate in these global platforms because they don't have globally exchangeable currencies. They don't have access to credit cards. To do subscription programmes or to participate in the other things.
One of the things I've heard because I've been doing a lot of reporting over the past years and talking to journalists, independent journalists and media outlets around the world. You know, I hear a lot. One of the easiest things would just be increase the payments for ads. That's a direct pretty easily to implement. The policy interventions that we're talking about here, for example, licensing and copyright interventions, news media bargaining codes, require a lot of kind of background undergirding infrastructure to implement. So if you want to have a licensing programme, think about, like, digital music. You have to track that. You is to figure out, first of all, define who benefits. That definition is really susceptible to media capture. Capture by political actors. By platforms. That's a risk.
Similarly, then, you have to have collecting agencies. You is to have the whole digital infrastructure on the back end. I still have not figured out how you would be able to track the use of text headlines. You know, the way digital music works, you can use hashes. There's a multimedia image. It's much different when we're talking about text.
I want to make a side note to head off some criticism about allowing news organisations to convey copyright over their headlines because those are facts. A lot of times headlines are not just facts. Investigative reporting costs ‑‑ can cost tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars. Take years. You know, transnational collaborations to do. Yet, if you give the headline out, you just kind of have given all of this information for free that cost a lot to get. Right? If we think about the Paradise Papers or Panama Papers. We have to be a little bit more realistic about that.
You know, the other thing is you need to have a level of trust to implement these policies. Or a level of checks and balances, good governance and trust in the system if you don't have trust in yourselves. If you're going to create a news media bargaining unit or create a collecting society, you have to have some level of trust that it's going to be implemented that that collecting society is going to accurately track the use of the material. Give that money back to the players. You need to have trust in the government as well that they're going to distribute any sort of taxation that has been, you know, generated through all of this. And that can be a really hard sell in a lot of countries especially where there's a lack of kind of democratic infrastructure and checks and balances to make sure that happens.
I mean, similarly, I think that one of the ‑‑ as I alluded to earlier, one of the big challenges is this kind of lack of data. There's also this challenge we might get data and find out actually maybe news is only 3% of the platform which is what Facebook goes around claiming all of the time. But think that that is the wrong way to look at this issue. I think to allude to some of the discussion in the chat is thinking about especially Google and Facebook right now. Those may change. Like, the primary platforms for journalism is journalism as a public good. So thinking about the independent news and journalism as a public good can help us rethink how we want to balance that relationship. What factors. And kind of the economic analysis that we're going to think about whether this is the right sort of intervention or not.
I think the fact that the OECD has adopted this 15% minimum tax on major global corporations, to Anya's point, could be helpful in getting them to pay their fair share of taxes. I think that remains a challenge for a lot of developing countries around the world. Is just getting the digital services to pay taxes at all. So that could go pretty far. Basically, it's going to be very challenging for many developing countries, many countries that are in the majority world also known as the Global South to implement these sort of policies because they don't necessarily even have copyright laws in place so it would allow this. They don't have the kind of governance infrastructure needed to implement some of these policies. So I think that that makes Global North, especially the U.S., as well as Europe, responsible for having to think outside of their boundaries.
I know we don't usually make policies in a specific country looking at other countries. But I think this is a case where the United States, in particular, and Europe as the area where you actually see meaningful policy being made to govern tech platforms, we have to think about the news media around the world. And the impact that these policies will have on news media not just in a specific country but around the world. Because it is a global public good. It's something when there's an outbreak of a disease or there's a natural disaster or elections or just humanity needs this reporting. It needs accountability that independent media bring. That should be something that we're looking at, I believe, globally.
>> WAQAS NAEEM: Thank you so much, Courtney. I'll give Anya the floor for a final intervention. I had a question for you, but we are almost running out of time. You wanted to make a point earlier. And if you want to add anything to the question in the chat.
>> ANYA SCHIFFRIN sorry, go ahead. What was the question?
>> WAQAS NAEEM: My question was about us looking at this regulatory disparity. We already talked about Canada's Online News Act. You mentioned that. Looking at other countries around the world where we may not have the political will to bring about such policy decisions. Do you think there are other solutions that media or policymakers can explore?
>> ANYA SCHIFFRIN: Yeah, that's exactly what I would have talked about, anyway. I thought Mijal's point was super interesting. What I found when I was researching my report, Saving Journalism, is whenever I talk to a journalist from Africa or Latin America and say, hey, what do you think about all these ideas countries are trying, right? Indonesia giving tax cuts to journalism. Or funding, subsidizing outlets that were writing solution stories about COVID or COVID. And Tunisia giving tax cuts. A lot of research that came out when we were doing the UNESCO report done by the folks from "The Economist." South Korea was looking at introducing a subscription voucher which a lot of people are interested in. If anybody knows somebody who's done it, please let us know. There's a bit of discussion about that right now.
