Troll farms, fake news, doctored videos, hate speech – the world has been forced to confront the growing influence of manipulated media and coordinated influence campaigns on our democracies as well as our beliefs and worldviews. Yet, the internet itself has made dissemination of news faster than ever before, and through social media platforms advocating for change has never been easier. Certain countries, like Estonia, even allow e-voting. As such, it is critical that we, as active citizens in our respective societies, learn to inform ourselves on how we can participate constructively in our democracies in the digital age.
Deutsche Telekom has made this its goal and wants everybody to #TAKEPART in the opportunities of digitization. For this, digital literacy is a key competency. But for Telekom, this is only one of two aspects. Digital literacy needs to be combined with democratic competencies to support a tolerant and open society. The #TAKEPART-Stories are one of Deutsche Telekom’s core initiatives in this field. They enable people to dive into and understand societal aspects of the digital world.
The latest modules deal with Digital Democracy and Digital Civil Courage . The workshops and accompanying guides are designed to help participants understand how information technologies are changing the ways in which we interact, advocate, form opinions and make our voices heard in our societies, both positively and negatively. The accompanying videos and exercises take participants through a series of modules, helping stimulate discussions on freedom of expression, fact checking, the various methods used to manipulate opinions, and the rights of individuals to report content that incites violence.
The launch of the modules was accompanied by a campaign against online hate under the hashtag #NOHATESPEECH. The spot tells the story of Jay - a transgender man who experienced crushing hate after his outing. The person is real and so are the comments shown. The claim of Deutsche Telekom: words must not become weapons. For an internet free from hate, Telekom partners with a variety of NGOs – from counter speech groups like #ichbinhier (#iamhere) to psycho-social support or the alliance against cyber bullying.
Human rights is a key pillar of Deutsche Telekom’s corporate social responsibility efforts and through active participation in GeSI’s Enabling Rights working group Deutsche Telekom is promoting the use of digital technologies to uphold human rights.