Editorial Team

Ahmedabad-based ReDi (Responsibly Digital) marked the World Social Media Day on June 30 with the 9th Edition of ReDi Digital Dialogue. The coveted virtual event was hosted by ReDi, a social initiative to promote responsible digital behaviour in partnership with UNICEF, YuWaah, and supported by the Centre for Communication of Child Rights of Pandit Deendayal Energy University, Elixir Foundation, and Logically AI.

The Digital Dialogue witnessed the participation of communication specialists, academicians, social media experts, IPS officers and others.

In his welcome address, Shailesh Goyal, founder, ReDi said, “The dependence on digital media has increased since the outbreak of COVID-19, and it is imperative we act responsibly while using social media. The event will also shed light on fake news and ways to stay away from misleading information and data.”

In the opening address, UNICEF Gujarat chief Dr. Laxmi Bhawani urged everyone to access accurate information about COVID-19, safely navigate the digital world, and make choices to protect their own health and the health of their family and the community at large.

Two panel discussions were also organized as a part of the Digital Dialogue.

The first panel discussion on “Social Media Rumors, Misinformation, and Disinformation in COVID-19” featured a galaxy of speakers.

IPS officer Ms. Rema Rajeshwari urged people to use social media with caution and wisdom.

“Intelligent persuasion by machines and technology of the human mind must be stopped. We had no idea five years ago that fake news would become an issue of law and order in India. We live in a digital attention economy. If we expect that social media platforms will save us, we are mistaken as their revenue model is based on more likes, shares etc.,” she said.

UNICEF health officer Dr. Sravan Chenji stressed the need for positive parenting.

“Parents must ensure they spend at least one hour a day with their children. COVID-19 has confined children within their four walls, and they have had no social interactions. Parents must involve themselves with their children so that they do not become addicted to social media,” he said.

Researcher Prof Uma Shankar Pandey spoke about how social media filters information and caters to a particular user and urged users to rely on science and not fall for fake news and misleading information.

Mr. Sagar Kaul, VP, Logically, said fake news created resistance among people to accept scientific facts, and such people became vulnerable to the virus since day one of the outbreak.

The panel discussion was moderated by YuWaah State lead Mr. Kumar Manish.

The second panel discussion was on “Social Media Altruism in COVID-19”.

Ms. Moira Dawa, Communication, Advocacy and Partnership Specialist, UNICEF, said it is important to ensure online space is safe for young people and adolescents.

Mr. Amit Khetan, Digital Media Expert and Founder of After First, said social media is a force multiplier, and the future depends on how we use it.

“We have to be careful with funds for social causes that are circulating quite often these days on social media,” he cautioned.

RJ Harsh Bhatariya of Radio Awaj 90.8 FM Dahod, spoke about his experiences during COVID-19. He recalled how he used radio as a medium to educate people on COVID-19 appropriate behaviour and vaccines in the tribal belt and convincing people to believe in science and not myths circulated on social media.

Mr. Swaraj Shetty, Khaana Chahiye Co-founder, also participated in the panel discussion while was moderated by Aakrita Srivastava.

Entrepreneur and Social Media Influencer Tehseen Poonawalla will deliver a special talk as a part of the Digital Dialogue.

Many digital media enthusiasts, brands, marketing professionals, and people across all age groups participated in the Digital Dialogue.

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