Anyway, every time I asked a journalism from Africa or Latin America they said oh, no. Oh, no, no, no, no, we don't want any of this. We don't want a tax credit. We don't want government advertising. All of this is going to compromise our independent. I'm like, okay, you're getting money from George Soros. You're getting money from Bill Gates. You're getting money from northern governments. You don't even want to be on a list of who might get a tax credit. The point is, nope, that gives the government too much influence. Anyway, we're too small, we're not paying taxes, anyway.
I do think there's absolutely policies that can help quality information and journalism even in countries that are, you know, less democratic. I think they're going to be different policies. Right?
So to Courtney's point, who spent years to protect journalists, one is press freedom. Do no harm. Or limited interventions. I was talking to Franz Kruger in South Africa who did a look at Argentine, Norwegian, Swedish, journalism funds. According to him, the Argentine one had its peaks and troughs. People made an effort. It started to work again. Ditto the Tanzania Media Fund. I don't want to say we need to leave everybody to carve out money where we can. I absolutely agree.
Guy's point about what can outlets do with audience data, my understanding from the U.S. companies that I talk to is that it's really, really surveillance capitalism at its most. Right? Like, they are trying to ‑‑ Disney is trying to get all your data then tries to sell you stuff and tracks what you're buying. So I don't know that media outlets' use of data is any more kind of lovable and pure than anybody else's. Except that I don't do ad blockers, et cetera. Because I want "The New York Times" to have my data. I'm willing to give it to them in a way I don't feel comfortable giving it to Amazon or something like that. Anyway, great discussion. I'll mute here.
>> WAQAS NAEEM: Thank you so much, Anya, and to all of our speakers for very important interventions today. Also thank you for addressing some of the questions we were receiving in chat.
I'll now hand it over to Dan who's been anxiously and patiently waiting in the conference room. And I'm sure that there are many people there who also want to chip in with their comments to the discussion.
So, Dan, if you can hear us, please take it away.
>> DANIEL O'MALEY: Great. Thank you, Waqas. Thank you, Courtney, Anya, Mijal, for really great and incisive points.
Yes, I can tell people in the room are champing at the bit here. We want to continue this conversation. So, you know, if any of our speakers or anyone online wants to jump in at a later point, let's make sure to continue this conversation.
I think we raised already some really interesting points about platform power. About how do we build for startups versus incumbents. About what the policies might look like in different places. I think, you know, one of the objectives of this DC Sustainability is currently this Working Group, currently, it often feels like we're going from one location to another. Like, oh, everyone's focused on Australia, what's going on there. Then it goes to Canada.
I think one of the things that's really beneficial about these types of communities is we can think more globally. Think beyond boundaries as Courtney was mentioning.
We're now going to seg into the part of our session where people here including members of our Dynamic Coalition are going to be able to talk about some of the research as it intersects with the issues that our speakers have brought up. We have a couple people lined up. I know there are other people here with expertise who may want to intervene as well. So please keep that in mind and get in the queue.
I'm going to pass it first to Handan from Turkish Internet Observatory.
>> Thanks, Dan. A lot of data that will conflict with all the things speakers said. Apologies for that in the beginning. I want to start with small data. "New York Times" receiving 184 million clicks in a month. Turkey's biggest newspaper receives 311 million. How can a newspaper from a country of 80 million people is getting twice as much traffic. "The New York Times" is one of the best newspapers in the world and it's English. What happens? I'm going to change the conversation from news media versus platforms to what Google and platforms do when it comes to distributing money which we think is way more important.
Who are we? We are Turkey's Internet Observatory. We try to change the system. Now we're part as the Civil Society. We identified the algorithms. We identified political operations that took place. We identified Instagram was micro‑targeting polls that promoted hate on the streets. There's a lot of things that they are doing wrong. Right?
However, when you look at the United States, they have things to hold people accountable. The election, it was all over the news. Facebook had to take action and brought transparency to advertising, for example. When it comes to Turkey, we're left with Google's decisions, what happens to our citizens and democracy when the platforms do not care. They do not quite care, right? When you look at the teams, how many Turkish people were working on that. If you look at the job description, zero people were hired in the last three years.
These companies are multibillion dollar and have the resources to hire people like that.
The website I mentioned, 300 million clicks in a month. There's a lot in Turkey. These are mostly pro‑government. Sometimes there's a lot of misinformation. There's a lot of hate speech. Sometimes it's not even news that really happens. So we see that there are a lot of money going through actually to mainstream websites. The money is actually there. We think it's going to the wrong people. We estimate $10 million go to pro‑government websites based off of Google.
