UN chief launches global principles for information integrity-Xinhua

UN chief launches global principles for information integrity

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-06-25 03:41:15

UNITED NATIONS, June 24 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday launched a set of United Nations Global Principles for Information Integrity that calls for "an information environment that champions human rights and a sustainable future."

In remarks at a press conference to launch the Global Principles for Information Integrity, Guterres said the five principles -- societal trust and resilience; independent, free, and pluralistic media; healthy incentives; transparency and research; and public empowerment -- are based on an overriding vision of a more humane information ecosystem.

"They provide a solid foundation for sustainable, inclusive development, climate action, democracy, and peace," he emphasized.

The UN chief explained that the Global Principles for Information Integrity are the result of broad consultations with member states, youth leaders, academia, civil society, the private sector including tech companies, and the media.

The principles lay out a clear path forward, firmly rooted in human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression and opinion, he stressed.

Misinformation, disinformation and hate speech are fueling prejudice and violence; exacerbating divisions and conflicts; demonizing minorities; and compromising the integrity of elections, Guterres said.

False narratives, distortions and lies breed cynicism, disbelief and disengagement, he stated, adding that "they undermine social cohesion, putting the Sustainable Development Goals further out of reach."

"And when information integrity is targeted, so is democracy -- which depends on a shared, fact-based perception of reality," Guterres noted.

According to the UN chief, opaque algorithms push people into information bubbles and reinforce prejudices including racism, misogyny and discrimination of all kinds, and the damage goes far beyond the digital realm, affecting billions of people who are not connected to the internet.

Threats to information integrity are not new, but they are proliferating and expanding with unprecedented speed on digital platforms, supercharged by AI technologies, he pointed out.

Guterres urged governments, the tech sector, and other stakeholders to "listen to your people and your customers and respond."

To stakeholders carrying an outsized responsibility, the UN chief said he has a clear message, "we demand action."

To big tech companies, he urged them to take responsibility. "Acknowledge the damage your products are inflicting on people and communities. You have the power to mitigate harm to people and societies around the world. You have the power to change business models that profit from disinformation and hate."

To advertisers and the PR industry, Guterres urged them to "stop monetizing harmful contents; strengthen information integrity; protect your brand; boost your bottom line."

He told creatives not to use their talents to "greenwash," asked PR agencies to look for clients "who aren't misleading people and destroying our planet," and urged the media to raise and enforce editorial standards; safeguard the future by providing quality journalism based on facts and reality; and "find advertisers who are part of the solution, not the problem."

In his message to governments, the UN chief urged them to "commit to creating and maintaining a free, viable, independent, and plural media landscape; guarantee strong protections for journalists; ensure regulations uphold human rights; refrain from drastic measures, including blanket internet shutdowns; respect the right to freedom of opinion and expression."

The United Nations Global Principles for Information Integrity stem from a proposal in Our Common Agenda, the secretary-general's 2021 report that outlines a vision for future global cooperation and multilateral action.