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Artistic Freedom in the Digital Sphere @ World Press Freedom Day

Montevideo, Uruguay

May 2-3, 2022

Montevideo, Uruguay

As part of the annual World Press Freedom Day Conference, UNESCO, in collaboration with CECC-SICA, ARC, and experts in the field, is organizing a two-day training workshop for government officials and artist communities from Central America on policies and measures to protect, promote, and monitor artistic freedom in the digital sphere.

This workshop is funded by the UNESCO-Aschberg programme and seeks to facilitate a better understanding of principles, emerging trends and challenges related to artistic freedom in the digital sphere as well as UNESCO’s standard-setting instruments in this field (i.e.: 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and the 1980 Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist).

 Digital platforms are indeed becoming essential tools for artists to showcase, disseminate and sell their work. They bring significant benefits for the cultural sector, enabling greater creativity and access to the public and audiences. However, with increasing digitalization partially exacerbated because of COVID-19 lockdowns, artistic freedom in the digital sphere has become a growing concern, and is being targeted by new threats such as: contents moderation through algorithm and artificial intelligence resulting sometimes in erroneous removal of art works; surveillance, censorship; and deletion of account with thousands of followers. The precarious status of artists, the lack or excess of regulations, as well as the scarcity of mediation/appeal entities may lead artists to self-censorship and to losing essential tools for their work, thus affecting the social and economic rights of the artists, their livelihoods and those of their families.

 In this context, the workshop will aim at shedding light on emerging challenges and trends facing male and female artists and cultural professionals in terms of safety, security and privacy, including new online surveillance technologies, data collection and censorship; transferring skills and knowledge to address violations against artistic freedom in the digital sphere through tailored safety guides, ad hoc regulations and collective bargaining and monitoring; supporting networking and dialogue between government representatives and artists communities in the central American region to reiterate commitment and advance partnership on artistic freedom in the digital sphere.

 The workshop will be informed by the findings of UNESCO’s 2022 Global Report “Re-shaping policies for creativity” as well as by a number of case studies from Latin America and the Caribbean and from the UNESCO-Aschberg programme. It will also build on a training module on Artistic Freedom developed by UNESCO as well as the “Digital Safety Guide for Artists” developed by PEN/ARC, which aims to equip policymakers, artists and cultural organizations with contextualized knowledge on the protection of artistic freedom, the importance of regular monitoring of violations, the threats artists may face in the digital sphere, as well as ad-hoc strategies to prepare for and mitigate risks.

If you are interested in learning more about the workshops or other programs, please register here.

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