When we look at what can journalists do, right, what happens? So we feel like we have to look at the bigger search volume and the ecosystem. Right? So how do you think "New York Times" is making money? Again, 20% of New York Times click income comes from the search Wordle. It does not come from news. 90% other keywords. However, Google just promoted news websites. If you put any type of text, a news website is going to come up. If you're mainstream and mostly pro‑government, you're going to rank first. That's what technology does. Neutral. It's always promoting those in power. Those are the newspapers that were up there for 50 years who has a lot of backing.
Even if a journalist, even if you train a journalist to do search engine optimization and keyword change, it's just not going to happen. You have to put a lot of marketing money to get pack links to actually rank in Google. So that's number‑one thing.
And how do newspapers in Turkey get money? There's a lot of inflation. Millions of people just Google how much is a dollar. 30% of the $6 million a month is coming from is how much is a dollar? Is it a journalist problem? Is Google giving money to journalists? Or is it just like a mechanism? If you look at all of this big issue, you see that search engine optimization and bigger volume gives us a quite different picture.
So, again, when we come down to policies, right, we always think about what the governments can do. We should really think about the product policy which is a decision inside Google that kind of decides who gets the money. Right? What we have is a policy in Google. You got the search results, the search policies that is not implemented. The policy is very rigid. They either take you off Google or not. They can't just take off big websites. Even if you do some spam, it's just going to pass through. It truly boils down to the small technical decisions and how many people were hired to reduce spam in Google.
So who does Google give funding to? The biggest website in Turkey. That's where the funding is going to. Again, when we look at all of these volumes.
So, again, one of the key things that people search online is pornography. That is the reality. That's a lot of traffic. However, in Turkey, pornography websites are banned. That means we don't have any kind of regulated website that will come up. What we see is a lot of websites optimizing for porn keywords. When you Google porn mainstream media comes up and Google earns money. They're earning money because there's a pornography ban in Turkey.
This is actually what we have to say. Firstly, when we think about policies, we should really look at what the product has been doing. The product policy. That's number one. Number two, technology companies are never neutral. Number 3, Google is the biggest funder of pro‑government websites globally. We should look at how much money is going there. We are engineers and we are data analysts. Please don't hesitate to contact some SEO specialist or engineers to really understand where the data is coming from. Because I feel like if we can come together as these people, but also a bit more technical expertise, you'll get quite a different picture. We're excited to talk about this because this was a parallel that we really wanted to bring to this stage, to these people who are really working on this. Thank you so much, Dan, for this.
>> DANIEL O'MALEY: Great. Thank you so much for that. It's always really great to have people with different backgrounds and different expertise because it's that kind of multi, you know, interdisciplinary work that can help us solve some of these problems that we're dealing with.
I'm now going to pass it to Lema. Before I do, if anyone else is wanting to say something, make sure you signal to me so I can make sure to call you after Lema's intervention from R&W Media.
>> Yeah. Thank you. You gave a really powerful speech. Feeling pressured after this. But I did love your speech. My name is Lema. I originally come from China. Now I'm working as a Digital Media Lead for R&W Media it's one of the oldest radio broadcasters in the world. It's like a version of the BBC.
The history of R&W Media, a best-case study, is how traditional media can survive in the digital age. Right now, R&W Media has been transforming from a traditional media broadcaster into a digital media organisation and working with global change makers to working with young people for social change. We accelerated impact by global change makers by incorporating digital media solutions based on the insight and new to learning experience.
Basically R&W Media work on both media development and media for development. And our experience basically, I want to share two points. With regard to sustainability. The first one is the network building is quite essential for the sustainability of the media organisation.
I want to share my personal story because I've been working for R&W Media for ten years. But I went through the resource of R&W Media for three times. And R&W Worldwide has 400 employees when I got the job. Our biggest funder is attached to foreign affairs. Because of shrinking of the funding, R&W Media from 400 people come more and more like 100 people. After second re‑organisation from 100 people to 50 people. You can see it's a really painful process because we have to let people go.
The further re‑organisation, we set up around ten digital community, digital platforms in different language, in different countries. For different social topics. But because it was shrinking, the government funding, again, we have to let all these different platforms or different entities from different countries, we have to let them go because they have to stand on their own feet. So which means our partners in India, in China, they have to register as a media organisation, or maybe as an NGO and stand on their own feet.
I have to say it was a really painful process. In such a short period of time, just one year, they have to find a financial balance. They tried a different perspective. I see some of our partners they try, for example, like e‑commerce, like also try e‑learning to make some money because of advertisement, for example. They also provide a different type of media service for different clients to make money. Eventually, the source is income is important. Based on our experience, right now R&W Media, we set up a global network of around 18 members from many countries. From India to Jordan. From Lebanon to our beautiful Ethiopia.
