On May 29- June 01, 2022, a peace summit was held in Baku, Azerbaijan bringing youths from across the world to tackle peace initiatives and peacebuilding. I am one of the privileged delegates that received full funding in this summit organized by Global Peace Chain, an international organization aiming to promote peace, co-existence, and harmony through peace dialogues and peace educations.
During the conference, different topics were discussed such as the role of social media in curbing peace and the role of the youths in achieving peace. Mr. Fuad Huseynzade, a journalist and a researcher in Azerbaijan, shared his insights about social media and its relationship with freedom of speech. Mr. Huseynzade enlightened us with the reasons why disinformation and war trends in social media occurs: public journalism and propaganda. Because social media platforms are open for everyone to use and everyone has the freedom of speech, anything can be published regardless of the source is reliable or not. In this matter, we were encouraged to be aware of the information we read, use official websites, and practice fact checking. Furthermore, freedom of speech should be practiced in pursuance of unity and peace and not in pursuance of polarization and war.
In this context, the youths who are commonly active in social media have a responsibility to combat disinformation, fake news, and war trends in social media. As Mr. Huseynzade has put it: “call for peace is our contribution”. As a youth, I answer to this calling for peace and take that responsibility to make sure that I practice freedom of speech in social media through being conscious of source criticism and producing information of positive character. While social media can curb peace, it can also be a platform for peace. Through Facebook and Instagram, I stay connected with those delegates/peacebuilders in Baku who became my friends.
The summit has really instilled important insights and new perspectives on me. It has also led me to meeting new people and building friendships. For all of that, I am grateful to be part of this beautiful chain, Global Peace Chain.
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By Felisa Tenedero Pamintuan
(Delegate from Sweden)