Forum on Information and Democracy Issues Calls for Contributions to Create International Observatory on Information and Democracy

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Christophe Deloire
President, Board of Director

The Forum on Information and Democracy has issued a worldwide call to institutions, experts, jurists and researchers working on the structure of the information and communication space and its evaluation for contributions to help create the international Observatory on Information and Democracy.

The call for contributions was launched in the framework of the prefiguration of the International Observatory on Information and Democracy announced during the first Summit for Information and Democracy on September 24, 2021.

It is aimed at gathering ideas and recommendations from experts representing different fields and regions which will feed the development of the Observatory, notably on the evaluation of the impact of digital platforms on democracy, the working methodology to write evaluation reports of the information and communication space, and the governance of the Observatory.

It is targeted at researchers and experts from all disciplines including computer science, cognitive science, sociology, economics, political science, philosophy, etc, interested in the question of the effects of the new information ecosystem on democracy. It is addressed to researchers, institutions, and other organizations, whether State or independent, NGOs, companies, concerned by Information and Democracy.

The Observatory will run periodic evaluations of the global information and communication space. It will provide states and society as a whole with a global understanding of the structure of this space and how it impacts democracy around the world.

To define the methodology, objectives and resources of the Observatory, the Forum has launched a prefiguration group co-chaired by Shoshana Zuboff, Emeritus Professor at Harvard Business School and author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism; and Angel Gurria, former Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Its steering committee is currently composed of 10 prominent figures, including 2021 Nobel peace prize laureate, Maria Ressa.

Contributors are welcome to bring their ideas to the prefiguration of the Observatory and the topics mentioned above. The team of rapporteurs is particularly seeking contributions on the following topics (non-exclusive list):

  • What are the main expectations of researchers in the domain of the Observatory?
  • What are their needs (in terms of access to data, transparency) to achieve a reliable assessment of the phenomena;
  • How to evaluate the impact of digital platforms development on democracy?
  • What should be the working methodology for the production of the report?
  • What should be the governance for the Observatory to guarantee the fairness of the reports?
  • How will institutions and researchers be asked to contribute?
  • What forms should the report take and how should it be presented?
  • What are the main difficulties for the realization of the Observatory?

The rapporteurs encourage contributors to be precise in which domain of research they are invested in, and how they think they could benefit from and contribute to the Observatory in the coming years.

The format of the contributions is open and can take various forms and sizes including: fact sheet or note, file, specific article, etc. Contributions are welcomed from individuals and institutions in English, French and Spanish. Contributors will be mentioned in the final report and are asked to disclose any links of interest with digital platforms.

Contributions should be sent to the team of rapporteurs of the prefiguration group, Florian Forestier: fforestier@informationdemocracy.org, and Chloé Fiodiere: cfiodiere@informationdemocracy.org.

The report from the prefiguration group will be published during the next Summit for Information and Democracy to be held in September 2022 on the margins of the UN General Assembly. The call for contributions is open until the end of May 2022.

The Forum on Information and Democracy is the implementing organization of the International Partnership for Information and Democracy endorsed by 45 countries. Founded by 11 NGOs and research centers, its mission is to implement democratic safeguards in the global information and communication space. It also has the mandate to evaluate the means, norms, and architectures of the information space. This will be developed by the International Observatory on Information and Democracy.