Item 3 L.11 General Comment Disinformation - PR UN, WTO and other organisations Geneva

Item 3 L.11 General Comment Disinformation

News item | 04-04-2024 | 13:19

Statement of the Kingdom of the Netherlands delivered by H.E. Mr. Paul Bekkers, Permanent Representative, Permanent Representation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN in Geneva

Thank you Mr. President,

We thank the core group for bringing this important initiative to the Human Rights Council.

With citizens of more than 60 countries – representing almost half of the world’s population -  going to the polls this year, the shadow that disinformation campaigns can cast on societies looms large.

This mega election year could provide a vital opportunity to strengthen the fundamental principles of democratic societies and to recommit to democratic values.

However, it equally provides an opportunity for disinformation campaigns to further erode public trust in democratic processes and institutions, to fragment societies, to incite discrimination, xenophobia, intolerance and violence.

We recognize the challenge that disinformation poses to our society and the need for States to step up their efforts to address it.

At the same time we need to ensure that the cure is not worse than the disease.

That laws and policies put in place to counter disinformation do not undermine human rights but respect, protect and fulfil them.

Countering disinformation should not be used as a pretext to unduly limit freedom of expression, nor to discredit factual and accurate information, as an enabling environment for free expression and free flow of information is key to effectively counter disinformation.

This careful balance is encapsulated in the strong and nuanced text before us.

In concluding, we want to commend the core group for the open and transparent way in which they conducted the negotiations, exemplified by the fact that the text is largely based on previously agreed language while also reflecting all voices in the room.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands strongly supports this resolution and we look forward to its adoption by consensus.

Thank you