UN SG calls for more press freedom
In the lead up to the World Press Freedom Day, observed on May 3, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres emphasised the need for free press disseminating reliable information to maintain peace and justice, especially during elections as ‘facts, not falsehoods’, thus guiding the people as they choose their representatives.
While technology has transformed information sharing, sometimes it is used to mislead public opinion or to fuel violence and hatred, he said, referring to the alarming increase in the spread of false information through social media platforms. Guterres also said that he is ‘deeply troubled’ by the growing number of attacks against journalists and the culture of impunity. ‘Hundreds are imprisoned. When media workers are targeted, societies as a whole pay a price,’ he said, calling on all to defend the rights of journalists.”
The UN Chief’s statement comes at a time when India is in the middle of general elections. Concerns have been raised over the use of social media platforms such as Whatsapp and Facebook to spread false information and spark hatred and incidents of violence.