Concrete int’l efforts can help expose disinformation networks: FM Bilawal

Foreign Minister 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 Minister urged the international community to enhance the capacity of the governments and their relevant institutions to detect, analyze and expose disinformation. He said United Nations and its agencies should help build the capacity of member states, especially the developing countries.

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

The Foreign Minister stressed that concrete international efforts can help expose and dismantle disinformation networks.

He called for concerted efforts through cooperation to minimize the negative impacts of disinformation on human rights and relations between communities and states.

The Foreign Minister suggested that the UN Human rights mechanism should highlight the negative impact of disinformation.

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

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said the 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 ongoing interactions with the Member States, the private media and online companies, and other stakeholders.

He said the exponential proliferation of disinformation, especially through online platforms and social media, has spread social discord; fostered hate speech, racism, discrimination, xenophobia, and Islamophobia.

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