United Nations Agency Launches Agenda to Regulate Speech On Digital Platforms

Nov 30, 2023

A United Nations agency released a detailed agenda this month to regulate social media platforms against “hate speech” and “false information” on digital platforms, a move that critics warn jeopardizes free speech, especially for conservatives.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), an arm of the U.N., released a 59-page action plan called “Guidelines for the Governance of Digital Platforms” to combat hate speech and misinformation and to create an “Internet of Trust.”

The document essentially instructs platforms to shadow ban online content through the “limiting or eliminating the algorithmic amplification” of speech it deems unacceptable.

The plan was created through a process that began in September 2022 and involved input from stakeholder groups from 134 countries, 1,540 submissions, and more than 10,000 comments. The document “outlines principles that must be respected” and will be implemented by governments, regulatory authorities, and online platforms. UNESCO has even dedicated funding to support member states in transposing the plan into laws and regulations.

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said in a statement that digital technology platforms have “amplified the spread of false information and hate speech,” and said that this poses “major risks to societal cohesion, peace and stability.”

She said they must “regulate these platforms without delay” as they protect “freedom of expression and human rights.”

“Let us remain focused on our goal: combating hate speech and misinformation while preserving freedom of expression. This is not a contradiction. By bolstering access to free and reliable information, we also enhance freedom of thought and expression,” UNESCO’s Azoulay wrote in the foreword of the document.

A component of the plan deals specifically with a digital platform’s role in “supporting democratic institutions” by “preserving election integrity.” One of the plan’s seven principles outlined on UNESCO’s website states that regulators and platforms must take “stronger measures during particularly sensitive moments like elections and crisis.”

Ahead of the 2020 election, Big Tech giants actively engaged in censorship by suppressing the New York Post’s reporting on the incriminating coverage of Hunter Biden’s laptop. Under this plan, censorship like this would be encouraged.

The plan states that digital platforms should “establish a specific risk assessment process for the integrity of the electoral cycle in the lead-up to and during major national election events,” adding that the assessments should include a gender approach for online violence against women surrounding elections. The plan outlines that online speech deemed “incitement to discrimination” could be restricted.

Critics say the plan is a threat to freedom of speech and allows the U.N. to silence dissenting viewpoints, especially with an election approaching.

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “The globalists at the United Nations revealed their plan to censor viewpoints they disagree with and label them as ‘conspiracy,’ ‘hate speech’ or ‘misinformation.’ This tyrannical move jeopardizes our freedom of speech, and it is a surprise to no one that this was rolled out on the cusp of a major election year.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) shares concerns about UNESCO and told The Epoch Times that UNESCO is a “deeply flawed entity,” and he fears the organization promotes authoritarian regimes like the Chinese Communist Party.

“I have repeatedly and publicly criticized the Biden administration’s misguided decision to rejoin UNESCO, putting U.S. taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars,” McCaul said.


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