Last week, Croakey hosted an online #CroakeyLIVE discussion about the potential for government intervention to interrupt the damaging corporate domination of vital digital communications infrastructure, using the hashtag #DigitalNationBuilding.
Read a report about this event: Amid the Twitter bin fire, time for Australia to do some digital nation building?
Arising from the discussions is the following set of draft principles – rendered even more timely as Meta blocks access to news on its platforms Facebook and Instagram in Canada, despite the urgent need for reliable news and information in the midst of a wildfire crisis forcing the evacuation of thousands of people.
Croakey invites readers to become signatories to the statement below, and to provide comments and further suggestions.
- Digital platforms/communications infrastructure is vital for the health and wellbeing of people, communities, Country and the planet. In an era of escalating crises and emergencies, including climate disruption, it should be regarded as essential infrastructure that must be accessible and available for all, noting its importance in emergency communications in particular.
- Digital platforms/communications infrastructure should be a safe space for diverse communities, and for respectful interactions and communications, as well as the sharing of reliable, relevant news and information. It should not incentivise or support the sharing of misinformation and disinformation.
- Digital platforms/communications infrastructure should centre the public interest, rather than being driven by corporate imperatives that actively undermine health and wellbeing.
- Governments have a role in supporting innovation, growth and greater diversity in this sector, including through seeding of not-for-profit or other non-corporate models, and more effective regulation of Big Tech.
- The expertise and values of First Nations peoples should inform development of this sector.
- Equity considerations should underpin developments and discussions in this space.
- Young people are also central to these discussions. People and communities who have particularly benefited from the platform formerly provided by Twitter, including people with disabilities, lived experience of health challenges, poverty, housing insecurity, and incarceration, also have much to contribute to this discussion.
- The health sector, researchers, professional organisations and other forms of institutional power have an important role in these discussions, and should be engaging with civil society, as well as tech researchers, developers and advocates, and policymakers.
- The health workforce, including researchers, clinicians, policymakers, public health and health promotions professionals, educators, community members, carers and NGOs, should be supported to develop greater skills and knowledge in this area.
- Digital platforms/communications infrastructure should contribute to community cohesion and the sharing and development of knowledge, networks and connections, at local, national and global levels.
Professor Ginny Barbour
Alison Barrett, Croakey Health Media
Jennifer Doggett, Croakey Health Media
Marie McInerney, Croakey Health Media
Claire Prideaux, Senior Policy Officer, The Lowitja Institute
Dr Melissa Sweet, Croakey Health Media
Luke van der Beeke
Professor Megan Williams, Croakey Health Media
Other signatories are invited
To add your signature, please include your name and details in the comments, or contact Croakey via social media or email.
See Croakey’s archive of articles on #DigitalNationBuilding