Pakistan lauds UN efforts to prevent spread of disinformation about coronavirus vaccines


United Nations – Staff Reporter:

Pakistan has commended UN’s ‘Only Together’ campaign aimed at ensuring fair and equitable access to coronavirus vaccines worldwide, and called for mainstreaming multilingualism into all of its communication and information activities to get the message across effectively.

“The spirit of multilingualism and its promotion is at the heart of the United Nations objectives,” Pakistani delegate Mariam Shaikh told the Committee on Information, a subsidiary body of the UN General Assembly.

Speaking in a general debate, Ms Shaikh, press counselor at the Pakistan Mission to the United Nations, thanked the UN Department of Global Communications (DGC) for translating some of the key messages of the Secretary-General in Urdu and other non-official languages.

In her remarks, she also urged the department to initiate dialogue among member states to consider initiatives aimed at curbing the rising trend of fake news and putting an end to the proliferation of systematic disinformation networks.

The Pakistani delegate pointed out that the majority of the world’s poor lacked reliable, affordable Internet access and also denied the benefits of technology during the COVID-19 crisis that has seen increasing reliance on devices and systems dependent on internet connectivity. In this regard, she urged UN entities, within their mandates and existing resources, to devise innovative strategies to bridge that digital divide.

At the same time, the Pakistani delegate pointed out that the Internet has given fake news an unprecedented scope and outreach that transcends borders, and lauded DCG’s efforts, especially through its ‘Verified Initiative’, to recognize the challenges confronting the UN system in curbing false information about COVID-19.

Ms Shaikh also urged the DCG to increase its technical cooperation and assistance for the development of communications infrastructures and capabilities in developing countries, and also highlight the contributions of individual troop- and police-contributing countries to UN peacekeeping operations, especially the sacrifices made by peacekeepers in the cause of peace during the pandemic.