UNRIC Library Backgrounder: Combat Misinformation – Selected Online Resources on Misinformation, Disinformation and Hate Speech


Our Common Agenda: Report of the Secretary-General (A/75/982) Our Common Agenda: Report of the Secretary-General
(A/75/982, 5 August 2021)

« 26. The Internet has altered our societies as profoundly as the printing press did, requiring a deep reimagining of the ethics and mindsets with which we approach knowledge, communication and cohesion. Along with the potential for more accessible information and rapid communication and consultation, the digital age, particularly social media, has also heightened fragmentation and “echo chambers”. Objectivity, or even the idea that people can aspire to ascertain the best available truth, has come increasingly into question. The goal of giving equal balance to competing points of view can come at the expense of impartiality and evidence, distorting the public debate. The ability to cause large-scale disinformation and undermine scientifically established facts is an existential risk to humanity. While vigorously defending the right to freedom of expression everywhere, we must equally encourage societies to develop a common, empirically backed consensus on the public good of facts, science and knowledge. We must make lying wrong again. Institutions can be a “reality check” for societies, curbing disinformation and countering hate speech and online harassment, including of women and girls. I urge acceleration of our efforts to produce and disseminate reliable and verified information. The United Nations plays a key role in this regard, which it can continue to strengthen, building on models such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the World Meteorological Organization Scientific Advisory Panel or the Verified initiative for COVID-19. Other steps include support for public interest and independent media, regulation of social media, strengthening freedom of information or right to information laws and ensuring a prominent voice for science and expertise, for example through representation of science commissions in decision-making. A global code of conduct that promotes integrity in public information could be explored together with States, media outlets and regulatory bodies, facilitated by the United Nations. With recent concerns about trust and mistrust linked to technology and the digital space, it is also time to understand, better regulate and manage our digital commons as a global public good. »

« 35. In 2023, we will commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and 30 years since the adoption of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action on human rights. As this milestone nears, the time has come to take stock, rejuvenate our shared values and update our thinking on human rights. Consideration should, for instance, be given to updating or clarifying our application of human rights frameworks and standards to address frontier issues and prevent harms in the digital or technology spaces, including in relation to freedom of speech, hate speech and harassment, privacy, the “right to be forgotten” and neuro-technology. The right to a healthy environment also warrants deeper discussion. It may be time to reinforce universal access to the Internet as a human right, with accelerated steps to connect the remaining 3.8 billion people offline to the Internet by 2030, notably those most often left behind, including women, along with indigenous and older people. The United Nations stands ready to work with Governments, businesses and civil society to find alternatives to disruptive blanket Internet shutdowns and generic blocking and filtering of services to address the spread of disinformation and harmful life-threatening content, in line with international human rights law.” »

Policy Brief 8 Our Common Agenda: Policy Brief 8: Information Integrity on Digital Platforms
“Summary: … The present policy brief is focused on how threats to information integrity are having an impact on progress on global, national and local issues. In Our Common Agenda, I called for empirically backed consensus around facts, science and knowledge. To that end, the present brief outlines potential principles for a code of conduct that will help to guide Member States, the digital platforms and other stakeholders in their efforts to make the digital space more inclusive and safe for all, while vigorously defending the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to access information. The code of conduct for information integrity on digital platforms is being developed in the context of preparations for the Summit of the Future. My hope is that it will provide a gold standard for guiding action to strengthen information integrity. …”






  • World Health Organization (WHO)


Mis- and Disinformation on Climate Change




Hate Speech


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Last update: 21 November 2023
not an official document – for information only

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