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Report: UN Unveils Its Playbook to Censor Online Speech Globally

A recent initiative by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has ignited a debate over free speech and the regulation of online communication. Using the ominous term “Internet of Trust,” UNESCO plays a full spectrum deployment of techniques like ‘algorithmic suppression’ to diminish speech online that the UN doesn’t approve of.

The Epoch Times reports that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recently released a 59-page report outlining measures to regulate online communication and social media. The report aims to address what the agency terms as “false information,” “conspiracy theories,” and “hate speech,” and advocates for global policies to be adopted by governments, businesses, and civil societies to promote objectives like cultural diversity and gender equality, while simultaneously seeking to curb certain forms of online speech.

This initiative, termed as creating an “Internet of Trust,” includes strategies like algorithm suppression, content warning, de-monetization, and even content removal. Critics of the report have raised concerns that these methods may be used to silence legitimate information and restrict political speech.

This plan is troubling to free speech advocates who recognize terms like conspiracy theory and misinformation have been used to target political speech and even scientific positions later confirmed to be true. The U.S. House Judiciary Committee released a report on the “pseudoscience of disinformation,” claiming that it has been weaponized by the “Censorship Industrial Complex,” to stifle constitutionally protected speech, predominantly that of conservative voices.

The congressional report, titled, “The Weaponization of ‘Disinformation’ Pseudo-Experts and Bureaucrats,” states: “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.”

UNESCO references various international human rights instruments, like the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to justify restrictions on freedom of expression, much of which appears to be at odds with the First Amendment.

Sarah McLaughlin, a senior scholar at the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), told the Epoch Times: “FIRE appreciates that UNESCO’s new action plan for social media recognizes the value of transparency and the need for protecting freedom of expression, but remains deeply concerned about efforts to regulate online ‘disinformation’ and ‘hate speech,’”

 

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