By Francesca Romana
Social media for peace: this is the name of the UNESCO project involving Bosnia and Herzegvina among three pilot countries for its trial run until 2023. As can be seen from the project’s web page, its objectives are:
1- Enhanced understanding of the root causes, scale, and impact of potentially harmful content and of the effectiveness of the tools to address it in 3 pilot countries;
2- Improved curbing of potentially harmful content online in 3 pilot countries;
3- Enhanced promotion and support of peace-building narratives and initiatives through digital technologies and social media.
If it is true that digitization has allowed a greater dissemination of information, it is also true that digital platforms can become real tools for spreading hatred and disinformation. Yet another proof of this was brought to the world with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, that has affected the whole world, and with regards to the current Russian invasion of Ukraine, both of which have seen vast misinformation campaigns and hate speech.
The primary intent is to make effective and maximize the use of social media to produce and share the construction of peace also through the promotion of initiatives using this innovative system of communication.
The project is therefore part of a broader general strategy to promote information as a public good and to achieve in particular the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 16 whose purpose is precisely: promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institution at all levels.
In addition to the use of human rights as a starting point to defining the rules that this type of communication must give itself, the strategy in this sense must also take into account the social and cultural environment in which it is immersed: social, cultural and linguistic nuances they must be taken into account and at the same time sensitizing young people in particular, to the development of an inclusive and non-divisive dialogue.
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