Prince Harry Joins Katie Couric and Rashad Robinson in Tackling Misinformation
As one of the most written about men in the world, Prince Harry knows a thing or two about misinformation. Now the Duke of Sussex is putting his past experiences to good use by joining a six-month commission focused on the state of American misinformation and disinformation.
The Aspen Institute confirms to BAZAAR.com that the royal has joined its new Commission on Information Disorder as a commissioner. Journalist Katie Couric, Color of Change president Rashad Robinson, and former Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) director Chris Krebs are the co-chairs.
CNN was first to report that, starting in April, the nonprofit organization’s Aspen Digital division will work alongside a team of experts in senior government roles, media, the private sector, and civil society to find recommendations for how the United States “can respond to this modern-day crisis of faith in key institutions.” Joining Harry will be 14 other commissioners who will meet regularly (virtually), including national security leader Sue Gordon, UCLA professor and author Safiya Noble, philanthropist Marla Blow, Quadrivium cofounder Kathryn Murdoch, and former Texas congressman Will Hurd.
In a statement shared with BAZAAR, the duke gave further insight into his decision to take on a commissioner’s role. “As I’ve said, the experience of today’s digital world has us inundated with an avalanche of misinformation, affecting our ability as individuals as well as societies to think clearly and truly understand the world we live in,” he explains. “It’s my belief that this is a humanitarian issue—and as such, it demands a multi-stakeholder response from advocacy voices, members of the media, academic researchers, and both government and civil society leaders. I’m eager to join this new Aspen commission and look forward to working on a solution-oriented approach to the information disorder crisis.”
Couric, who has been a trustee of the Aspen Institute since 2015, adds that the media industry’s “truth decay” has become a major threat to democracy. “With commentary increasingly replacing reporting, polarization has deepened and trust in media has declined,” she says. “It’s critically important that we figure out how our industry can be part of the solution.”
The commission is expected to publish its first report about two months after its first meeting, outlining the issues most critical and urgent to be addressed. There will also be a number of themed conversations in the days following, including talks about the lawful and ethical means the federal government can use to help promote fact-based information to counter “dangerous disinformation campaigns.”
As Robinson points out, the information crisis is also a racial justice issue. In August last year, he had a candid discussion with Harry about systemic racism and his support of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, which asked Facebook’s advertisers to pause ad spending until racism across the company’s platforms was addressed.
“It requires not only an understanding of how it impacts marginalized communities, but a commitment to systemic change and rewriting the rules that have harmed our communities for far too long,” says the Color of Change founder. “Disinformation and the proliferation of online hate groups not only harms Black people and communities of color as we’ve seen from the 2020 election, COVID-19, and the fight for safety and justice in communities around the country, it impacts our democracy and threatens everyone. We need corporations, government, and regulatory agencies to protect civil rights on all the major tech platforms and make the digital landscape a safer place for all communities.”
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