Pakistan urges UN to tackle disinformation on social media
THE UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, called on the United Nations Department of Global Communications (DGC) to counter the proliferation of fake news and disinformation about social media platforms, and to pay greater attention to promoting sustained economic growth and sustainable development in countries affected by coronavirus and conflict.
“The United Nations remains the indispensable foundation of a peaceful and just world – its messages must be heard clearly and effectively,” Ambassador Munir Akram told the Committee on Information, a subsidiary body of the United Nations, on Tuesday. General Assembly.
Describing the Committee as vital in this regard, he said that after the challenges of the past two years, many countries now face serious threats of disruption to the food, energy and supply chain.
Pakistan is the current chair of the G-77 and China, which now has 134 members and is the largest intergovernmental group of emerging nations in the United Nations.
In his remarks, Ambassador Akram said the world as a whole was facing grave stress due to the proliferation of conflicts, a new arms race, the rise of xenophobia and hate speech, violence and misinformation, he noted, adding that in this context the Department has done relatively well. .
The envoy stressed that the growing trend of “fake news” and disinformation on online platforms demands that the Department step up its support for efforts across the United Nations system to counter disinformation while disseminating information factual, clear, accessible, multilingual and scientific.
It should also pay greater attention to promoting sustained economic growth and sustainable development, in line with relevant resolutions and commitments, he said.
The Group of 77 is deeply concerned about numerical disparities which are emerging as a new form of inequality between and among states, he said. “The international community, led by the United Nations, should take the necessary steps to correct the imbalances.”
Ambassador Akram called for efforts to leverage digital technologies to enable socio-economic development and facilitate more effective and efficient governance and public service delivery, saying the department remains well positioned to bridge the gap between developed and developing countries in the crucial area. field of public information and communication.
He went on to stress that multilingualism and cultural diversity are cardinal values of multilateralism, enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.
In this regard, the envoy encouraged the Department to mobilize adequate resources to promote multilingualism and maximize its reach at the local level, including exploring innovative funding options and voluntary contributions.
While welcoming the department’s promotional campaigns and the work of the United Nations information centres, he urged it to further strengthen its partnerships with new and traditional media around the world.
Opening the discussion, Melissa Fleming, UN Under-Secretary-General for Global Information, said her department was making sustained efforts to stem the tide of disinformation, counterattacks on human rights and telling the stories. human stories on the front lines of conflict.
Fleming said since he last briefed the Committee in 2021, inequality has widened across the world, the climate crisis has deepened and a war is now raging in Ukraine.
This conflict is sending shockwaves around the world, driving the prices of food, energy and raw materials to historic highs, while fueling hunger and possibly unrest, she added. .
Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic is still not over – especially for the third of the world’s population who have not received a single dose of vaccine – she stressed, while warning that misinformation and The misinformation that has proliferated during the pandemic continues to rise in social media news feeds, threatening truth and posing an existential risk to humanity.
Underscoring the grave repercussions of all these interrelated crises, Fleming said the principles that underpin the UN Charter have been “under the greatest pressure” since the organization was established.
In this context, the ministry advocates for multilateralism and leads a strategic, coordinated, audience-focused and impact-oriented communications response.
Highlighting some of these initiatives, Fleming said the department is aligning UN communications through “cells” to speak with one voice and with agility on issues ranging from the climate crisis to Russia’s attacks in Ukraine. .
Since the beginning of this conflict, the Department has worked around the clock from New York, in Ukraine and throughout the region, she added.