So we have 18 members and some of them are more independent media organisations. Some of them are more registered as NGO. They do use digital media for social change.
I think the global network is really a place we can share our experience on sustainability. And share our skills and also experience and also we found a reason together.
The good thing about the network building is why it is essential for the sustainability because you can't really facilitate. It's a giant effort between south to south and north to south for sustainability. It's very important.
My second point is the social media accountability is quite essential for the sustainability. Regarding the big text, I think a lot of expert speakers have already mentioned on this one. I want to share one thing we haven't done in the past half year is we decided to focus on the Meta advertising policy. Why? Some members are single topic news media organisation. They're focused on, for example, producing content on sex reproductive health. They're not a news media organisation but still a media organisation focused on a single topic.
The thing is Meta, because our partners have Meta Facebook account and Instagram account. They do need to promote their content through the Facebook ads. The thing is that Meta advertising policy is not really friendly to this kind of sex education content creators and also journalists. Because they say this kind of content is pornographic information. This is quite the experience.
Basically from half a year ago, we together with the International Centre for Internet Justice from United States and organized a big campaign. We also did a lot of research. We found out that in five years' time, there are almost 2,000 advertisement from five members of our global network rejected by Facebook because of this reason. And conducted a big campaign and also conducted a big campaign in the United States. Finally, our campaign message was reposted by Hillary Clinton and created a certain pressure for the Meta. Why two months ago Meta decided to change, update their advertising policy which is a big victory for us. Of course, there are still a lot of work to do.
And we also, for example, are working in other country like Palestine. We also captured or collect digital rights violation. We also pass on this kind of a digital rights violation case, individual case, to the regional office of Meta, of Twitter and TikTok that enables them to make positive change.
This is important for sustainability. Our partners, they do need this kind of advertising space to grow, to reach to more audiences. Audience is quite important. Thank you.
>> DANIEL O'MALEY: Great. Thank you. I was wondering if anyone else has something to add. Just raise your hand. Either online or here in the room.
I just wanted to pick up on one point about the power of networking. I think that's really important. I think when we're able to connect what the experiences of people in different places, we make stronger arguments and can have more data which is another issue that we discussed. The lack of data.
I think also I want to tip of the hat to Mijal and her organisation, Sembra Media who did great work looking at digital media. Inflection Point 2.0. Those conversations can help inform this broader conversation.
I'll go to this gentleman here. Please make sure to introduce yourself before you have it. There you go. It's working.
>> Hi, everybody. I'm Chris with Internews. I know we work with probably a number of organisations in this meeting. It's amazing to hear the discussion and so many good ideas.
A couple reactions to the earlier panel discussion on policy. I think the Australian, Canada, and the platform discussions are really interesting. I think in terms of policy or regulatory work that we're supporting in many of the countries where we work, it's really focused on issues like just freedom of information laws, access to information, journalism protection. We're not even close to starting, you know, support or there's doesn't seem like a lot of demand for policy or regulatory work of the nature that was discussed earlier. My sense is that it's just a lot of these places, it's very early stage in terms of the media sustainability aspect of policy.
The other thing is in many countries where we work, there are state‑supported media outlets, of course. There are other outlets that have been captured by other interests. We find ourselves working with usually a smaller cadre of truly independent, oftentimes digital media outlets. And what I can say is there's tremendous demand for skills on just media business sustainability in the sense of trying to understand audiences, connect with audiences, develop feedback loops and monetize that relationship. It's not ‑‑ it's data that they're looking for but it's very basic data. Isn't the kind of data ‑‑ I think it's, like, surveillance data. It's probably just a matter of the maturity of the market.
But, anyway, I just wanted to comment that. I mean, this is all tremendous feedback. And interesting comments. So thank you.
>> DANIEL O'MALEY: Great. Thanks so much for that. I hear what you're saying. One of my reactions would be I think one of the things we're trying to do here is also think about in these places thinking about, you know, the issue of, like, how do we make sure we're not just preparing for startups but for incumbents. How do we create ecosystems so in places they don't just have to deal with whatever's built for them but we build something for them. That's one of the reasons this coalition, in particular, is trying to be really diverse so we can make sure we take those voices into account.
>> Are we part of that coalition?
>> DANIEL O'MALEY: We can be. I don't think you are. You can be. We're big fans of Internews.
I'm going to pass it. Could you introduce yourself? There are people online who want to learn more about you.
>> Yes. I come from Turkey's Internet Observatory. We conduct work on holding technology companies accountable. We also have a programme for journalists, actually. That kind of helps them navigate the algorithms.
