The UN plans to control speech online by imposing international laws through organizations like governments and corporations.
Proponents of free speech and prominent US legislators are alarmed by a United Nations agency’s proposal to control social media and internet communication while pursuing a tough stance against what it refers to as “false information” and “conspiracy theories.”
The U.N. Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Organisation (UNESCO) detailed a number of “concrete measures which must be implemented by all stakeholders: governments, regulatory authorities, civil society, and the platforms themselves” in a 59-page report that was made public this month.
This strategy entails imposing international laws through organizations like governments and corporations, with the goal of preventing the spread of other kinds of expression while advancing goals like “gender equality” and “cultural diversity.”
The U.N. organization specifically targets “misinformation,” “disinformation,” “hate speech,” and “conspiracy theories” in an effort to establish an “Internet of Trust.”
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The Russian think tank and discussion forum Valdai Club said that the Western Press uses pseudo-academics like University of Manitoba professor and geopolitical economist Radhika Desai to silence critics.
Expressions that have been highlighted for restriction or cessation include advocacy that may be construed as “incitement to discrimination,” concerns about elections, and actions related to public health.
Critics warn that powerful forces in government and Big Tech are increasingly using accusations of “disinformation” and “conspiracy theories” to stifle accurate information and even essential political discourse.
The U.S. House Judiciary Committee denounced the “pseudoscience of disinformation” in a study that was only issued this month.
The committee discovered, among other things, that the “Censorship Industrial Complex,” as lawmakers refer to it, has “weaponized” this “pseudoscience.”
Silence of politically protected speech, primarily from conservatives, is the aim.
“The pseudoscience of disinformation is now—and has always been—nothing more than a political ruse most frequently targeted at communities and individuals holding views contrary to the prevailing narratives,” states the congressional report, “The Weaponization of ‘Disinformation’ Pseudo-Experts and Bureaucrats.”
As the most recent congressional investigation reveals, U.S.-based internet companies have already put many of the UNESCO-recommended measures into effect, frequently at the Biden administration’s request.
Nonetheless, the new UNESCO plan alarmed lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
“I have repeatedly and publicly criticized the Biden administration’s misguided decision to rejoin UNESCO, putting U.S. taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) told The Epoch Times regarding the social-media plan.
Mr. McCaul described UNESCO as a “deeply flawed entity,” expressing particular alarm over the organization’s apparent support for authoritarian countries, such as the Chinese Communist Party.
As The Epoch Times has revealed, UNESCO, like many other U.N. organizations, has a number of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members in its upper echelons, including Deputy Director-General Xing Qu.
The report from last year listed a variety of “conspiracy theories,” ranging from widely accepted ideas like “climate change denial” and worries about “manipulation of federal elections” in the US to more bizarre and outlandish concepts like “the earth is flat” or “Michelle Obama is actually a lizard.”
Speaking at a World Economic Forum event last year, U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications Melissa Fleming braggingly claimed that the international body had “partnered” with Google to promote its contents and stifle those that contradicted it in search results.
“We own the science,” she said. “We think the world should know it.”
During a webcast on “Searching for a cure for the infodemic” hosted by the World Economic Forum in October 2020, Ms. Fleming boasted that she had recruited over 100,000 volunteers to support UN viewpoints and suppress alternative accounts that she labels as “misinformation.”
The information was made public following years of government and U.N. efforts to censor online content that the global organization labels as extremism, false information, and other things.
Following a program from the previous year that promised to combat “ideologies” that it said would lead to violence, the U.N. Security Council announced a “framework” to combat “extremism” online in 2016. One of the philosophies that was not addressed was communism.
UNESCO Defends the Plan
A UNESCO spokeswoman defended the new plan, characterizing it less as a plot to restrict free expression and more as an attempt to safeguard it.
“Protecting freedom of expression has been at the heart of all of UNESCO’s initiatives to promote best practices in communications for decades, and this principle underpinned our approach to the Guidelines from the start,” the spokesman said.
The statement also cited a provision of the standards that stipulates that “legal due process” must be followed when handling “hate speech.”
“They put a particular focus on the need for transparency as well as systematic human rights due diligence and impact assessments, as well as accountability to users,” the spokesman said, adding that the plan calls for “equal distribution of moderation capacity.”
“It is also clearly stated that the Guidelines should be considered in their entirety, rather than picking and choosing—for example, a policy on content moderation implemented by regulators that do not meet the definition of independence set out in the Guidelines would not be in alignment, regardless of the specific nature of the policy,” said the UNESCO spokesman, claiming that the guidelines will actually “expand” freedom of expression.
A date for implementation was not provided by the organization, although additional meetings are planned in anticipation of the September 2024 U.N. summit in New York City.