Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Gennady Kuzmin at a meeting of the Group of Friends on Countering Disinformation for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

Excellencies, colleagues,

Before I start, I have noted the attempt by the EU representative to politicize this very important event. I am not going to behave in the same way.

We would like to express our profound gratitude to Minister of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, H.E. Mr. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, and the delegation of Pakistan for their valuable efforts in addressing such an important global problem as countering disinformation. Undoubtedly, observance of freedom of expression is very important for every society throughout the world. At the same time, under the human rights law, there are special duties and responsibilities associated with the exercise of such right.

Unfortunately, we see increasingly more cases of disinformation and manipulation of public opinion throughout the world, which is a very concerning trend. The world is faced with an ‘infodemic’ of unprecedented scale. It has penetrated all information flows, including those produced by traditional mass media, digital platforms and social networks. Any member of the global community can fall victim to these negative processes, including mechanisms and structures that are fundamental for the world order – such as the United Nations and other international organizations.

We believe our shared task is to combat fakes. In this context, a leading role is to be played by UN information resources that should always remain impartial and unbiased. Another crucial aspect is professional journalism that must meet the highest standards of news coverage and reporting. Besides, journalist activities must always proceed from the principle of safety and security, which can be achieved through coordination with state authorities whenever possible.

Unfortunately, latest technologies are widely used in the modern world as a tool of spreading disinformation and fakes. Often these abuses are aimed at manifestation of racism, incitement to violence and hatred based on race, religion, ethnic or national background.

Huge Western media platforms have no clear rules for combating such extremist narratives. And this is not accidental. In some cases, it is evident, that some of the inappropriate publications are getting a “green light” by administrations of social media platforms in the interests of achieving political goals. It is not appropriate, and the newly created Group of Friends has a good opportunity to assist and coordinate the international efforts to stop such politically-motivated abuses.

I am very glad to assure that you can count on our active and constructive engagement in the work of the Group.

Thank you.