WJC @ UNHRC: Combating conspiracy myths during the age of COVID-19

Representative delivering the statement: Mr Leon Saltiel 

Thank you, Madam President.

Though the internet has brought us unimaginable benefits, it currently seems to be awash with conspiracy myths which pose a clear and present danger to our individual and collective, health and safety, and even threatens our systems of government.

We are currently in the midst of a global health emergency to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Yet worldwide, believers in a ‘plandemic’ are rebelling because they are convinced nefarious governments are plotting to restrict their civil liberties.

Some also spew hatred, especially online, blaming minorities, including Jews for the spread of the virus.  Any minority will do in this search for a scapegoat, a search that we as Jews recognize and know only too well from similar periods dominated by fear, uncertainty and economic recession.

That is why the World Jewish Congress has - together with UNESCO, the European Commission and Twitter - launched a campaign entitled “Think Before Sharing” to help people identify, debunk and report such conspiracy myths.

Internet users are encouraged to check material and research authors before forwarding information; the campaign also includes useful tips on how to counter and report misleading posts.

The Human Rights Council should also be playing a leading role in combating these myths. We therefore call upon this Council and all governments to implement concrete strategies to counter misinformation and hate speech, including by translating and sharing this campaign widely. Ultimately, the fight against conspiracy myths is a fight to preserve human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

Thank you.

 

To read more about WJC's activities at the 45th session of the United Nations Human Right's Council, click here

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