Canada and the Netherlands launch initiative to curtail online disinformation

They will adhere to international human rights law, which encompasses principles of freedom of opinion and expression, according to their declaration.

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At the 78th UNGA meeting in New York this week, Foreign Ministers Mélanie Joly and Hanke Bruins Slot announced a new initiative whose signatories will impose stricter and more comprehensive regulation on online disinformation. Announced in a joint statement, The Global Declaration on Information Integrity Online has been signed by 27 member states. It includes Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Germany, Japan, Kenya, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The document defines information integrity as an ‘information ecosystem that produces accurate, trustworthy, and reliable information, meaning that people can rely on the accuracy of the information they access while being exposed to various ideas.’ They also emphasise its importance in a democracy and as a cornerstone of freedom of expression and its necessity to reap the fruits of the digital age.

Why does it matter?

Information integrity online is a fundamental tenet in modern internet governance, as many nations, including Canada and the Netherlands, grapple with enforcing effective legislation. Canada has recently implemented the Online News Act, aiming to foster a healthy online media presence while also supporting small outlets and reducing misinformation. However, companies like Meta and Google would ‘benefit spammers and peddlers of misinformation’. A more significant scale effort at the UN level could usher in an era of change where transnational information sharing and know-how could help tackle misinformation at a larger scale.