On the occasion of the Global Conference for Media Freedom jointly hosted by the UK and Canada in London on July 10 and 11, a group of digital diplomats, allies, and partners in Washington, D.C. are coming together again to provide answers to the public’s questions on media freedom and literacy in a unified social media campaign.
The informal group, initially brought about as a legacy of the Stockholm Initiative for Digital Diplomacy (SIDD), the first international digital diplomacy conference, held in Stockholm, Sweden in 2014, has long recognized the importance of being able to share and access credible information online. With this idea in mind, and following the great success of recent campaigns, the group of six Embassies (@SwedeninUSA, @ukinusa, @ItalyinUS, @SpainInTheUSA, @SwissEmbassyUSA, @CanEmbUSA), the U.S. Department of State (@StateDRL), the Freedom Forum Institute’s NewseumED (@NewseumED), and the Digital Diplomacy Coalition (@digidiplomats) is at it again, this time to bring attention to two topics of paramount importance: media freedom and literacy.
A key objective of the July Global Conference is defending media freedom and improving the safety of journalists worldwide. Media freedom—and freedom of expression and the press more broadly—are indispensable to transparent and accountable governance, as well as informed, peaceful deliberation in free and open societies. Digital-driven evolutions in the way we distribute and consume news have created new challenges to media freedom—including the struggle to identify credible and reliable news sources and mitigate the harmful effects of violent speech.
The project aims to help the public understand and address these challenges. How are they doing it? They took to the streets of Washington, D.C. to see what questions people from across the world had for journalists:
How do I know if a source I’m reading is reliable?
What role will advanced technology play in censorship and media freedom?
Are journalists ever tempted to embellish a story to add dramatic effect?
They will provide answers to those questions and more, ahead of the Global Conference for Media Freedom. Follow them on July 9 with the hashtag #DiplomacyUnited and maybe they will answer your questions, too!
 In honor of International Women’s Day 2019, the group used their social media presences to show unity and support for fostering an online environment in which women feel safe sharing their opinions and participating in important discussions. (See more here and view the Twitter moment here.)
The Stockholm Initiative for Digital Diplomacy was conceived in 2014 by the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The local DC chapter has continued the work of SIDD through the creation of a multilateral network of local embassies focused on establishing strong working relationships for joint initiatives based on common goals and sharing best practices on digital diplomacy. The Embassy of Sweden is the chair of the local chapter.