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Information and Communication Overload Causing Loss of Trust in the Pakistani Media

AGAHI Awards, Mishal Pakistan and AGAHI in collaboration with UNESCO’s Media and Information Literacy organize interactive workshop to address the hazards of information disorder

Islamabad, PK – 29 October 2021 – Information Disorder is the sharing or developing of false information with or without the intent of harming others. It is categorized as Disinformation, Misinformation and Mal-information and is damaging people’s consumption of fact-based information hygiene around the world. AGAHI Awards, AGAHI and Mishal Pakistan collaborated on UNESCO’s initiative, Media, and Information Literacy (MIL), to improve understanding of “Information Disorder” and organized a series of brief sessions. This is the tenth annual global celebration of MIL week initiatives. This week media and information practitioners around the world are focusing on “Media and Information Literacy for the Public Good”.

“The societal consciousness needs to be built where TRUST becomes the currency of appreciation,” said Amir Jahangir CEO Mishal Pakistan and RINSTRA, during his opening session while reiterating the importance of increasing awareness about Information Disorder.

Joining the online session, Osama Bin Javaid Senior Journalist with Al Jazeera TV talked about the current state of affairs in the information world, Haaris Chaudhary CEO Universal Service Fund discussed expanding access and the Future of Internet Governance, Dr. Najma Sadiq Head of Department Mass Communication National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) explained the Information Disorder in the context of Pakistan’s Media Landscape. Bushra Khurshid Lecturer Water Resources Management of the Lasbela University of Agriculture, Water and Marines Sciences elaborated on information warfare and water. Dr. Adil Akhtar, one the leading oncologist from the United States and Chairman RINSTRA examined the impact of disinformation on healthcare systems while Puruesh Chaudhary Founder and President AGAHI and Amna Sabahat Executive Lead AGAHI Awards and Director Strategy Mishal Pakistan moderated the sessions.

People across the world are witnessing a dramatic increase in access to information and communication. While some people are starved for information, others are flooded with print, broadcast, and digital content. According to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, 70% of respondents with “good” information hygiene said they would take a COVID-19 vaccine within a year’s time, compared with just 59% of those with “poor” information hygiene.

Puruesh Chaudhary Founder and President AGAHI, said that there are almost 500 trained psychiatrists in the country and mental health is becoming a serious challenge with millions unattended imagine if majority develop information disorder syndrome, that would be a catastrophic health crisis.

In the next 12-18 months approximately 40 million Pakistanis would have access to the internet and will be empowered through meaningful connectivity, expanding access, and bridging digital inequality in Pakistan. – Haaris Chaudhary, Chief Executive Officer, Universal Support Fund

Haaris Chaudhary, CEO Universal Service Fund, while talking about expanding access and potential future of internet governance said that expanding access and bridging digital inequality in Pakistan is our focus at Universal Service Fund. In the next 12-18 months approximately 40 million Pakistanis would have access to the internet and will be empowered through meaningful connectivity.

By enabling just about anyone to create and widely distribute content, it has made it increasingly difficult for social media companies to balance the need to fact-check with the need to preserve freedom of speech. More than half of the respondents surveyed for a report published by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and the University of Oxford in 2018 said they were concerned about what is real on the internet. As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, and new and troubling variants are discovered, people everywhere are relying as much as possible on credible news outlets for helpful information.

The Global Alliance for Partnerships on Media and Information Literacy has been officially changed to simply the UNESCO Media and Information Literacy Alliance. The fundamental objectives of the MIL Alliance are to articulate key strategic partnerships to drive MIL development globally; enabling the MIL community to speak and address, with a unified voice, critical matters, including the need for policies; and further deepen the strategy for MIL to be treated as a composite concept by providing a common platform for MIL-related networks and associations globally that will ensure convergence of regional and international initiative and amplification of global impact.

Mishal Pakistan and AGAHI have been partners of the UNESCO MIL partner for the past seven years, where both the organizations have jointly created more public policy space around credibility and responsibility of quality journalism in Pakistan.

Inaugurated on March 28th, 2012, the AGAHI Awards are an annual series of journalism awards in Pakistan. AGAHI Awards are Pakistan’s first ever journalism awards recognizing the best journalists across print, television, radio, and the internet on more than 50 different journalism thematic beats. AGAHI and Mishal Pakistan organize these awards in collaboration with leading press clubs across the country, local and international media development bodies, academia, regulatory authorities, and the private sector.

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