#GFI4SD – Post 4: Can New Media Outlets Provide Accurate Information?


Many panels met during the Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development to discuss maintainable actions that will hopefully result to radical innovations towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Various countries are keen to ensure that they increase the number of cities and businesses that drive changes that will meet the SDGs by the year 2030. This post follows the ‘disillusionment’ talk held on March 1st 2017, in particular a segment by Gonzalo Fanjul, Policy Director at ISGlobal and Co-founder of the Fundacion por Causa about media and its role in society (58’).

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Spatial Big Data, Mapping and Geographic Information Systems

Source:  GlobalGiving

Over the last few weeks, I have been writing on spatial data and mapping. Those of you who read my previous posts, may have noticed my interest in Meier’s book Digital Humanitarians: How Big Data Is Changing the Face of Humanitarian Response. Last week, Meier sent a message on Twitter to remind his followers of his 2011 TED talk, titled “Changing the World… One Map at a Time”, and encourage them to watch it.

The presentation that you can watch below demonstrates examples of the recent history of digital crisis mapping, from the 2008 post-election situation in Kenya and the earthquakes in Haiti in 2010 and in Japan in 2011, to the 2011 protests in Libya. Meier concludes his talk by emphasising the use of live maps for activism purposes in several countries like Syria, Sudan, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen and Tunisia.

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Infodemiology in the Battle Against Ebola: Mining the Web for Public Health Surveillance

“Infodemiology includes the analysis of queries from Internet search engines to predict disease outbreaks; monitoring people’s’ status updates on microblogs such as Twitter for syndromic surveillance; detecting and quantifying disparities in health information availability; identifying and monitoring of public health relevant publications on the Internet” (Eysenbach, 2009)

Internet data, especially search engine queries and social media postings, have shown promise in contributing to syndromic surveillance for several communicable diseases, including Ebola. Much has been written about the global response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, “lessons learned” have often focused on operational reasons why health systems faltered and why the humanitarian response came late, often taking donors and international aid agencies like the World Health Organisation (WHO) to task for mishandling the crisis.

A systematic review published in 2014 by Nuti and his colleagues, highlighted that in recent years, researchers have been increasingly utilising online search data for a diversity of health topics with some successful applications in the field of infectious disease surveillance, especially in countries with high Internet penetration levels (Nuti et al., 2014).

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Declining Ethics in Media Reporting

Image credit: Getty Images

As we approach the issue of ethics in media reporting evidenced by distorted information and unreliability of the information they present, this issue can create several questions in our minds of where the media is taking us as a society in general. The major question that remains strongly in our minds is, do we still trust the media reporting?

My attention in this post is focused on emphasizing the need for reliability of the information presented to us, majorly informed of statistics by the media. This is because lately the public trust has been abused by unethical and unreliable media reporting. With this focus it is considered that statistics are meant to provide stable reference points to provide an objective judgment but this has not been the case lately, rather they provide misleading false information.

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Last Night in Sweden

Image credit: Getty Images

Social media has revolutionized over the past years, and the rate at which it influences humanity is boundless (Karakas, 2009). Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms have been influential in creating a global village. With data a core aspect of social networking in an age of uncertainty, everyone can access and express their opinions on any platform and can instantly connect with thousands if not millions of people. The comfort zone, we all seek to have in our daily lives is spoon fed to us so that we get blinded by the negativity associated with the internet (Matthews, 2010).

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