Public broadcasters collaborate to reclaim online public spaces with creation of "Public Spaces Incubator"
CBC/Radio-Canada partners with Belgian, German and Swiss public broadcasters to develop solutions to address increasingly toxic, polarized and unsafe online discourse
OTTAWA, ON, Feb. 8, 2023 /CNW/ - Public broadcasters CBC/Radio-Canada, RTBF (Belgium), SRG SSR (Switzerland) and ZDF (Germany) are joining forces to explore new ways for public service media to support citizen engagement and democratic discourse. The new "Public Spaces Incubator" (PSI) initiative will develop and test innovative solutions that encourage accessible and meaningful online conversations on issues of public interest, free from harassment or bullying — inclusive exchanges that will reflect diverse viewpoints and promote greater empathy and understanding, without suppressing perspectives or ideas.
"This partnership of four of the world's leading public broadcasters underlines our collective and common purpose to address one of the most threatening phenomena of our time — unfettered online abuse. Online spaces that are free from disinformation, misinformation, harassment and abuse are near extinction. The social media environment has splintered into so many echo chambers that exclude diversity of opinion, discourage debate and silence dissent. Now is the time for public service media like CBC/Radio-Canada to play a role in reversing this trend.
"Together, we want to step up, discover and experiment with new ways of engaging our respective populations, connecting our communities and facilitating bridge-building dialogue that will strengthen our civic and democratic life."
—Catherine Tait, President and CEO, CBC/Radio-Canada
Work on this research and development project will be done in collaboration with New_ Public, a nonprofit organization led by seasoned online participation experts that focuses on building healthy digital spaces. In line with the four broadcasters' public service mandates to inform and enlighten, the project will focus on serving public knowledge and creating positive social connections.
CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada's national public broadcaster. Through our mandate to inform, enlighten and entertain, we play a central role in strengthening Canadian culture. As Canada's trusted news source, we offer a uniquely Canadian perspective on news, current affairs and world affairs. Our distinctively homegrown entertainment programming draws audiences from across the country. Deeply rooted in communities, CBC/Radio-Canada offers diverse content in English, French and eight Indigenous languages. We also deliver content in Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Punjabi and Tagalog, as well as both official languages, through Radio Canada International (RCI). We are leading the transformation to meet the needs of Canadians in a digital world.
The RTBF is a public enterprise of a cultural nature. It is the public service media of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. It produces, publishes and distributes content on all platforms: TV, radio, web, social networks and its Auvio streaming platform. Audiences are at the heart of its productions and creations, while respecting their diversity. The RTBF group aims to create social ties with them and between them.To convey the values of public service in an increasingly digital society, it fulfills the following missions: to guarantee pluralistic and independent information, to promote culture, to ensure the enhancement of heritage and talent and to work for memory, but also to entertain , educate and contribute to the development of local economies.
About SRG SSR
SRG SSR is made up of five Enterprise Units (RSI, RTR, RTS, SRF, SWI swissinfo.ch) and its General Management (Group Head Office). The SRG SSR Group also includes two subsidiaries. With a total of 6,900 employees, equating to 5,500 full-time posts, an annual turnover of 1.53 billion francs, 17 radio stations, 7 television channels and a wide range of complementary websites and teletext services, SRG SSR is Switzerland's biggest electronic media company. Its radio stations lead their respective markets in all four language regions – as do the television channels at prime time. SRG SSR services successfully hold their own against a variety of competing foreign broadcasters with greater financial muscle. SRG SSR media inform, entertain, and also have an educational function. They distribute their services round the clock on the same terms to everyone in Switzerland, no matter where they are, via radio, television, the Internet, HbbTV, teletext and mobile technologies.
ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen) is Germany's national public television broadcaster. It is run as an independent non-profit corporation under the authority of the Länder, the sixteen states that constitute the Federal Republic of Germany.
The nationwide channel ZDF has been broadcasting since 1st April 1963 and remains one of the country's leading sources of information. Today, ZDF also operates the two thematic channels ZDFneo and ZDFinfo. In partnership with other public broadcasters, ZDF jointly operates the internet-only offer funk, the German content network funk and the channels PHOENIX and KiKA, and the European channels 3sat and ARTE.
About New_ Public
New_ Public works with communities, researchers, engineers, and designers to envision, architect, and scale healthy digital public spaces. We bring together a growing field committed to creating digital community-building platforms that serve as infrastructure to strengthen democracy.
With their foundational work on Civic Signals, co-founders Eli Pariser and Talia Stroud developed a framework to inform the design of existing digital platforms, and inspire and shape the platforms that will emerge in the years to come. Today, led by Eli and co-director Deepti Doshi, New_ Public's team of designers, technologists, futurists, and community-builders develop and champion design patterns for helping people feel Welcome, Understand one another, Connect, and Act as well as govern, care for, and maintain social technologies.
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