Jeanne Bourgault, Internews President and Chief Executive Officer, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives on March 25 on the importance of access to trusted, quality, local news and information.
She emphasized the need to increase efforts to engage more women around the world in media and information. "When women’s voices are heard, and when women produce the news, the information we all consume improves," said Bourgault. "Additionally, when women have access to accurate, trusted, relevant locally produced information, they make better decisions for themselves, their families and their communities."
Bourgault also noted the desperate need for life-saving and accurate information for internally displaced people in eastern Ukraine saying that, "For those in Ukraine, the prolonged and sophisticated information war that has accompanied the conflict is now profoundly complicating the question of where to turn for reliable and potentially life-saving information."
With the Ebola outbreak still continuing in West Africa, people there need reliable information on how to slow down and stop the epidemic. "While rumor and misinformation are exacerbating the outbreak, Internews is working with local media in West Africa to address the urgent information needs of the population, including how to identify early symptoms, prevent transmission, and where to seek treatment," said Bourgault.
To conclude her testimony, Bourgault added, "We believe that a major goal of US foreign policy should be universal access to quality, local and accurate information. Local media, citizen media, and civil society institutions armed with communications technologies can empower communities and amplify American approaches to development, diplomacy and national security."
Download or read the written testimony submitted by Internews: