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Public broadcasters collaborate to reclaim online public spaces with creation of “Public Spaces Incubator”

Public broadcasters CBC/Radio-Canada, RTBF (Belgium), SRG SSR (Switzerland) and ZDF (Germany) are joining forces to explore new ways for public service media to support citizen engagement and democratic discourse. The new “Public Spaces Incubator” (PSI) initiative will develop and test innovative solutions that encourage accessible and meaningful online conversations on issues of public interest, free from harassment or bullying — inclusive exchanges that will reflect diverse viewpoints and promote greater empathy and understanding, without suppressing perspectives or ideas.

“This partnership of four of the world’s leading public broadcasters underlines our collective and common purpose to address one of the most threatening phenomena of our time — unfettered online abuse. Online spaces that are free from disinformation, misinformation, harassment and abuse are near extinction. The social media environment has splintered into so many echo chambers that exclude diversity of opinion, discourage debate and silence dissent. Now is the time for public service media like CBC/Radio-Canada to play a role in reversing this trend.

“Together, we want to step up, discover and experiment with new ways of engaging our respective populations, connecting our communities and facilitating bridge-building dialogue that will strengthen our civic and democratic life.” — Catherine Tait, President and CEO, CBC/Radio-Canada

Work on this research and development project will be done in collaboration with New_ Public, a nonprofit organization led by seasoned online participation experts that focuses on building healthy digital spaces. In line with the four broadcasters’ public service mandates to inform and enlighten, the project will focus on serving public knowledge and creating positive social connections. BCS Bureau

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