I want to compliment what you said, we also saw the exact same thing that happened with sexual health educators and journalists. There was an Instagram account, a leading sexual education platform done by a really good journalist in Turkey. This got spammed. And they created a sexual assault prevention policy. What's happening, and afterwards, all of these information about how to protect things about abortion and just basic sexual health issues were banned. Even though we saw pornhub.com's website being alive for such a long time. I want to compliment we also suffer from this. Would love to connect later. Thank you.
>> WAQAS NAEEM: Dan, we have an online intervention. Do we have time to take that?
>> DANIEL O'MALEY: Let's go with the online intervention then we have one more intervention here.
>> WAQAS NAEEM: Great, Courtney, please go ahead.
>> COURTNEY RADSCH: Thank you. Yes. So am I unmuted? Okay. Yes. So I just wanted to intervene because I think you pointed out a couple of really important points which is the policies of the tech platforms have an outsized influence on the sustainability of news media around the world. To the extent that some of our interventions in countries that have the power to kind of force compliance by tech platforms, I think that's really important to think about.
The issue of, you know, news media being able to ‑‑ how we're defining news media I think in a lot of these legal frameworks is pretty narrow. A lot of time it's not including community media. It doesn't include specialized media. This has the potential to disenfranchise a lot of small alternative feminist kind of anti‑colonial‑type media. I think we have to be really careful and aware of that. That's a big challenge of a lot of these frameworks. Especially when we're thinking about some of the audiences in the marginalized communities that most need access to independent information. It's often those communities that aren't better covered by kind of broader bigger news. I think we need to consider that.
To the point about internal company policies having this outsized influence, this is the type of thing that we should be thinking about in some of these transparency mandates. I think there hasn't been quite enough discussion in terms of thinking about if we're going to mandate transparency from the platforms, which the Digital Services Act does to some extent, it's really focused on content moderation which is important but insufficient. We need greater transparency and data access into, again, the link between revenue and traffic. And into a lot of other things.
Then the last point around content moderation, that's another area where the policies that are being developed by platforms as well as by, again, U.S. and Europe, probably the UK. Some of these other countries that have the power to compel tech platforms to comply. We have to look at how our laws are being weaponized to silence independent media.
I have another report coming out shortly for the Centre for International Governance Innovation that looks at how U.S. and European copyright laws and privacy laws are being weaponized by government actors as well as just moderation mercenaries to make a buck. To target independent outlets. To silence them with erroneous and false copyright claims. And because these are automated noticed and takedowns, and especially a lot of the policies, the way that they're implemented by platforms, end up being very poor in low digital resource languages. Arabic is notorious in that respect. That has an influence on news media's ability to cover things like major political groups in the Middle East. You know, just talking recently to a Tunisian journalist who said every time they try to write about Hamas which is a significant political actor in the region, their posts get censored on Facebook because some of the AI. I won't go into the details. I think we also need to be cognizant and intentional about that aspect of things as well.
>> DANIEL O'MALEY: Great. Thank you, Courtney. I think that's a reminder, too, so often we're talking about media sustainability. Talking about advertising revenue and how to make that ‑‑ there are these other components of Internet Governance, content moderations algorithmic transparency, that influence whether news media online are able to survive, reach their audience.
We have another intervention from here in the audience. Please be sure to introduce myself.
>> Introduce myself, indeed. Courtney, good to see you again. Dan, thanks for sending a text earlier to come here. I want to be crystal clear that I'm speaking in my personal capacity. I am not speaking on behalf of my organisation. I'm speaking on behalf of my individual self. And I actually write product policy for Facebook News.
I would love to just hear your follow‑up and get your contact. I am not promising to do anything or not to do anything. But I do think it's important to have lines of communication. So that we can identify opportunities to both collaborate, to understand issues as you articulate them, and try to address and create remedies. Again, I'm here as an academic to do ‑‑ to talk about research that I do on connecting people across the continent. And Dan just happened to message me.
I've heard a number of comments here that I have thoughts on. But I'll save those when I put on my Meta hat. I'd love to follow‑up with folks. I'm truly here in my individual capacity because I don't even have any business cards. I'm literally here as Yusef. I'd love to follow‑up with folks. I think there are a number of issues that have been raised. Some of which I think warrant some clarification and nuance about how we think about some of these issues. There were some comments I thought were important. May also present some misnomers about whether an entity is registered in a news page index and what registration the NPI means. And how we identify publishers based on the introduction to NPI. So some of the issues that were raised are partly because the entity is not in the NPI.
So I just want to provide a little flavor of context and not provide flavor of context but also just to say I'm happy to truly open up lines of communication. With that, I yield the time.
