The Power of Information


On June 8th, 2023, at the Marriott hotel (AV. El. Dorado69B-53), ATLAS the Fundación Innovación para el Desarrollo and the Democracy and Culture Foundation co-organized a six-hour citizens’ driven consultation to crowdsource issues and solutions with the power of information. Local citizens were asked to debate this issue and come up with policy suggestions that may have either a Colombia-oriented or a universal application that, when implemented, will contribute to the strengthening of the functioning of Liberal Democracy. Around 70 people joined the full in-person event and between 10 to 20 people were present online (depending on the hour).

Many solutions were outlined, and participants then prioritized the ones they preferred or thought were the most important. They all had three votes and proceeded to vote:

  • Create an index of media companies based on how accurate their information is. This would be compiled by an independent institution or organization, and could be national but also global. It would help readers/viewers/listeners understand whether an outlet is reliable or should be read with a pinch of salt.
  • Bring education into the 21st century: 1) provide lifelong learning from a very young age of new skills (including curiosity, and critical thinking) necessary to be able to identify real information from fake news; 2) shift the education system from an institution mainly aimed at educating to one informing public debates; 3) provide cyber-education.
  • Create a citizen-made body to review what mis/disinformation is, create rules on how to tackle it, and oversee the review of claims of politicians spreading fake news. This body could be created by sortition and could act as fact-checkers during elections, including in political debates.

The consultation is part of the “Re-Imagining the Building Blocks of Democracy”, a 3-year international project, already in its 2d year of implementation which runs in 10 cities across the world (both the Global North and the Global South) and aims through a combination of experts’ roundtables and citizens’ consultations to identify, publicize and push for implementation specific policy proposals that would help Liberal Democracy meet the challenges of our times. The proposals concentrate on five main functional processes of Democracy (building blocks) namely people, parties-money & influence, voting, information & disinformation and the balance between legislative and executive power. 

The consultation was conducted in Spanish.

Some of the issues that were debated during the consultation were the following: 

  • The power of information: It has become clear that unfettered social media poses serious dangers to the functioning of democratic government, and yet freedom of speech is a fundamental element of democracy. 
  • When do needed regulations cross into unacceptable censorship? Is disinformation a danger to democracy? Do corporate technical giants help or weaken democracy? 
  • Which is the role of the press and of public opinion, journalistic integrity and immunity? Which of their detractors? Is there a relationship between disinformation and the rise of national populism?



For more information: Adriana Mejia

Elina Makri

Strategic Partner


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