Nobel laureate delivers speech at Palestine Digital Activism Forum 2023

Today, Tuesday, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and human rights activist, Tawakkol Karman, delivered a speech at a conference organized by the Palestine Digital Activism Forum 2023 in coordination with Meta’s Oversight Board as part of the Arab Center for the Development of Social Media's campaign.

In her address, Tawakkol Karman emphasized the importance of social media networks investing in strong content moderation mechanisms, tackling hate speech, and eradicating harmful content.

Karman added, "They can establish guidelines and regulations that better protect the right to free expression while combating the misuse of these platforms. Moreover they should also ensure to keep regional sensitivities and perspectives in mind when creating these policies and practices to no further enhance historic marginalization and discrimination".

Despite the challenges faced in the Middle East, as Karman emphasized in her speech, social media platforms remain a powerful tool that empowers individuals to pursue freedom, justice, and democracy, while simultaneously serving as a means to combat oppression, corruption, racism, and terrorism.

By playing a crucial role in increasing global awareness, mobilizing support, and pressuring governments and international organizations to take necessary actions, as Karman pointed out, social media campaigns have facilitated citizen journalism, acted as a tool for advocacy, and amplified marginalized voices.

According to Karman, however, the impact of social media on the Arab Spring and the Palestinian cause is not without its challenges. While these platforms have played a role in driving change, they have also been exploited to spread misleading information, divisive narratives, and hate speech.

Due to their unfiltered nature and fast-paced environment, as Karman noted, social media platforms have, in the context of the Arab Spring, helped spread rumors and targeted information, resulting in polarization and violence at times.

As Karman pointed out, oppressive regimes in the region misuse technology and employ misleading information to target their own people. Propaganda machinery often resorts to electronic flies, supporters of the regimes with influence and media personnel, as well as fake accounts to spread false stories about opponents or detractors, or to tarnish the reputation of journalists.

Empowering individuals with digital literacy and critical thinking skills is crucial, as Karman emphasized, to combat the challenges of oppressive regimes in the region that misuse technology and employ misleading information to manipulate their own people. Providing individuals with the necessary tools to distinguish reliable information from unreliable one is an important step in promoting a more aware and responsible virtual environment.


To read full speech click here


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