>> DANIEL O'MALEY: Great. Thank you. And thank you for coming, too. Because I think it is really important for the Internet Governance Forum, it's multistakeholder. We need these conversations across private sector, the government, Civil Society. Oftentimes we're siloed. That's the beauty of this conversation. We have a few more hands up here. Ubel, please introduce yourself and Usama.
>> Very fascinating conversation. Perspective from Global South. I'm at one of the emerging media outlets in Ethiopia. Basically, our platform is online.
So I think the Australia approach has lots of collateral damage on big tech companies' policies. So basically, because our media industry was not big enough to be independent. So we mostly rely on media platforms. So we can't pick our audience to our platform. We have to get our news from social media, almost 100% I can say.
For example, the most physical way of (?) is related to organisation. So if we push this organisation to a different position without as a media ecosystem, without doing something to counter what is really damaging. For example, I have a conversation with Meta people in East Africa. So basically, they are not much responsible for it. I'm not responsible for everything including removing harmful content. When it comes to engaging with media, they have various to engage us. So I don't know when I've been on Meta for almost (?) So I can see content from media outlets were published, content, are much affected by the algorithmic data. So I think the media, people who are in the media, we ought to do something other than approaching this as it has been done in Australia and Canada. Thank you.
>> DANIEL O'MALEY: Great. Thank you. I think that's a really interesting point. The context in how people are using, disseminating social media, varies a great deal. We need to think about our policies and positions based on that. Thank you. Usama, please introduce yourself.
>> Thank you. My name is Usama. I'm based in Pakistan. So I just wanted to build on what Courtney was mentioning about news platforms, especially smaller ones. I want to share an anecdote. So we know that Taliban was under the sanctions list of the United States because of which Meta put them ‑‑ they'd take down content related to Taliban.
So come August or July 2021 and Taliban sort of take power and control. So Pakistan, a small news outlet that's quite progressive, started reporting on Taliban. And their page was blocked on Facebook. But at the same time, "New York Times" said the leader of the Taliban. It was written in English. So, of course, "The New York Times" page wasn't taken down. It speaks to there's multiple layers to not only where you're located and the size of your news startup. But also the languish that you're publishing in.
Think it speaks to the inconsistency in content moderation when to comes to languages that are not English. And that then impacts the ability of people to access information and especially independent media outlets like the one that was taken down. We had to escalate that then it took I think a month for their page to come back.
>> DANIEL O'MALEY: Great. Thank you for sharing that.
I want to pass to Laura Becana for the Global Forum for Media Development, the secretariat for this Dynamic Coalition.
One of the issues that, in particular, that Courtney raised is the lack of data. We want to build networks that can build data. So we have a better understanding of these types of things to take anecdotes to a higher level and find out what's happening systemically. Laura is going to talk about an initiative this Dynamic Coalition is going to be doing about trying to get more data from our network. Laura?
>> LAURA BECANA: Yes. Actually, I've been hearing also issues with content moderation are ‑‑ some of the things we want to address. Not only content. Also moderation. It's true when we look at this, platforms really lack these measures, I want to say, of online recognition of credible actors and accounts. Especially those that are providing public organisation. Be it news organisations, journalists, but also human rights advocates. Not trying to define ‑‑ as we were saying, it's difficult to define what is a credible media.
So, but these professionals, these content creators, who are really providing public interest information.
So we agree, as I've been hearing, that this current moderation system is taking a toll on the sustainability of the news organisations. Especially as we just stated. Non‑English. Small and medium‑sized media outlets. Especially those in the Global South. Because these organisations really, or these content creators really rely on the social platforms to distribute the information. And they often also to monetize this content.
So it is true also when this content on these accounts are taken down, the media organisations do not have the sufficient capacity or resources to address these unjustified content moderation decisions.
And at the same time, like, and, again, I don't want to go and to get stuck in the weeds what is a credible organisation. We need this transparency. So we need to be asking transparency for platforms to identify if the takedown was legitimate or not. Or, like, how many times these platforms have been imposing this restriction or suspension on news content creators.
I'm just going to come back to Europe now. Sorry for that. It's true that, for example, we see on the Media Freedom Act, which is a regulation that has proposed the European Commission, they have a section on the digital media ‑‑ well, media in the digital environment. And they have proposed this Article 17.5 which actually asks platforms in disclose this information. And that's a basic thing that went in.
It's true that what I wanted to also ask and request here, we know many or some, not many, monitoring organisations or mechanisms that are diverse actions against public interest content.
So, for example, we know that the Palestinian Observatory of Digital Rights is also (?) the silencing of content on social media. Also the digital monitoring. They're not specifically only ‑‑ they have also a wide resource centers. They collect a lot of cases. They include some of the cases that we want to kind of, like, start collecting information. We also have in Europe the Freedom Initiative by the European Centre of Present Media Freedom which is connecting the cases related to journalists and among others, documenting the online threats that journalists receive. We're also gathering a lot of digital content that exposes human rights violation. And it also, if I'm not wrong, it offers supports reinstating this content or this online.
