Ethical Reporting and Networked Authoritarianism: A Fireside Chat with Giovana Fleck and Alex Esenler

Session title: Ethical Reporting and Networked Authoritarianism: A Fireside Chat with Giovana Fleck and Alex Esenler


  • Giovanna Fleck (Global Voices)
  • Alex Esenler (Open Archive)

The session began with an exploration of narratives and their potential for spreading misinformation. The speakers, Alex Esenler and Giovanna Fleck, emphasized the importance of context and local knowledge in dissecting such narratives. Drawing from their professional experiences, they shed light on the work conducted by Open Archive in preserving and fact-checking various forms of media. They underscored the fundamental pillars of ethical journalism, civically-minded reporting, and transparency.

As the conversation progressed, Esenler and Fleck delved into the challenges that come with partnerships with large social media organizations, especially highlighting the limitations of Facebook’s self-regulation. They also drew attention to the detrimental effect of digital authoritarianism on freedom of expression and the free press. They explained how misinformation can be weaponized to uphold authoritarian regimes and emphasized the demanding nature of continuous monitoring and analysis of civic events and potential crises. The conversation underlined the need for robust resources, effective partnerships, and a well-structured organization.

The speakers highlighted the positive impacts of the Civic Media Observatory and the need to mitigate negativity while promoting positive narratives. They also touched on the complexity of tracking private social media group conversations and the value of qualitative research and investigative journalism.

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