At Médias en Seine, citizen proposals for better information

“How can everyone be better informed? » From June 27 to September 30, 113,000 French people took part in this citizen consultation launched as part of De facto, a European project to fight disinformation, bringing together researchers, journalists and media education players. Out of 2,023 proposals submitted to 526,000 votes, those on media and information literacy received the most votes.

The “critical reading of information” is everyone’s business, and critical sense” must be sharpened from an early age. In this logic, they propose to strengthen media and information literacy, which has been developed since 2013, with for example “a time slot in the timetable of CP students at university”.

They also advocate training for all audiences “techniques for verifying information and detecting fake news”, explaining in particular the role of algorithms in social networks.

Awareness of a “democratic necessity”

The participants, solicited by the partner media (AFP, 20 minutes, franceinfo, France Bleu, the regional dailies of the Ebra group), support more effective regulation of social media, for example by making them legally responsible for the content broadcast, by closing fake accounts or by sanctioning the broadcasters of fake news (infox). They are more divided on the prohibition of access to social networks to minors or transparency on the identity of online commentators.

Three years after questioning the French about “How can the media improve society? » (in partnership with The cross), Alex Dauchez, director of the citizen consultation platform Make.org, notes a feeling “of danger, helplessness” in front of the “preponderance of fake news and their toxic content”.

“Being well informed was a concern in 2019, it has become a democratic necessityhe underlines during a round table at the Medias en Seine festival. Faced with this, all the actors are called upon: schools, journalists, and citizens in their behavior. There is a kind of sacred union required on this issue which has become a priority for society. »

“Extreme requirement vis-à-vis journalists”

The proposals concerning the evolution of journalistic practices receive fewer votes but are the most numerous. The people consulted want more fact-checking, more diversified and sourced information, more expertise, less buzz or better protection for journalists and whistleblowers.

“There is an extreme requirement vis-à-vis information and journalists”notes the sociologist of the media Sylvain Parasie. “We are moving away from a passive and critical attitude towards information. People want to be more active, they want to be taught to doubt and to find where the real facts are”adds Christine Buhagiar, European director of Agence France-Presse.

“The media have remained vertical for too long in a world that has become horizontal. We have to open our doors and reestablish a link with the public,” adds Célia Mériguet, digital director of francetvinfo.fr.

Proposals for the states general of the right to information

Proposals have also been made to ensure editorial governance of the media, to make their funding more transparent and to fight against concentration, but also to promote access to information, especially for the youngest.

“The red thread of the consultation is the fight against misinformation perceived as a scourge”notes Serge Bardet, the director of the Center for media and information education (Clemi) via the Canopé network, responsible for this mission within the national education system. “Faced with this kind of moral panic linked to the disorder of information, there is an expectation and a requirement expressed vis-à-vis-towards journalists, schools and public authorities. » He hopes that the proposals of this citizen consultation will feed the states general of the right to information announced by the Elysée.

At Médias en Seine, citizen proposals for better information