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Pakistan-Sponsored Resolution on preventing disinformation unanimously adopted in UN Third Committee

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NEW YORK: Pakistan-Sponsored Resolution entitled “Countering Disinformation for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms” was adopted on Tuesday by the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly by consensus.

While introducing the rationale and the context of this resolution, Permanent Representative Ambassador Munir Akram said: “The world is plagued today by the exponential proliferation of disinformation, which is exacerbating social discord, competing nationalisms, discrimination, hate speech, stigmatization, racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and related intolerances. This has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the extreme reliance on Information Technology, yielding phenomena from fake cures to anti-vaccine conspiracies”.

Elaborating on the components of the resolution, Ambassador Munir Akram said that the resolution on disinformation “highlights the negative impact on the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms of the rapid spread of disinformation, through online platforms and social media. It notes with concern that ICTs have enabled pathways for false or manipulated disinformation to be created, disseminated and amplified for political, ideological, or commercial motives at an unprecedented scale, speed, and scope”.

The resolution also emphasizes how important it is that business enterprises including online platforms and social media companies, ensure that their commercial objectives do not undermine human rights. Their business models and business operations, data collection and data processing practices, and advertisement policies should be compliant with international human rights law. They must not allow their platforms to be used for spreading disinformation, which leads to discrimination, incitement to hatred, hostility, violence, and polarization.

Ambassador Munir Akram reiterated that Pakistan is committed to countering the virus of disinformation by all possible means. We shall continue to promote this by both national means and through international cooperation with the Member States and other stakeholders under the umbrella of the United Nations. The resolution was the outcome of broad-based and extensive consultations with all member states and was cosponsored and supported by a large number of states.

The adoption of this resolution has contributed to promoting transparency and the initiation of a concerted campaign to counter disinformation by states and all relevant stakeholders in accordance with international human rights law.

The resolution will be formally adopted by the General Assembly in the second week of December.

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