The following key challenges are defined:
Read more about the different challenges below:
Counteracting the decline of accuracy and ethics
SDG 16 prescribes the need for independent media. Media faces challenges such as political influence & corruption, fake news, polarisation, biases, neglection of human rights & press freedom. These in turn lead to fraud, privacy breaches, consumer data misuse, unacceptable content, divisiveness and social unrest. Another important issue is the blurring of the line between editorial and advertising content, as current media business models (due to high competitiveness) increasingly rely on targeted advertising.
Trust in the media
As a result of the erosion of accuracy and ethics, trust in the media as an independent source of information has worsened. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, 61% of the informed public (based on age, education, and income) trusts the media while only 47% of the mass population (all population not including informed public) does. This trust gap is further exacerbated by reduction of media pluralism, the misuse of media and the prevalence of fake news. Various actors are deliberately corrupting news sources and aiming to influence the public opinion. In addition, technologies used to alter visual material are increasingly ingenious and effective (e.g. deep fake imaging) in misleading people.
Counteracting political influence through media
Algorithms and personal preferences increasingly determine the information that people receive. The information provided via social media is often less accurate than traditional media and increasingly includes hate speech and conspiracy, terrorism & violence initiators. The companies that manage these media sources (e.g. YouTube) determine what to censor and what should fall under freedom of press. Regarding the susceptibility of political influence (especially in vulnerable countries) and the increasing shift of political weight to social media this requires attention. Consequently, certain political actors abuse this and gain a lot of traction based on misinformation.
Ecological challenges with regard to media footprint
Both digital and print media both have environmental issues. The devices, internet and systems supporting the digital era are estimated to be accountable for 4% of GHG emissions in 2020, and projected to increase; the global carbon footprint of commercial print has been estimated to be between 350-400 million metric tonnes of CO2 equivalents (in 2009). With print media still accounting for 70% of revenue, the environmental impacts of air pollution from volatile organic compounds; hazardous waste; waste of materials; and energy use and emissions of the print media still forms a challenge to a sustainable media landscape.