Thursday, 27 June 2019
Media release

Digital youth forum empowers young people to counter extremism online

Today 100 young Australians and New Zealanders will come together for DIGI Engage 2019, a two-day digital forum where they will develop skills for respectfully engaging online on issues that can be a catalyst for hate and extremism.

DIGI Engage 2019: Bringing people together across divides, is a joint initiative of the Australian Government and Digital Industry Group Inc., a not-for-profit industry association representing digital industry in Australia, such as Google (including YouTube), Facebook, Twitter and Verizon.

Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman said the forum aims to give young people the skills and confidence to challenge divisive online narratives and engage with content that promotes tolerance and inclusion.

"The Internet has become an integral part of our lives, but it also harbours and provides a platform for extremists who want to divide us," Mr Coleman said.

"That's why we have partnered with the digital industry for DIGI Engage, to develop new methods to challenge the conversations that encourage harm and division.

"The key objective of DIGI Engage 2019 is to give young Australians and New Zealanders an understanding of the root causes of divisive online narratives and build their resilience and skills to effectively engage with and counter those narratives."

Mr Coleman today opened DIGI Engage 2019, the third DIGI Engage forum, along with the e-Safety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant and DIGI managing director Sunita Bose.

Participants will be inspired by a diverse group of young people from around the country and a range of local and international speakers, including some with personal journeys from extremism to embracing compassion and inclusion.

"Young people have a powerful role to play in bringing people with diverse opinions together, and helping to counter the extremism that seeks to divide us," Mr Coleman said.

"This event is a wonderful opportunity for young leaders to share their experiences and knowledge, and to use digital platforms to tell their stories promoting identity, belonging and diversity."

DIGI Engage 2019 will be held in Sydney on 27-28 June.