New York, 17 November 2021 (GNP/ TDI): The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) unanimously adopted a Pakistan-sponsored resolution on countering disinformation. The resolution is titled “Countering Disinformation for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights”.
The resolution was adopted by The Third Committee of UNGA adopted. This committee deals with social and cultural issues. The resolution is the outcome of assiduous efforts of Pakistani diplomats and extensive consultations with member states. The UNGA will formally endorse the resolution next month.
Major objectives of the Resolution
The resolution draws attention to the rapid spread of disinformation, through online platforms and social media, and its negative implications on human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The resolution aims at promoting transparency and countering disinformation. It also calls for a multidimensional and collective response to counter all forms of disinformation that undermine human rights.
Moreover, the resolution argues that Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) have fostered the creation, dissemination, and amplification of false news. In the contemporary world, the manipulation of information is at an unprecedented scale, speed and scope. This manipulated information is, then, used as a tool to further political, ideological, and commercial motives.
Furthermore, the resolution underscores that this infodemic reaffirms the notion that freedom of expression is not only a right but a shared responsibility. It also pinpoints that the responses to infodemic must comply with International Human Rights Law.
Additionally, the resolution makes it the responsibility of business enterprises, including online platforms and social media companies, to ensure that these platforms should not be used for spreading disinformation which leads to discrimination, spreading of hatred, violence, and polarization in societies.
Ambassador Munir Akram Remarks
Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to UN, Ambassador Munir Akram, thanked all the member states for their constructive engagement in drafting the resolution. He expressed gratitude for the parties who co-sponsored the resolution.
Moreover, speaking on the occasion, the ambassador said disinformation plagues the world today. This is resulting in social discords, competing for nationalism, hate speech, stigmatization, racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and intolerance.
He further added the COVID-19 pandemic has increased reliance on Information Technology. Resultantly, it has exacerbated the spread of disinformation.
He remarked that the infodemic is increasingly blurring the lines between fantasy and reality as well as truth and lies. Therefore, it is necessary to nip the evil in the bud. It is the need of the hour to make concrete efforts to stop the spread of disinformation.
Additionally, Ambassador Munir Akram reiterated Pakistan’s firm resolve to counter disinformation. He said Pakistan will utilize all means to counter this menace, including national legislations. It is also committed to working with UNGA member states and other stakeholders for this purpose.
The adoption of the Resolution is a significant diplomatic success of Pakistan. It highlights Pakistan’s constructive engagements at international platforms.