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Think tank recommendations: The Nordic countries must defend digital democracy

On 18th April, the Nordic Council of Ministers released 11 recommendations on how we can support and ensure democratic discussion and decision-making in the era of digital transnational platforms in the Nordic region. The recommendations have been prepared by a think tank appointed by the Council, which includes experts from each Nordic country and the self-governing regions and has worked together for the past 12 months. DECA's Minna Horowitz has participated in the work of the think tank.

The work has been based on a common understanding that the Nordic model of democracy, which has prevailed for over a century, is worth cherishing. The Nordic countries have a strong global trust in institutions, a long tradition of open public discussion, and robust public service media institutions. Most Nordic people still firmly believe in our freedom of speech, even though it is threatened by both the digital revolution and global crises from the pandemic to the war in Ukraine.

The European Union is actively working to overcome the challenges posed by platforms and ensure the functionality of the European digital public space. For example, the Digital Services Act is currently being implemented in member states. However, the goal of the Nordic think-tank has been to complement EU regulation and present a joint Nordic model for ensuring the implementation of our characteristic democracy through national media actors, digital media and information literacy education, and joint Nordic principles and information exchange.

The think tank proposes that the Nordic countries should be at the forefront of demanding and implementing democratic and transparent principles regarding how tech giants can influence societies and democracies – both in the Nordics, Europe, and globally.

The first and most important recommendation is to establish a permanent Nordic technology and democracy center to support the supervision of EU regulation and ensure its implementation. The aim is also to work together in the Nordics to help researchers obtain the necessary data from tech giants and information about platform moderation practices. Only regular research makes it possible for us to pay attention to key and new digitalization challenges, whether they are due to geopolitical crises or AI development. The think tank, therefore, recommends regular reporting on the state of Nordic digital democracies from a digitalization perspective.

In addition to the center, the recommendations include, for example, more active consideration and safeguarding of children's and young people's digital well-being through various means, promoting democratic online discussions with new innovations, and supporting independent fact-checking.

The challenges of the platform era, from misleading information to hate speech and deepfakes, or algorithmic exclusionary practices, cannot be solved at the national level. We have recently witnessed several anti-democratic upheavals around the world. It is high time for the Nordic countries to join forces to promote our strong democracy model, which is challenged by the digital age before it is too late.

Read the full set of recommendations here:


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