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Experts signpost areas of regulations of digital platforms

by Editor

Experts in communication and management of information highway have asserted that there is need to regulate the Digital platforms in order to safeguard the society from having access to destructive media contents.

The experts made the submission at the Independent Community Consultation on “UNESCO’s Version 3.0 Guidelines on Safeguarding Freedom of Expression and Access to Information For a Multi Stakeholders Approach in the intent of Regulating Digital Platforms”, organised by the Daily Link Digital Media held at the NUJ Press Centre, Offa Road, Ilorin, on Tuesday, June 20, 2023.

Among the experts, Professor Rasheed Gbenga Jimoh, and Dr Lukman Kayode Mustapha, Mr Kunle Akogun, the trio, are from the University of Ilorin.
In his submission on the topic, “Ensuring Flexible Guidelines for Regulation of Digital Platforms in the Era of Emerging Technology”,the immediate past Dean, Faculty of Communication and Information Sciences (CIS), University of Ilorin, Professor Rasheed Gbenga Jimoh, explained that regulation of digital platforms requires flexible guidelines to keep pace with emerging technologies.

Prof. Jimoh, who is also an information and cybersecurity expert added that regular review, technology-neutral approaches, collaboration, sand box environments, adaptive governance models and international cooperation are essential strategies.

The don observed that embracing flexibility, regulations can ensure effective oversight while promoting innovations and safeguarding user interests.

He emphasised that exploring adaptive governance models that can respond dynamically to technologies advancements, and also utilise frameworks that allow for interactive decision making and continuous monitoring, as well as adaptive governance models and foster flexibility by adopting to changing contexts and knowledge.

The immediate past Head of Department of Mass Communication, Dr Kayode Lambe Mustapha, who spoke on “Digital Content Management,” said that digital assets include digital texts, audio and video clips, for retrieval and repurposing in media production environments.

“Digital assets, including digital texts, audio and video clips, for retrieval and repurposing in media production environments. It is the king in any information and communication ecosystem. It is equivocation that can provoke and unprovoked. It is also a software of information and communication ecology,” he said.

According to him, in any information and communication ecosystem, content is the king and equivocation which can provoke and unprovoked, adding that it is also the software of information and communication ecology, “hence the need for regulation in the best interest of individuals and the society content”.

He said that the scope of content, which included to entertain, inspire, educate, and convince, it is also to make informed decisions, hold government and corporations accountable,facilitate rational debates and engagements and to foreground the exploration other rights.

He said that managing digital content is a set of processes allowing businesses to streamline digital content production, allocation and distribution; preservation, organization and dissemination services for digital collections, promises increased access to informational resources; and digital service providers need to take responsibilities for ethical and socially-responsible digital content.

“Version 3.0 guidelines and content management focus on the structures and processes to moderate and curate content-and not in individual piece of content, legitimate restrictions of content as stated in international instruments of human rights, respect human rights in content moderation and curation. They have content moderation and curation policies and practices consistent with human rights standards, implemented algorithmically and through human means, with adequate protection and support for human moderators,” he said.

The Communication expert suggested that there should be in-built mechanisms by algorithmic and human moderators to ensure that users who violate the ‘rules of engagement’, after being educated and empowered about digital content, are flagged and considered as threat to digital space whose content need to be subjected to serious scrutiny prior exposure; and create education platform to adequately teach on need for content moderation and curation and important contingencies.

In his contribution on the topic: “Principle-based document or detailed regulatory guidelines for Digital platforms,” a public analyst, Dr. David Ehindero, said that UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, has been involved in various efforts related to the regulation of digital platforms, among it include Development of Internet Universality Indicators, promotion of media and information literacy, policy development, and collaboration with other organisations.

Dr Ehindero disclosed that regulation of digital platforms is a complex and rapidly evolving area, as technology continues to evolve and the impact of digital platforms on society becomes more apparent.

He said that the choice between principle-based documents and detailed regulations and guidelines will depend on the specific context and goals of the regulation, as well as the needs of the stakeholders involved, adding that it may, however, be appropriate to use a combination of both approaches to strike a balance between flexibility and specificity.

Speaking on the topic, “Juxtaposing Public interest and international human rights Law: the context, traps, burdens, conspiracies and way forward,” a human rights activist, Comrade Otitolaye Taiwo, who said that considering public interest and global conspiracies, added that globally, we are witnessing high level conflicts in the practice and use of the public interest, hence the need for public interest on digital platforms.

“There is need to provide a global approach that fits into the international human rights precepts and universality of public interest that does not give upper hands to any region, country or individuals should be ratified, and adopted in practice by UN states.

“There must be consequences for any member state that violates this charter. The crux of the difficulty is the question of who enforces the sanctions for consequences in a global conspiracy of the strong against the weak”, he stressed.

Earlier in his goodwill message, the Director of Corporate Affairs, University of Ilorin, Mr Kunle Akogun, commended the organisers of the event for the choice of the crucial topic being discussed.

The Director described journalism as multidimensional profession, where the media practitioners are expected to know little about everything in life.

Mr Akogun, who is also the editor of the UNILORIN BULLETIN (University magazine), therefore charged media professionals to desist from the practice of ‘they said’, ‘they added’ but endeavour to educate and inform the general public positively and also advised them to make this engagement an international benefit of every Nigerian.

Other dignitaries that spoke at the event included the trio convener, Mr Omotayo Ayanda; Prince Yemi Adurotoye; Mr Biodun Abdulkareem; the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists(NUJ), Kwara State, Mr ‘Lateef Ahmed, and several others.

The event was attended by over 100 operators in the media industry and technology related disciplines across the State who joined both physically and virtually.

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