So we think that first having the information, so collecting the data on these cases, what happened, it's important. It's also ‑‑ it's going to be also helpful for us to identify, like, trustworthy communities of ethical, credible, and professional news organisations that not only digital native media outlets but also, perhaps, Civil Society organisations who are reporting on cases. Human rights and so on.
So we want to hear also, like, from you if you have, like, you know any, like, organisations who are collecting use cases. If you ‑‑ yes, basically, if you know any other organisations that are working. Because as we were saying, this problem in non‑English‑speaking regions. So sometimes it's difficult to access ‑‑ sorry, yes, go on.
>> DANIEL O'MALEY: Great. Thank you so much, Laura. One of the activities that our Dynamic Coalition is going to be doing over the next year is exactly what Laura has been talking about in terms of trying to capture this data around how content moderation around public interest news is being caught up in these processes and how that is affecting news organisations and also the sustainability of those organisations.
If you're interested in the chat, connect with Laura or leave your email. If you're in the room here, connect with me.
I also want to mention we're still pulling together our Dynamic Coalition's Annual Report. If your organisation has done research reporting on these topics that we've been discussing today, do the same thing. Talk to me or connect with Laura online. We can include that in our Dynamic Coalition's Annual Report.
We have one more comment, intervention, from the floor. And then I'm going to ‑‑ I think it would be really great if we could get just some closing remarks from our speakers. Courtney, Anya, and Mijal. Sorry to put you on the spot. I know we've had a really interesting discussion here. I'd love to hear very brief final comments from you before we close.
So I'm going to pass it to the person here in the room first. Please introduce yourself.
>> Thanks, Dan. Thanks, everyone. It's been a really interesting discussion. My name is Zoe Hawkins. I'm from Australian government and Amazon Public Policy. Currently at the Oxford Internet Institute. I think there were very interesting comments made in terms of how an example Meta's content policy around pornography and what that's capturing. Other comments made about how potential advocacy point might be governments across the EU, for example, with the DSA around making sure that platforms are held to account on transparency.
There's another comment I wanted to add into the middle of that which is a bit of a feedback loop sometimes between what governments are putting in those online safety regulations then what positions companies like Meta might be taking on their policies. I do think that the ‑‑ I would emphasize that part of the reason that that bar is so low sometimes for Meta is a defensive response to the quite aggressive regulation coming out from online safety.
So the extent people are concerned about news organisations or certain social initiatives, particularly around sexual health, are concerned about that being blocked or having pages removed.
Another advocacy point would be the governments that are putting immense pressure on some of those companies to, if particular, I'll use an Australian example. Having industry codes developed where the expectation from the Safety Commissioner is there be no material that is sort of not child suitable in certain circumstances. I think all those kinds of conversations are possibly leading to where those ‑‑ the overcorrection and over‑censorship might be coming from. So just another point of advocacy for those that are interested. Thank you.
>> DANIEL O'MALEY: Great. Thanks for that observation and that perspective from a government perspective.
Now, Anya, I'm wondering if you'd be able to give us closing remarks. Anya, Mijal and Courtney. Very briefly. We only have ten more minutes. I'm told by our staff in Ethiopia, the IGF staff, we need to wrap up soon.
>> ANYA SCHIFFRIN: Thank you. I think the discussion is absolutely fascinating. It shows, again, how difficult policy design is. And how many sort of exemptions there are to the rules and how different different countries are and different situations are.
So I think that it's pretty clear that we're going to find a lot of different answers and questions as we proceed.
I think it's interesting we haven't really talked about Twitter. Because in the U.S., that's something everybody's talking about right now. The fact that they've let go their content moderators. That many people have told me in the last couple weeks there's really no one to call anymore about, you know, illegal or hate speech or violence threats that are appearing.
I think what we're probably going to see is even more fragmentation around the world. And I that in terms of regulation, I think the EU is going to continue to play a leading role. And that raises all the points that Courtney loves to talk about and remind us of which is these laws are being designed in Europe without necessarily any consideration for how they're going to affect the rest of the world.
I think it's really important that we have these conversations. There's a lot more work for us all to do. I'm really happy that you're looking more into data.
I have to believe that a lot of that data exists and it's just a question of trying to get big companies to release it. I think the analytics are very developed in many parts of the world. And, you know, maybe some of the transparency requirements for the big platforms will actually help us get some of that data that we would love to see out of Meta and Google, among other places. Thank you very much for including me in this.
