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Freedom of Expression Monitors Issue Joint Declaration on ‘Fake News’, Disinformation and Propaganda

Geneva/Vienna (3 March 2017) – Leading monitors of freedom of expression around the world have come together to issue a Joint Declaration on freedom of expression, focusing this year on so-called fake news, disinformation and propaganda.

The action was taken by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, along with his counterparts from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Organization of American States (OAS), and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR).

Mr Kaye says: “Fake news” has emerged as a global topic of concern and there is a risk that efforts to counter it could lead to censorship, the suppression of critical thinking and other approaches contrary to human rights law. In this Joint Declaration, we identify general principles that should apply to any efforts to deal with these issues.”

The Declaration identifies the applicable human rights standards, encourages the promotion of diversity and plurality in the media, and emphasizes the particular roles played by digital intermediaries as well as journalists and media outlets.

ENDS

Mr. David Kaye (USA) was appointed as Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression in August 2014 by the United Nations Human Rights Council. As Special Rapporteur, Mr. Kaye is part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

 (*) The Joint Declaration is available here

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For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Bryan Wilson, OHCHR Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9826 / mediaconsultant1@ohchr.org)

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