Digital citizenship to tackle fake news and alternative facts

Digital experts offer solutions to online issues at UNESCO NGO Global Forum hosted by MiSK in Riyadh

3rd May 2017 – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – A panel of digital experts has called for programs to teach digital citizenship to help combat the issue of fake news.

Speaking at the UNESCO NGO Global Forum hosted by MiSK in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jonathan Birdwell, Head of Policy at the Institute for Strategic Studies in the United Kingdom, said:  “Citizens have responsibilities, and those responsibilities also need to be applied in the online space.

“Part of that responsibility is ‘think before you share information,’ another is responding to cyber bullying, not just ignoring it and hoping that someone else will deal with it.”

Birdwell was joined on the panel discussing how to optimize the impact of the digital native by Deemah AlYahya from the National Digitalization Office of Saudi Arabia; Kamel Al-Asmar, Founder, Nakhweh, United Arab Emirates; Dejan Bojanić, Vice-President, European Youth Forum, Sweden; and Samiha Khelifa, Associate Professor, Sousse University, Tunisia.

Another initiative developed through discussion at the Forum is the creation of an influencers’ social responsibility (ISR) network.   Explaining the concept Kamel Al-Asmar, Founder of Nakhweh, said:  “Apart from adding social media in the curriculum, there is also a role for online influencers who are role models.

“We believe there is a role for governments and NGOs to approach influencers online to make them understand the importance of the message they send out about certain causes, whether it’s healthcare, energy or volunteering.  These individuals have tremendous influence over young people.”

One of the areas of focus for ISR is the intention to use these influential voices to design the most effective programs that tackle cyber bullying.

The two day UNESCO NGO Global Forum is hosted by the MiSK Foundation which was founded by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman with a mission to empower, nurture and inspire Saudi Arabia’s youth to become active participants in the global economy.

The Forum has attracted over 2,100 delegates from more than 400 NGOs representing 70 countries.