Saturday, March 2, 2024

UN Chief: Fighting Misinfo ‘A Matter of Life and Death’

'The United Nations must play a more deliberate role as an information actor in conflict environments…'

(Molly Bruns, Headline USA) United Nations Secretary General António Guterres expressed the belief that misinformation is “a matter of life and death.”

According to Newsbusters, Guterres also told the UN Security Counsel that reliable information is a human right.

“Communications is not a side issue or an afterthought,” Guterres said, calling strategic communications “central to the success of all our work.”

Elaborating on his concerns about misinformation, he expressed the worry that it would be weaponized.

“The weapons they wield are not just guns and explosives,” he claimed. “Misinformation, disinformation, and hate speech are increasingly being used as weapons of war”

Guterres expressed the belief that the goal of misinformation is “to dehumanize the so-called other, threaten vulnerable communities—as well as peacekeepers themselves—and even give an open license to commit atrocities.”

He did not provide any specific examples of misinformation, and did not specify beyond this cursory definition.

He also argued that “fake news” “spreads like wildfire.”

Guterres continued, stressing that information provided to the larger public must be “grounded in evidence, based on verified data, open to dialogue, rooted in storytelling and delivered by credible messages.”

Guterres also implied that the way to stop “disinformation” is by working with Big Tech companies.

“The United Nations must play a more deliberate role as an information actor in conflict environments…[and] seen as a trusted source by…facilitating inclusive dialogue, demanding the removal of harmful speech, calling leaders to account, and promoting the voices of peace and unity.”

While Guterres did not specify what actions would be taken to stop misinformation.

The United States’ recent attempts to halt misinformation took the form of the Disinformation Governance Board, which went down in flames after a few weeks of extreme push back from the general public.

The censorship of information has been on the rise on the state level, as well as attempts to bring back the Disinformation Board under Vice President Kamala Harris.

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