UN General Assembly adopts Latvia-sponsored resolution on fighting disinformation

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Thursday adopted a resolution, Global Media and Information Literacy Week, which was drafted and co-sponsored by Latvia together with a number of other like-minded countries, LETA was told at the Foreign Ministry.

UN member states approved the resolution unanimously, with 96 out of UN member states co-signing the document.

The ministry indicated that the initiative is a continuation of Latvia’s last year’s efforts to address disinformation challenges in the UN framework, including in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic (the so-called infodemic).

In December 2020, during a special session of the United Nations General Assembly in Response to the Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) Pandemic, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics called for strengthening resilience against the spread of disinformation, especially during the pandemic when the spread of the virus is attributable to disinformation, and this affects people around the world. The minister repeatedly pointed to the role of governments and other stakeholders in tackling these challenges, which has also been reflected in the final text of the resolution upon its adoption.

The Global Media and Information Literacy Week resolution urges all UN member states, UN bodies, social media companies and other relevant partners and stakeholders to mark the Global Media and Information Literacy Week, focusing on disinformation challenges. Pursuant to a UNESCO decision, this theme is observed each year in the week running from October 24 to 31. The resolution is intended to improve people’s media literacy and ability to counter disinformation and misinformation while at the same time upholding freedom of speech and freedom of the media.

The Latvian Ambassador to the United Nations in New York, Andrejs Pildegovics, commented on the adoption of the resolution that the lessons of recent history of Latvia have taught us that ensuring broad media and information literacy among the public is one of the most effective “vaccinations” against disinformation, conspiracy theories and hate speech.

“By engaging actively in the drafting of the resolution, Latvia shared its experience as a mature and active player in the UN framework. Only by working together shall we be able to find a solution to this global threat which has acquired special urgency during the Covid-19 pandemic. I am happy that so many UN member states from various regions across the globe have supported our initiative. In particular, I would like to thank our Jamaican and Australian colleagues at the United Nations in New York for their leadership and support,” the Latvian ambassador said.

The Deputy Director of the Latvian Institute of International Affairs, Karlis Bukovskis, pointed out that this is a tangible achievement of Latvia first of all from the perspective of building an overall diplomatic image of the state including at the time when Latvia is preparing to stand for election to a seat on the UN Security Council.

“Also the fact that Latvia consolidated and represented the opinion of the European Union at the UN demonstrates a new level of maturity in our foreign policy and the ability to maneuver between and with international institutions for the sake of achieving national goals. And last but not least, Latvia has been highlighting and raising to a global level the problems of media literacy and fighting disinformation. Therefore, Latvia should make every effort to set an example to others also at the level of its domestic policy,” Bukovskis noted.

Twelve countries from all over the world – Australia, Burkina Faso, Chile, Costa Rica, Georgia, India, Jamaica, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Uganda – contributed to preparing of the resolution having begun the work on the draft toward the end of 2020.

When the draft was completed, consultations led by the Permanent Representations of Australia and Jamaica took place with all UN member states. In the consultations, Latvia and Lithuania represented the opinion and interests of the European Union and its Member States in formulating the text of the resolution. Latvia’s involvement and proposals on the topic of media and information literacy in the UN framework were defined in close cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Education and Science, the National Centre for Education, the Latvian National Commission for UNESCO, as well as representatives from non-governmental organizations.

One Comment

  1. Stephanie Stephanie Sunday, March 28, 2021

    “The resolution is intended to improve people’s media literacy and the ability to counter misinformation and disinformation while at the same time upholding the freedom of speech and freedom of the media.”
    How does one do that? By government approved propaganda? By muzzling and not allowing other points of view? Somehow the first and second parts of that sentence do not match.

    I suspect this is another way to silence legitimate doctors and scientists who speak out in criticism of the way this “pandemic” is portrayed and handled. Who is benefitting the most from the restrictions and sales of vaccines? Why is there no uproar that the PCR tests are not meant for the purpose they are being used and not used in the strict guidelines prescribed by the scientist who developed it. Dr. Kary Mullis received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1993 for the development of the PCR test. He knew Dr. Fauci personally and he called him “an idiot” but Fauci flipfloppingly sets behavior standards. How much does he benefit financially from his ties to BigPharma? And he gets so much attention-even a children’s book about him (“America’s Doctor”) as well as documentaries shown on National Public Television in the US.
    BTW- when the former president of Tanzania, a scientist, used the PCR test on a papaya, and other fruits, vegetables and animals and all tested positive!! He would not lock down his country and now he is dead (!?). The VP who took over is embracing the WHO (whose largest non-government contributor is Bill Gates-the vaccinator-in-chief who had been thrown out of numerous countries for causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands from his vaccines and says, openly, there are too many people in this world and vaccines will help reduce populations!!).
    How can Elon Musk take the test four times in one day and test positive twice and negative twice? Everyone in a town in the US who took the test tested positive which is a statistical impossibility so was “nothing to see here” kind of story and not publicized.
    Wouldn’t the truly democratic way be for no government interference and to let all points of view be available? But what about all the people who will die in the meantime you may ask. In the US, as a result of the lockdowns, loss of jobs and small businesses, the numbers of deaths from suicides and drug overdoses, alchoholism, car crashes have increased dramatically. One hundred times more children have died in the US from suicide than from Covid (recovery rate 99.99% for children, 99.7% for those older, even 99.4% for over 60; most deaths attributed to Covid had co-morbidity).
    The truth will eventually win out. It may not be immediately, but it will, as history has shown us time and again. But will our societies recover?
    This reminds me of the old Soviet days. Isn’t freedom of speech and freedom of assembly a basic human right? Sorry, Latvia, nothing to be proud of here.

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