In this day and age the media is an essential source of information for people everywhere. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about its own ‘infodemic’ of misinformation, making reliable sources increasingly hard to identify.
“The media plays a crucial role in countering misinformation and galvanizing action for a sustainable recovery from the Covid-19 crisis based on science, solidarity and our common roadmap, the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Melissa Fleming, UN Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications. “We are proud to have one hundred SDG Media Compact members from across the globe, committed to covering the critical issues of our time and driving progress toward a healthier and more peaceful world.” USG Fleming has mobilised the SDG Media Compact members help promote the new website Verified, a UN global initiative launched on 21 May to combat misinformation and fake news.
The SDG Media Compact is an alliance of news and entertainment companies convened by the United Nations. Its aim is to drive coverage of, and encourage action to achieve, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
From large broadcasters and established print media, to news agencies, radio stations and newer digital publishers, the SDG Media Compact spans 160 countries across five continents. This week the Compact welcomed its 100th member and reached a combined audience of about 2 billion people.
In light of the global pandemic, the Compact has proven itself to be a unified media network, able to share UN messages with a bigger public audience. In fact, many Compact members have already played a crucial role in countering misinformation. This has been achieved by disseminating science-based information and covering the socio-economic impacts of Covid-19 – all in the wider context of the sustainable development agenda.
In Europe, a dozen active media and entertainment members have developed innovative initiatives to promote the SDGs. They have increased their editorial involvement on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and have been devising creative ways to spread the word about sustainable and preventive approaches to the pandemic.
For the Sky Group, one of Europe’s leading media and entertainment companies, being part of the SDG Media Compact means acting on the global issues that matter. “We’ve aligned our strategy with the Sustainable Development Goals because they provide clear purpose to ensure business drives the change that is crucial to improving our world,” said Jeremy Darroch, Sky Group’s CEO. Focusing on gender, Sky aired the UN Secretary General’s message urging governments to prioritize the prevention and redress of violence against women in their Covid-19 response plans. Euronews organized an interview with both the Secretary General and the Deputy Executive Director of UN Women to address the drastic surge of domestic violence during the pandemic.
Laurine Garaude from Reed MIDEM, confirmed that its MIP Markets are committed to contributing to the advancement of the SDGs which are even more critical than ever at this time.
Ever since the Compact launched, the ACT Network “has welcomed the UN addressing the importance of commercial broadcasters as providers of trusted news and driving a responsible exchange on the SDGs”.
The Smurfs have also contributed visuals informing young people about protective health measures like washing hands and staying at home, sharing these messages across their platforms and with UN networks.
Covid-19 has already struck a significant blow to the cultural, entertainment and music sector. Member Sound Diplomacy is looking into the ways the music industry can recover from this crisis and proceed in a more sustainable way.
In the middle of the pandemic, a wave of local and also global music initiatives and virtual “Stay at Home” festivals have been created to support medical staff and raise the moral of people at home. Shain Shapiro from Sound Diplomacy described the positive changes he has seen since joining the Compact, ”It’s been an incredible experience to be part of the SDG Media Compact. It’s changed our business for the better and brought us into a new network we never thought possible.”
Finally, the recovery from Covid-19 provides us with the opportunity to pursue a more inclusive and sustainable society and economy in the future. May the Sustainable Development Goals be our common roadmap.