Cross-Regional Statement on the First Anniversary of the United Nations communications campaign Pause! #TakeCareBeforeYouShare

08.07.2021. 22:36


Cross-Regional Statement on the First Anniversary of the United Nations communications campaign Pause! #TakeCareBeforeYouShare

July 2021 marks the first anniversary of the United Nations’ communications campaign Pause! #TakeCareBeforeYouShare - an initiative aimed at countering the spread of misinformation and disinformation.

On this occasion, we – Australia, Chile, France, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Latvia, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria and Ukraine – applaud the unwavering efforts of the UN Secretary General and the President of the General Assembly in addressing the issue of misinformation and disinformation both online and off-line, including in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The aim of this United Nations’ communication campaign has been to drive positive behaviour change aimed at countering the spread of misinformation and disinformation, while upholding the right of freedom of expression and opinion, which includes the freedom to seek, receive and impart information.

The campaign has also formed part of wider effort to address the concern about the possible irreparable damage caused by the deliberate creation and circulation of false and manipulated information, which foment violence and divide communities.

As we have seen throughout the pandemic, COVID-19 related misinformation and disinformation costs lives by undermining vaccine confidence and discouraging those health measures critical to containing the spread of the virus, such as mask-wearing, social distancing and personal hygiene practices. As the UN Secretary General has stated, “we need to “flood the Internet with facts and science”, while countering the growing scourge of misinformation — a poison that is putting even more lives at risk.”

On this Anniversary, we reaffirm our strong support to the Pause! #TakeCareBeforeYouShare campaign - one part of the United Nations Communications Response initiative Verified - and take this opportunity to recognize the progress  made in the global fight against misinformation and disinformation.

We commend the continuous work undertaken by the Department of Global Communication under the leadership of Under-Secretary General Ms Melissa Fleming, to counter misinformation and disinformation globally, for positioning the United Nations as a source of timely, factual, multilingual, targeted, accurate, clear and science-based information, as well as for upholding the value of multilingualism and undertaking the campaign in the six UN official and other non-official languages.

Additionally, we welcome the active engagement by UN Member States and other stakeholders in implementing the goals and vision of the campaign nationally, regionally and internationally.

Together, these efforts have helped amplify the success of both the Pause! #TakeCareBeforeYouShare campaign and Verified initiative – which to date have reached over one billion people worldwide.

Once again, we pause to recognise the impact of the Verified initiative. From all account, it has been effective in achieving its goals. It has led to positive behaviour change and has contributed to improving health and safety of many people around the world. This positive change has contributed to effective response to countering the spread disinformation and misinformation about COVID-19 in many countries.

The Pause! #TakeCareBeforeYouShare campaign has also contributed to keeping the issue of countering disinformation and misinformation high on UN’s agenda, including by underlining the importance of media and information literacy. In this regard, we are pleased to recall that on March 29, 2021, the General Assembly unanimously adopted the Resolution A/RES/75/267 for the first time reaffirming a “Global Media and Information Literacy Week”.

As emphasised in the resolution, we invite all Member States, relevant organizations of the United Nations system, other international organizations and civil society, including non-governmental organizations and the private sector, to commemorate Global Media and Information Literacy Week in the way that each considers most appropriate, including by focusing on commemorative, educational and public awareness activities that tackle the issue of disinformation and misinformation.

The success of the Pause! #TakeCareBeforeYouShare campaign has raised global awareness on the challenge of misinformation and disinformation. We urge the United Nations and its Member States to build on these initiatives throughout the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly, including during the High Level Week in September 2021.

Finally, we welcome the next phase of the Pause campaign from June to October 2021 and encourage people everywhere to Pause! and #TakeCareBeforeYouShare whether online or off-line.