Strengthening the Integrity and Transparency of Elections in the Age of Social Media

05 February 2018

UNESCO and the Global Network Initiative (GNI)* are co-hosting a symposium that will examine ways to maximize the benefits of digital technology in enhancing the transparency and integrity of elections, on 8 February at UNESCO’s Headquarters (10 am to 1 pm, Room XI).

New technologies are affecting politics and elections in particular. Political parties and candidates use social media to reach out to constituents, mobilize supporters and raise funds, while voters use them to get involved in campaigns, and engage politicians and each other about election-related issues. Such multidirectional activity can strengthen the integrity and transparency of electoral processes and enriches democracy. It can also lend itself to misuse, or abuse, in ways that may affect election results and undermine confidence in the integrity of democratic processes.

The symposium will bring together representatives of civil society, electoral agencies, ICT companies, UN agencies engaged in electoral assistance, along with journalists, and academics, to examine existing initiatives and explore new means to reduce the risk of abuse and foster multi-stakeholder cooperation.

Getachew Engida, Deputy Director-General of UNESCO, will open the event alongside Judith Lichtenberg, Executive Director of GNI, and Simon Pierre Nanitelamio, Deputy Director of the Electoral Assistance Division of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs.

The event will feature two panels, one on “Network availability, security and integrity around elections” the other on “Enhancing the quality of information around elections.” Notable participants will include senior managers from Google, Microsoft, Orange, as well as a Deputy Head of Division for Democracy and Electoral Observation of the European Commission, the President of France’s broadcasting regulatory authority, the Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel, a Deputy Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Chairperson of Ghana’s National Media Commission.

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To access the audio recordings and the final report, visit: https://en.unesco.org/integrity-of-elections

Media contact: UNESCO Media Services, Roni Amelan, r.amelan@unesco.org

Media Accreditation : Djibril Kebe, UNESCO Media Services, d.kebe@unesco.org

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*GNI is a multi-stakeholder organization of information and communication technology companies, civil society organizations, academics, and socially responsible investors, working collaboratively to promote and protect freedom of expression and privacy on the Internet.