Director of the Institute of Governance and Politics of Latin America and the Caribbean, Mr. Augustine Ferdinand, was a panellist at the 2023 Global Coordination and Training (GCTF) Media Literacy Forum by the Embassy of Taiwan in Saint Lucia, the U.S. Embassy in Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the OECS, and the Government of Saint Lucia.
The forum, held on Friday, November 17, 2023, at the Sandals Halcyon Beach Resort in Castries, Saint Lucia, focused on “Constructing Democratic Resilience in the Face of Misinformation and Disinformation.” It was attended by journalists, experts, government officials, ambassadors (including Taiwan’s ambassador to SVG, Fiona Huei Chun Fan), and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
The forum provided a venue for stakeholders, policymakers, and experts to collaborate on strategies to strengthen democratic resilience and share best practises. During his presentation, Mr. Ferdinand emphasised the dangers of fake news in undermining democratic systems, media, and state institutions, citing the Cambridge Analytica scandal and its impact on the Brexit campaign in the United Kingdom, in which the company not only used Facebook data to target voters with misinformation through advertisements, but it also fabricated sex scandals and manipulated false information to sway voters in other ways.
He also emphasised the significance of media literacy in developing critical thinking skills and enabling individuals to recognise manipulation and untrustworthy information and sources.
He further stressed the importance of the Caribbean region to develop a Caribbean Regional Code of Practise for media entities and investing in AI fact-checking technology through various regional organisations and institutions to combat fake news and misinformation. He stated that this is especially important considering the recent dangers demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine-related issues, where some citizens believed the COVID19 virus was a hoax or that the COVID-19 vaccines were unsafe.
The Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF) provides global and regional training and capacity building. The GCTF promotes peace, prosperity, and long-term development, as well as a free, open, and rules-based global order.