Nordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online

The Nordic Council of Ministers for Culture led by Norway’s Minister of Culture and Equality, Anette Trettebergstuen, met with representatives from Canadian Heritage in Toronto in May during an international gathering for the cultural initiative Nordic Bridges. 

“The Nordic countries are some of the most digitalised countries in the world, but they are also small countries that are dependent on co-operation with other countries in order to regulate the influence of big tech-companies. We’re very pleased that the successful meeting with our Canadian colleagues in Toronto, has resulted in this strong statement and a commitment for close cooperation on this challenging subject,” says Trettebergstuen.

The Nordic countries are some of the most digitalised countries in the world, but they are also small countries that are dependent on co-operation with other countries in order to regulate the influence of big tech-companies.

Anette Trettebergstuen, Minister for Culture and Equity, Norway, and chair of the Nordic Council of Ministers for Culture, 2022

Promoting transparency and accountability

Recognising the rapid pace and extensive scope of technological and digital developments in their statement, the Nordic-and Canadian ministers commit to promote transparency and the accountability of web giants for the harmful content that proliferates on their platforms, to ensure a safe and more inclusive online environment. 

“Citizens around the world have seen digital platforms and other online services take on an increasingly central role in their lives. Although these platforms bring many benefits, they can also cause real and significant harm. This is why the Government of Canada has led the development of the international Guiding Principles on Diversity of Content Online to encourage governments, industry, and civil society to do their part to build a healthy and safe digital ecosystem. Let’s all take action to ensure that people everywhere can express themselves freely in the digital space, free from harm,” says Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Need for credible information during times of international crises

The COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine illustrate the need for credible information during times of international crises. These events also serve as a reminder that freedom of expression and media freedom are foundational aspects of well-functioning democratic societies. 

The ministers stress that sustainable and independent news media outlets play an important role in supporting democracy by providing fact-based journalism, which is critical to countering disinformation.  
 

Let’s all take action to ensure that people everywhere can express themselves freely in the digital space, free from harm.

Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage

Ministerial meeting in Toronto

The ministerial meeting between Canadian Heritage and the Nordic Council of Ministers for Culture was held in Toronto on 19 May, during the international gathering for the cultural initiative Nordic Bridges 2022. The influence of tech companies on freedom of expression, the post-pandemic recovery for the cultural sector, and strengthening Nordic-Canadian cultural co-operation were all high on the agenda.