>> DANIEL O'MALEY: Great. Thank you, Anya. I want to put it on the record there was a big round of laughter when you mentioned Twitter. The elephant in the room. Going to pass it to Mijal for final comments.
>> MIJAL IASTREBNER: I agree about the Twitter comments. I see this conversation progress focusing on Meta and Google policies. And really leaving Twitter and other platforms behind. And I think it's our responsibility to bring the conversation to all the relevant platforms for the users.
I just wanted to bring to the conversation as a final remark that even though I absolutely agree, this is a fascinating conversation. And there's a lot to do. And it's really hard to do something with a global perspective. But I really value all the things that we got from this conversation.
For me, it's important to maybe highlight that the Internet is an ever‑changing ecosystem. For the media to have a strong strategy and a strong mission. Make that as the centre of the livelihood of the media. To be able to carry that strategy from one platform to the other. In fact, it's more meaningful than reach. Reach can be momentary. Impact is everlasting. Working around your community needs and challenges is and will always be the most effective development plan for media. And it's really important that we discuss these policies. It's also important to keep talking about the social impact of this media to avoid being metric‑centric. And reach centric. And start thinking about the social role or public interest content, et cetera. Thank you very much. This is fascinating. I feel honored to be part of this conversation.
>> DANIEL O'MALEY: Great. Thank you, Mijal. That's a really important point. Given that we were talking about the power of platforms. At some point, we want to also empower news institutions and make sure they're strong so they can be more resilient in these changing times.
So thank you. And now Courtney. For your final comments.
>> COURTNEY RADSCH: Great. Thank you so much. I couldn't agree with Anya and Mijal more. Let me add a couple thoughts. I think there's something fundamentally different about Google, Meta, and Facebook and the role ‑‑ sorry, Facebook‑Meta, Google, and the role they play in the news ecosystem today. There's a fundamental (?) against Twitter. A lot of influencers are there. They don't own the infrastructure that are embedded into the news organisations in which most news organisations depend on to get their news out. I think we do want to be thoughtful about that. We didn't talk about, for example, payment processing platforms. That turns out ‑‑ some of the research I'm doing now talking to journalists around the world, if you're working in many countries, it's really hard to access those financial platforms. We should talk about platforms more broadly but also be specific in what we're talking about. How that links to news media sustainability and Internet Governance challenges that brings up.
I think I just want to end this conversation by saying how delighted I am that this conversation has really advanced in a way and this Dynamic Coalition. Because I think when we started it, it was a little bit of a heavy lift to convince people why a Dynamic Coalition on journalism and news media sustainability belonged at the Internet Governance Forum. And trying to explain, you know, these concept papers about why Internet Governance fundamentally shapes the sustainability of news. And I think that, you know, between the pandemic, you know, the election issues, you know, I won't list them all here. We've always realized that the way we govern these platforms and the Internet more broadly has a fundamental impact on news and journalism, which is a public good. And which is fundamental to democratic governance and to accountable governance.
So it's really helpful to hear this discussion here. I hope we will see more companies and governments engaging in this Dynamic Coalition. One of the big challenges which we all alluded to here is you have this proliferation of legislation coming up. I think as the speaker earlier said, the e‑safety bills, all these online safety bills, this tension between safety for children, you know, and countering violent extremism. All of this really can be intentioned with the ability of news organisations to exist and sustain online.
So, you know, my core point as Anya alluded to, policymakers, you need to think about the secondhand impacts on news media. Because you might be developing something that doesn't seem to have any implications for news. But if it's dealing with content online, it's going to have an impact. So we need to be proactive in considering what those are. Mitigating against them. Ensuring the sustainability of news media in the country you live in but also around the world. So thanks so much, Dan, and everyone in the room and my fellow panelists.
>> DANIEL O'MALEY: Great. Thank you, Courtney. I want to thank our other panelists, Anya and Mijal, for a great panel session. Thank you to Waqas and Laura for also participating virtually online. And all our participants online and in the room.
We also need to give a round of applause for our technical assistants here in Ethiopia who made this all possible. We couldn't have done such an excellent hybrid panel without them.
I also want to thank the people who are doing the closed captioning for our event which is really important when we talk about, you know, think about issues of inclusion and news and access. So really, thank you for the work that you do.
And one more plug for the people who are here. I've been told by the organizers that there's a reception from 6:00 to 9:00 in the UN Conference Centre. And everyone is encouraged to come.
With that, this Dynamic Coalition Working Session is now adjourned. Thank you.
>> WAQAS NAEEM: There's a reception, Dan. We need that. Take care, everyone. Have a great rest of the IGF. Thank you so much.
>> Bye, thanks, everyone.
>> DANIEL O'MALEY: Bye, everyone, online. Thank you so much.