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Opening the World Forum for Democracy, PACE President sets out the challenges faced by democracy in the information age

New technologies can be abused, generating hatred and sexist or other stereotypes leading to discrimination, but they can also make the democratic process more reactive to citizens’ expectations, PACE President Liliane Maury Pasquier has said, opening the World Forum for Democracy.

The Forum, which this year asks the question “Is democracy in danger in the information age?”, is taking place over three days from 6-8 November in Strasbourg, and brings together intellectuals, politicians, activists, experts and young people from all over the world.

“How can we be sure that the information we receive is reliable, when we are all being exposed to more and more ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’, not to mention propaganda and deliberate disinformation?” asked the President in an opening address.

“The professionalism of the traditional media, as well as their codes of ethics, are surely a safeguard – even if these media are unfortunately under great pressure, including financial pressure – but what about social media networks?” she asked.

“And how are we to improve the way we protect journalists against pressure, intimidation and even outright physical violence?” she continued.

The Forum is organised by the Council of Europe, in partnership with Strasbourg City Council, the Bas-Rhin Département, the Grand Est Region and the French Government. A number of PACE members will be taking part.