DG8 Summit 2023: Freedom of information and media freedom have never been more important — nor more at risk

10th October 2023
The annual summit of eight international public service media – the DG8 – from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States concluded on 6 October in Montréal.
TV cameras
TV cameras lined up, covering large public event. Credit: Microgen / istock
This press release was originally published by the members of the DG8.

Trusted news and verified information from independent public service media has never been more important, nor more challenging to produce, warned the DG8, a group of eight international public media organizations, at the conclusion of its annual summit.

As an increasing number of countries around the world censor independent media and violate press freedom, DG8 members called on international organizations to protect freedom of information and media freedom, both of which are essential to democratic societies and the protection of human rights. For example, more must be done to protect people’s right to Internet access and to curb Internet censorship.

Leaders from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the BBC World Service, CBC/Radio-Canada, Deutsche Welle, France Médias Monde, NHK WORLD-JAPAN, SRG SSR, and the United States Agency for Global Media met on October 4 and 5 in Montréal, under the presidency of CBC/Radio-Canada.

Catherine Tait, President and CEO, CBC/Radio-Canada, says: “Never has reliable news and information been so important and yet so under attack. In the face of growing disinformation, threats to the safety of journalists, funding pressures, and challenges to their continued existence, public service media must continue to demonstrate to their citizens that trusted, independent information is essential to a healthy society. The DG8 remains committed to addressing our common challenges, to better serve our publics and strengthen democracies around the globe.”

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In response to the challenges faced in the production and distribution of trusted news, the DG8 agreed to work together to address:

  • Misinformation and disinformation, which continue to proliferate. One response to these challenges is for news organizations worldwide to help audiences distinguish between what is real and what is fake. DG8 members each champion such efforts in different ways — some have adopted standards such as the Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI) certification from Reporters Without Borders (RSF), while others have focused on content provenance through initiatives such as the new Content Credentials standard. Launched in 2019, Content Credentials (originally called “Project Origin”) has evolved into an open-source, universal standard that is cryptographically secure, informing audiences when content has been altered or amended from its original state. This end-to-end solution was developed by an industry-wide group of content publishers, distribution platforms, and equipment manufacturers known as the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity (C2PA). The group includes the  BBC, CBC/Radio-Canada, The New York Times, Microsoft, Adobe, Omnicom, Publicis, Intel, Sony, and Arm.
  • News content blocking by intermediaries such as social media platforms and public authorities, which results in restricted access to audiences and decreased audience reach by public service media. The DG8 will monitor the policies and practices of digital giants such as Meta, which is blocking access to news content on its Facebook and Instagram platforms in Canada and phasing-out Facebook News in the United Kingdom, France and Germany. The DG8 will also study the impact of blocking access to public media content and consider the implications for other countries.
  • Increasing threats to journalists’ safety, which is contributing to a worldwide decline in media freedom. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 16 journalists have been killed so far in 2023, and 65 are missing. DG8 members will explore how they can respond more effectively, both individually and collectively.
  • The use of Artificial Intelligence in newsrooms. The DG8 will discuss establishing common standards and practices regarding AI.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) will assume the presidency of the DG8 in 2024.

About the DG8

The DG8 comprises eight international public service media organizations from Australia (ABC), Canada (CBC/Radio-Canada), France (France Médias Monde), Germany (Deutsche Welle), Japan (NHK WORLD-JAPAN), Switzerland (SRG SSR), the United Kingdom (BBC World Service), and the United States (U.S. Agency for Global Media).

Collectively, DG8 members generate more than 1.5 billion user contacts every week in more than 75 languages, giving them a significant journalistic impact worldwide. Through their delivery of professional, balanced and verified news and information, DG8 members are at the forefront of the fight against fake news, content manipulation and propaganda.