FM Bilawal seeks role of global community in countering disinformation

FM Bilawal seeks role of global community in countering disinformation

Islamabad (Web Desk): Foreign Minister (FM) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has called for enhancing public awareness about disinformation to build societal resistance and resilience against it.

He was addressing a meeting of the Group of Friends to Counter Disinformation for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms virtually on Thursday.

The foreign inister urged the international community to enhance the capacity of the governments and their relevant institutions to detect, analyze and expose disinformation.

He said that the United Nations (UN) and its agencies should help build the capacity of member states especially the developing countries.

FM Bilawal said financial and technical support should be extended to national and international researchers, and institutions which are involved in detecting disinformation. He said the UN Department of Information can play a critical role in this regard.

He stressed that concrete international efforts can help expose and dismantle disinformation networks.

FM Bilawal called for a concerted efforts through cooperation to minimise the negative impacts of disinformation on human rights and relations between community and states.

"UN Human rights mechanism should highlight the negative impact of disinformation," the foreign minister said.

He urged the UN to develop rules, standards and regulations for adherence by the private sector, social media companies and other non-governmental actors.

FM Bilawal said UN can develop a compendium of "best practices" and guidelines for actions, including through the use of advanced technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, to serve as guidelines for National and international action.

He said the UN Secretary-General should create an inter-Agency Task Force on Disinformation and appoint a Focal Point, for regular and on-going interactions with Member States, the private media and on-line companies and other stakeholders.

FM Bilawal said exponential proliferation of disinformation, especially through on-line platforms and social media, has spread social discord; fostered hate speech, racism, discrimination, xenophobia, Islamophobia.

Pakistan Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Munir Akram, who moderated the virtual event, thanked the participants, saying the “Group of Friends” provides a platform for deliberations to member states to discuss means to counter disinformation and raise awareness.

A distinguished panel of speakers, comprising key representative and experts of UN entities, deliberated on approaches to countering disinformation.

Among them were Melissa Fleming, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications Ms Nada Al-Nashif, the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Ambassador Cristian Espinosa of Ecuador and Chairperson of the Committee on Information, and Irene Khan,the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Opinion and Expression.

Among the diplomats who spoke were, Zhang Jun, Permanent Representative, China; Gennady Kuzmin from Russia; Silvio Gonzato from European Union and delegates from Permanent Mission of Morocco,UK and Syria.