Pakistan pushes for countering spread of online hate, disinformation: Munir Akram

“The Group welcomes the efforts of the Secretary-General to promote international cooperation in countering disinformation and takes note of the proposed ‘global code of conduct that promotes integrity in public information’,” he said, adding that further clarity was required in this regard.

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UNITED NATIONS, The Group of 77 (developing countries) is seriously concerned over the misuse of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to spread online hate and disinformation and stressed the need for countering this phenomenon, the 134-member Group’s Chairman, Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Munir Akram has said.

If unchecked, that trend could be used to mislead and to spread racism, xenophobia, negative stereotyping, stigmatization and, most dangerously, breach of individuals’ right to privacy, Ambassador Akram said on Monday at a session devoted to the UN Secretary-General’s ‘Our Common Agenda’, a landmark new report, that calls for, among other elements, the renewal of multilateralism.

“The Group welcomes the efforts of the Secretary-General to promote international cooperation in countering disinformation and takes note of the proposed ‘global code of conduct that promotes integrity in public information,” he said, adding that further clarity was required in this regard.

“The G77 and China believe that racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance are a repudiation of humanity and regrets that millions continue to be victims of the same,” he said, and called for the implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action combating those trends.

In this regard, Ambassador Akram said, the Group also believes that the establishment of an international independent expert mechanism could promote a transformative change for racial justice and equality in the context of law enforcement globally.

“The Group notes with concern that persons belonging to racial and ethnic minorities and to other groups, including Asians and people of Asian descent, especially women and girls, have been victims of racist violence, threats of violence, discrimination, and stigmatization as a result of the pandemic.”

For the Group, he also said the important issues pertaining to digital cooperation remain: inclusive digital economy, access to digital networks and connectivity, technology transfer, investment in digital infrastructures, data protection, artificial intelligence, avoiding Internet fragmentation, countering the proliferation of disinformation and misinformation, and outlining shared principles for a digital future for all to achieve the 2030 Agenda.

“It is important to avoid unnecessary politicization of technical issues to foster an open, fair, inclusive, and non-discriminatory environment for the development of digital technologies in developing countries,” Ambassador Akram said.

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