The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a flood of misinformation and disinformation exacerbating a problem that had already affected the public sphere. From fake cures to anti-vaccine conspiracy theories, falsehoods and lies have sown confusion, discord, and division, sometimes with deadly consequences. At the same time, efforts to respond to COVID-19 and confront disinformation have led to problematic measures, often devised behind closed doors, such as the expansion of censorship and repression of dissent, which violate universal freedoms of expression. These dangers risk undermining the key ingredient of a functioning social contract between citizens and state and a fundamental building block of transparent, just and inclusive societies: trust. As such, there is a growing sense of urgency amongst Member States, civil society, media and international organizations to find effective and collaborative ways to address this challenge.
The 90-minute event will consist of high-level opening remarks and a moderated panel discussion with United Nations agencies and Member States, stakeholder groups, and other experts. The panel discussion will consider what has transpired over the past year, listen to the Member States and various stakeholders and share highlights from the collaborative UN interagency work, and consideration of challenges and solutions.
WHO Headquarters in Geneva
(+41 22 791 21 11)