The evolution of digital technologies over the last twenty years has had a considerable impact on local and regional authorities, be it in terms of the “smart” transformation of cities and regions or the spread of hate speech. During his 43me Session, October 25, 2022, in Strasbourg, France, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe adopted two reports on prospects and challenges for local and regional governance.
“Smart” cities and regions encompass multiple facets: applications, sensors, software, algorithms, platforms or cameras. In the relationship Prepared by Tony Buchanan (United Kingdom) and Jan Markink (Netherlands, ILDG), the Congress recommends deploying these technologies in the framework of proactive policies to optimize the administration and management of public affairs, through the development of inclusive initiatives for sustainable cities and centered on the human being and regions. This requires ensuring compliance of new artificial intelligence technologies and tools with human rights, democracy and the Sustainable Development Goals. Emphasis should be placed on bridging the digital divide, protecting personal data and strengthening cybersecurity. In addition, national authorities must provide local authorities with the necessary support for their implementation.
Although new technologies can contribute to the quality of territorial democracy, they sometimes have a deleterious effect on public life, particularly through social networks. Prepared by co-rapporteurs Wilma Delissen Van Tongerlo (Netherlands, ILDG) and Kristoffer Tamsons (Sweden, PPE/CEC), the relationship on Hate Speech and Fake News highlights the toxic impact of these phenomena, online and offline, on the working conditions of local and regional elected representatives and on democracy. Additionally, the report helps identify the right tools and strategies to tackle hate speech and fake news. The Congress requests, among other things, the guidance, training and support of local politicians, as well as adequate communication, transparency and openness. It recommends the implementation at the national level of a comprehensive strategy that contains legal remedies and preventive measures, involving the actors involved. There must be no impunity for online and offline threats and attacks against local and regional politicians.
Debate on smart cities and regions:
Video of the discussion on Smart cities and regions: prospects for a human rights-focused approach to governance
Debate and news about hate speech:
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